English language and literacy development and home language support: Connections and directions in working with Indigenous Students
Australian Council of TESOL Associations
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communications and Arts
This paper was presented to the ACTA ATESOL NSW conference in Sydney in January 2003. As part of funded Indigeous Project (2002 - 2003), Professor Ian Malcolm was engaged by ACTA to reflect on specific Indigenous education. It is for teachers to decide, in the light of the research evidence, and of their own professional experience and judgment, how to serve the language and literacy needs of Aboriginal students best. I hope this paper will assist in that process. It may be observed that I have located my own initiatives, with respect to bidialectal education, in the "home language as channel" grouping, showing that, for me, it is of fundamental importance that the home variety of the learners be appreciated by all, and used freely by its speakers, within the context of a programme leading towards standard English literacy. However, there is room within the field of Aboriginal education in language and literacy for a variety of approaches to meet the needs and aspirations of different learners, learning settings and community members. It is to be hoped that the variety of provisions will continue to expand, and that it will do so in coordination with the growth of research based knowledge in this area.