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Nintiringanyi: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language teaching and employment strategy

First Peoples languages First Peoples education First Nations youth First Nations children Australia

Nintiringanyi highlights key actions for each state's and territory’s consideration in appropriately developing and supporting Indigenous language teachers in schools.

The information contained in this strategy reflects the collective knowledge of the experienced educators who attended the National Indigenous Languages Teaching and Employment Forum in 2016 and that of their peers, with whom they work daily in this field. The document includes examples of activities and strategies that have been successfully implemented and can be adapted elsewhere to see the sustainable teaching of first languages in schools where ever that is the wish of the local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language community.

This strategy was first published in 2018, and was updated in January 2019.

Key Findings:

  • Languages are a core element of the culture and history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Australia as a nation. Through studying these languages, students learn about the history, culture, land and environment of the country in which they live and can develop a deep understanding of their identities as Indigenous or non-Indigenous Australians.
  • Attitudes to teaching Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages in schools appear to have changed significantly over the past five years. Several communities that felt languages should be taught within the community first are now expressing a keen interest in collaborating with educators to develop a language curriculum.
  • Teacher training and resource development are the two major gaps that need to be overcome to achieve the delivery of a sustainable Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages curriculum.
  • First Languages Australia emphasises that schools need to listen to and work collaboratively with (and under the guidance of) their local language communities concerning teaching their language at school. The importance of waiting until a community is ready cannot be overstated. Indeed, it is not possible to establish a sustainable local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language program without the support and leadership of the local language group.
  • The Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests have been established to begin to redress the loss of Aboriginal languages and culture and the resulting impact on the wellbeing of Aboriginal peoples in NSW through the teaching of languages in public schools.
  • First Languages Australia requests that education departments in each state and territory support community members interested in teaching their languages in schools to complete undergraduate teacher training, and to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language teaching as a rewarding career path, highlighting the available training options.

Nintiringnayi prioritises actions across language teacher training and registration, learning the language required to teach, community protocols, and working regionally. 

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