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Bilingual Education Matters

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Brenda Muthamuluwuy teaching Gupapuyŋu

In the continuing tradition of supporting the teaching of Indigenous Languages in schools, several staff from Batchelor Institute recently co-facilitated a 3-day professional development workshop in Darwin. On the 15th October, 18 people from various positions in the Department of Education met to discuss issues related to Bilingual Education Programs in the Northern Territory. A variety of perspectives from teacher-linguists, linguists, classroom teachers to speech therapists as well as advisory staff were represented from a number of locations. Participants travelled from communities such as Katherine, Nhulunbuy, Numbulwar, Wadeye, Elcho Island, Yuendumu, Willowra and Lajamanu.

Topics included the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language contact, linguistic features of Aboriginal languages, bilingual education, cognitive advantages of learning in one’s first language as well as the practicalities of team teaching and resource production. Practical sessions involved learning some basic skills of linguistic analysis as well as an introduction to learning Gupapuyŋu, a language from North East Arnhem land.

This collaborative professional development venture between Charles Darwin University, the NT Department of Education and Batchelor Institute aims to support quality bilingual education throughout the Northern Territory.

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Brenda Muthamuluwuy

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Workshop Participants