Yalbilinya: National First Languages Education Project is a project funded by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment focused on research, tools and strategies to boost Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages education
The aim of the project is 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 through:
1. Research into best-practice implementation of the Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages (the Framework);
2. The development of resources to promote best-practice implementation of the Framework; and
3. The development of a culturally appropriate Indigenous language education workforce strategy.
Through this stream, First Languages Australia has identified and coordinates research into how the Framework is being implemented by school teachers across Australia to identify and promote best-practice. Including:
- Researching and analysing how the Framework is being implemented by school teachers across Australia, including, but not limited to:
- existing state and territory policy statements, practices and resources already being used in the teaching of Aboriginal and Strait Islander languages in schools;
- gaps in teaching of Aboriginal and Strait Islander languages in schools; and
- at least two case studies from each state and territory and from a mix of government, Catholic and independent schools;
- Identifing best-practice resources already available to support implementation of the Framework, including in regional and remote communities.
- Identifing best-practice models, including, but not limited to:
- how to effectively integrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language and cultural learnings into the classroom;
- how to appropriately engage with local Indigenous communities about Aboriginal and Strait Islander language teaching;
- how to promote community involvement in Aboriginal and Strait Islander languages education;
- how to identify and apply appropriate community protocols for the teaching of Aboriginal and Strait Islander languages, including:
- who can teach a language and where; and
- guidance for non-Indigenous staff and Indigenous staff off-country.
2. Development of resources to promote best-practice implementation of the Framework
Through this stream, First Languages Australia is collaborating with partners to develop high-quality training resources and materials to support the ongoing development of skills of Indigenous language workers to teach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language in schools. Including the following activities:
- Development of resources to support Indigenous language workers to continually grow their own personal language skills
- Development and implementation of professional development courses to increase the skills of educators teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, including:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educators;
- Community representatives; and
- Non-Indigenous educators.
- Guidance on appropriate length of time of classroom language teaching requirements
- Trialling a minimum of two resources and professional development courses to ensure materials and courses are effective to a minimum 10 Indigenous language teachers and 10 non-Indigenous language teachers.
A draft report on this pillar of work can be downloaded for review and comment. The draft report has two parts, the front section provides the overall context and summaries of professional development resources and activities, while the appendix includes further details shared to support others to implement or adapt the activities in their regions.
3. Development of a culturally appropriate Indigenous language education workforce strategy
Through this stream, First Languages Australia and partners are working to develop a culturally appropriate national workforce strategy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language educators, including community language teachers/assistants working in schools; teachers in the school classroom, and linguists (university trained and community based). The strategy will include identification of, and provide guidance on, best practice models, including but not limited to:
- How to promote first language programs within schools as a career
- How to promote skills training in the field of linguistics
- How to engage, retain and support Indigenous language teachers
- Outline appropriate national training pathways for Indigenous Assistant educators, including flexible learning and entry level without teaching qualifications
- What are the appropriate national accreditation requirements and employment conditions
- How to introduce mentoring opportunities
- Instructions of how to implement training by using the training resources (developed as part of this project) in the classroom in practical terms
*All project materials will need to be culturally appropriate, including sensitivities to community protocols.
*All project material and activity must acknowledge that state and territory governments and non-government education authorities are responsible for teacher workforce arrangements and the teaching of Indigenous languages in schools.
Participation in Australian Government initiatives
To deliver this project, Firt Languages Australia is collaborating with partners across the education sector, such as:
- State and territory governments, catholic and independent school association in each state and territory to undertake appropriate consultation and research for the project;
- The Department of Communications and the Arts (Cth)
- Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.
- Universities, TAFEs and RTOs providing training for language workers/teachers.
- State and territory Indigenous Education Consultative Bodies
- Australian Education Union (EAU)
- the Australian Federation of Modern Languages Teachers Association (AFMLTA);
- Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL)
- the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Agency (ACARA); and
- Community Language Australia (CLA).