Indigenous Education Essay Example

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It is vital to recognize past, present and future leaders that hold the memories, traditions, culture, and hopes of Australian Aboriginal people. Ability to understand and appreciate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture can have the effect of reconciling Australian people. Subsequently, Australian nation would mature and achieve the much-needed development.

The presentation aims at covering three distinct areas starting with languages Aboriginal students speak in Australia. Briefly, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students speak more than a single language where Standard Australian English may be the second for learners. The second objective of the presentation is to express the need for students to speak in both Aboriginal English and Standard Australian English. Finally, appropriate teaching style for successful implementation of Aboriginal English will be presented. The proposed strategies will apply to students at the second stage.

Now, Aboriginal children speak three specific languages. The first one is indigenous language, which comprise of traditional languages of Aboriginal people used before European invasion. As this traditional language disappeared, Aboriginal English came into limelight (Joseph, 2003). This is believed to be a product of Aboriginalization of English. The third language is Standard Australian English that is currently taught in Australian Schools.

While accounting for Indigenous language history, Eades (2001) states that 250 languages were spoken at the end of 18th century. Several of these languages have died owing to insufficiency of teachers to disseminate learning on indigenous language (Holding Our Tongues, 2009). Aboriginal English is vital for Aboriginal Students in maintenance of their identity and appreciation of value attached by teachers and the school to Aboriginal Culture (Harrison, 2005). On the other hand, Standard Australian English is fundamental in developing reading and writing skills. In the same context, Aboriginal English is better used in Aboriginal community whilst S.A.E is used outside Australia. This recognizes the idea that students need academic skills gained through SAE in addition to maintaining their identity by utilizing Aboriginal English.

The importance of Aboriginal English is to not only sustain Aboriginal identity and culture but also create a sense of acceptance since it is a legitimate dialect of English. The presentation gives some specific features of Aboriginal English including pronoun that may be used differently e. g he and she not being gender sensitive. Other features include the possibility of leaving out possession and the absence of articles an, a, the. Additionally, words have varied meanings e. g camp which means home.

To begin using Aboriginal English in the second stage classroom, Harrison (2005) proposes a check with both the school and community for politicized issues. This would give a clear cut on the time to use Aboriginal English. Four models can be applied when implementing Aboriginal English. First, is when the language is recognized orally, secondly for reading, speaking and writing, thirdly is when it is recognized by the entire school in all the contexts and the difference taught to Aboriginal students. Final model is when Aboriginal English is acknowledge by the whole school and difference between languages taught to all students.

The strategy to implement Aboriginal English is to allow its use in social context e. g news time. Secondly is to create big books with children in Aboriginal English and allow them to model transition between the two languages (Craven 1999). In addition, grammar and pronunciation are accepted when reading loud.

The presentation further highlights cultural differences in communication. These differences include: common hearing loss, non-eye contact, none-respond for a direct question, gesture speech, and spatial awareness. Teachers are then cautioned to be aware of these differences and utilize strategies of inclusive classroom. In this case, teaching style should be open, honest, and accepting. Moreover, teacher should work with families and communities. Responsibility and independence should be encouraged whilst also linking with the real world.


Craven, R. (1999). Teaching Aboriginal Studies. St Leonards, NSW: Allen and Unwin.

Eades. D. (2001). Aboriginal English. Retrieved from: [Accessed 30th March 2011].

Harrison, N. (2005). Incorporating Aboriginal English in the Classroom. Retrieved from: es_1.pdf. [Accessed 30th March 2011].

Holding our Tongues. (2009). Radio program. Sydney: ABC Radio National, 8 March.

Retrieved From: [Accessed 30th March 2011].

Joseph, M. (2003). When speaking gibberish is OK. Retrieved from: _no_04/gibberish.html. [Accessed 30th March 2011].