From training through to employment, First Languages Australia is working with policy makers and educators to help overcome the issues facing those involved with the teaching and learning of first languages.
Efforts are currently being directed to the following strategic and policy areas:
- Curriculum development and implementation, through ongoing consultation with the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) for the Australian Curriculum, and state governments for regional developments.
- Governments and education authorities, to establish consistent and equitable pay rates and sustainable career paths for those teaching first languages in schools.
- Resource development, with a view to safeguarding the rights of language speakers and building capacity within communities to create resources.
In November 2016, First Languages Australia held the National Indigenous Languages Teaching and Employment forum in Adelaide. The forum brought together representatives from Language Centres, Departments of Education in each State and Territory, first languages teachers, universities and TAFEs with involvement in the training of language teachers, and other significant stakeholders. The forum was the first step towards the development of a national strategy for the training and employment of Indigenous language teachers.
Thank you for organising and facilitating the Forum. We had a great time and felt privileged to be part of the Forum. We gained an insight into the amazing work that is happening all over the country and made many new friends.
Clare Mclean, Manager Mabu Yawuru Ngan-ga
Following the 2016 forum, First Languages Australia worked with each of the states and territories to compile Nintrianganyi: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teaching and Employment Strategy, and the companion document Global lessons: Indigneous languages and multilingualism in school programs. These resources are designed to help education departments, schools and local communities understand what is needed to sustain the provision of a local language curriculum.
Building on earlier work, from 2019-202 First Languages Australia has a project with the Department of Education, Skills and Employment to support the development of Indigenous language teachers and the teaching of Indigenous languages to boost the long-term uptake of Aboriginal and Torres Strait languages in Australian school classrooms. The project consists of three streams through which to boost Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages education. These are:
- Working each each state and territory to report on the implementation of the Australian Curriculum Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages
- Identifying the professional development needs and opportunities for those who wish to teach their languages
- The development of a culturally appropriate language education workforce strategy. Including identifying appropriate pay rates, conditions and career pathways for first language instructors.
The inclusion of Indigenous languages in education is a high priority affecting all Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. The need for a national strategy follows the roll-out of the Australian Curriculum Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages. First Languages Australia will continue to work with stakeholders to develop and implement a national strategy for the training and employment of Indigenous language teachers.