120712 – Background to the use of Aboriginal languages in NT schools (bilingual education)

* Update of 11 July 2012
* Email discussion group
* Analysis / Opinion re bilingual education
* Statements re bilingual education
* ABC Four Corners report: “Going Back to Lajamanu”
* Submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry into
language learning in Indigenous communities
* WGAR News e-newsletters

* UPDATE OF 11 JULY 2012:

– Analysis / Opinion

Fully (sic) – Crikey’s language blog:
Ngurrju! Manymak! Pupuni!
NT drops First Four Hours in English policy
by Greg Dickson (11 Jul 12)
“It’s been three and a half rather long years, but the
Northern Territory Department of Education and Training
(NT DET) appears to have finally dropped their
much-criticised policy of Compulsory Teaching in English
for the First Four Hours of Each School Day. Checking the
department’s policies today, it seems to have been quietly
removed. As one of the many who criticised and lobbied
against this policy, this is gratifying news and I can only
hope it’s a permanent move.”


Friends of Bilingual Learning Google group
“Supporters of Bilingual & Multilingual education, living
and learning in the Northern Territory. Recognising the
importance of language in human development, identity and


NT Bilingual education:
The debate about its effectiveness and value
Brian Devlin Charles Darwin University

Click to access Devlin_paper.pdf

“(Paper presented to an AIATSIS Research Symposium,
“Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory: Principles,
policy and practice”,
Visions Theatre, National Museum of Australia, Canberra,
on Friday June 26, 2009)”

Vimeo: Bilingual Education in NT:
Assoc. Prof. Brian Devlin (CDU)

by Eleanor Gilbert
“Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory and the
continuing debate over its effectiveness and value.
AIATSIS Symposium:
Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory: Principles,
policy and practice
National Museum, Canberra, 26 June 2009”

AuSIL: Indigenous languages in education:
What the research actually shows (2009)
Written by Charles E. Grimes Ph.D and published by the
Australian Society for Indigenous Languages (AuSIL).
“For a hard copy of the book or to register your interest,
please send us your details using the form below.”:

Fully (sic) – Crikey’s language blog:
Speak your home language but do it in English please!
by Greg Dickson (13 May 10)

ABC Life Matters: Indigenous language education (14 Feb 11)
“Guest: Professor Michael Christie,
Indigenous Languages Academic, Charles Darwin University”

The Wire: NT’s English in schools policy quashed bilingual
‘creative enclaves’ (26 Sep 11)
“Featured in story: Dr Brian Devlin, Associate Professor
in applied linguistics and bilingual education”

WGAR News: Interview with Brian Devlin on cuts to
bilingual education in the NT (29 Oct 11)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2011/11/06/wgar-news-congress-joins-opposition-to-big-stick-policies-in-the-nt-ncafp-media-release

New Matilda:
Scrymgour’s Bad Language by Greg Dickson (22 Mar 12)

Crikey: Marion Scrymgour speaks:
Stop Playing Games With Bilingual (25 Mar 12)

Fully (sic) – Crikey’s language blog:
Clear focus on Indigenous languages is rather fuzzy
by Greg Dickson (4 May 12)

Fully (sic) – Crikey’s language blog:
Ngurrju! Manymak! Pupuni!
NT drops First Four Hours in English policy
by Greg Dickson (11 Jul 12)


Indymedia: Stop the Intervention:
self-determination not assimilation (19 Jun 09)
“We members of the Prescribed Area Peoples’ Alliance have
made the following statement from our June 18-19 meeting in
Darwin. …
Bilingual Education:
We didn’t come on the boat with the Government, they need
to understand we had our own language before they came with
English. We want to keep passing it on.
Demand regarding bilingual education:
We want the government to support bilingual schools.
We want Aboriginal languages taught in schools.
All schools should have cross-cultural training for teachers.
Bilingual language is keeping our culture alive and strong.”

