ENGLISH IS A KEY TO INDIGENOUS EDUCATION

‘BILINGUAL’ ENGLISH

Much has been written said over many years about the difficulties and challenges of helping Indigenous children in remote communities come to terms with an understanding of transactional English.

As one prominent politician said in the Northern Territory in the late 1970s, regardless of emphasis on Vernacular language, English is our language of universal communication and transaction.

Over quite a few years working in communities in both Western Australia and The Northern Territory, I had community leaders say to me that they wanted their children to be able to read, write, speak and communicate in English. On many occasions I had these leaders say to me that our job as educators was to look after the Literacy and Numeracy needs of children and that English was key to the role we filled.

I had the same leaders say that they, the local people, we are responsible for local cultural revisitation and reinforcement for children.

While the principal of bilingual schools, I tried very hard to take into account the advice offered by leaders of these communities.

There were ways and means of building an understanding of English, particularly in the field of literacy. In following posts, I’ll outline some of these. They worked, it worked well!

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