Rollback the Intervention – Resources/Info:
Resolutions from the Defending Indigenous Rights Conference
Alice Springs. 6-9 July 2010
[scroll down page] http://rollbacktheintervention.wordpress.com/statements/
“4. Defend Aboriginal Languages
– Scrap the Bi-Lingual Education Ban
Stop the erosion of Aboriginal language rights.
The government is denying Aboriginal people our identity
and culture through the Bi-lingual education ban.
The Defending Indigenous Rights gathering calls on the
Australian Education Union to pledge support for any
teachers who refuse to follow the policy of assimilation
being enforced on NT communities – the restrictions on
teaching in Aboriginal languages. That all conference
participants work to get signatures on the AEU petition
against the Bi-lingual Education Ban and works with
teachers around the country to build forums and protest

National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples:
Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Languages Statement
(31 May 12)
“Congress recommends reinstating bilingual education in the
Northern Territory in those communities that have requested
it. Experts have provided evidence which documents that
learning an Aboriginal language enhances Aboriginal
children’s English language learning.”


– Extended Interviews and Video; Reports and Resources; News

ABC Four Corners TV: “Going Back to Lajamanu”
14 Sep 09: “Should Aboriginal children in remote schools be
taught in their own language or in English? …
Reporter Debbie Whitmont travels to the Top End to discover
what will happen following a government move to scrap a
controversial 35 year-old experiment in bilingual education.”
[Includes extended interviews with:
* Kumanjayi Nungarrayi, Elder, former teaching assistant,
Yuendumu community
* Djuwalpi Marika, Chairman, Yirrkala School Council
* Wendy Baarda, Former teacher-linguist, Yuendumu School
* Gary Barnes, CEO, NT Education Department]

– Program Transcript

ABC Four Corners TV: “Going Back to Lajamanu”
“Read the program transcript for Debbie Whitmont’s report
“Going Back to Lajamanu”, first broadcast 14 September 2009.”

– Further Reading

ABC Four Corners TV: Further Reading
14 Sep 09: “View key reports, statistics and news related
to indigenous education in the Northern Territory. Includes
a detailed chronology of the government’s bilingual
education policy.”


The 154 submissions to the Parliamentary Enquiry can be
accessed at:


Main Government webpage on the Inquiry into
language learning in Indigenous communities:

(4 May 12) Greg Dickson writes:

“The Federal Government is nearly one year into a national
inquiry into Indigenous languages. I spent a whole day this
week working hard listening live to the Darwin hearing of
the inquiry, officially titled “Language Learning in
Indigenous Communities”. The hearing was gripping stuff
(well, for me anyway) with a really interesting range of
people giving evidence to the committee. If you haven’t
heard of the inquiry – and I doubt many have – taking time
to read some of the submissions and hearings transcripts
will be worth your while.”

Source: http://blogs.crikey.com.au/fullysic/2012/05/04/clear-focus-on-indigenous-languages-is-rather-fuzzy/


WGAR News: Attempts to restrict Aboriginal languages
in NT schools (15 Jul 09)

WGAR News: Restrictions on Bilingual Education in the NT
(22 Sep 09)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2009/09/22/wgar-news-ampilatwatja-anti-intervention-walk-off-speaking-tour-22-sep-09

WGAR News: NT Government policy marginalises
Aboriginal languages (17 May 10)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2010/05/16/wgar-news-racial-discrimination-act-new-legislation-17-may-10

WGAR News: Indigenous Languages Forum – 8 May 2011,
Mparntwe / Alice Springs (3 May 11)

WGAR News: NT government’s draft update to its
English in schools policy (2 Oct 11)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2011/10/02/wgar-news-nt-govts-english-in-schools-policy-trucking-nuclear-waste-through-sa-on-way-to-

WGAR News: Interview with Brian Devlin on cuts to
bilingual education in the NT (29 Oct 11)
[scroll down page] http://indymedia.org.au/2011/11/06/wgar-news-congress-joins-opposition-to-big-stick-policies-in-the-nt-ncafp-media-release

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