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Gaps in Australias Indigenous Language Policy: Dismantling bilingual education in the Northern Territory by Jane Simpson, Jo Caffery, and Patrick McConvell - Essay Example

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The Research Discussion Paper closely examines the events that led the education department and the Education Minster to undervalue bilingual education and to neglect the educational rights of the indigenous population in Australia, especially in NT. …
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Gaps in Australias Indigenous Language Policy: Dismantling bilingual education in the Northern Territory by Jane Simpson, Jo Caffery, and Patrick McConvell

Download file to see previous pages... In the introduction of the Research Discussion Paper, the authors deal with the concept of monolingual education, which negatively influenced the growth and development of indigenous languages. The authors state that the concept of bilingualism is with a number of intellectual, educational, and cultural advantages. The monolingual form of education is less beneficial for the indigenous children in Australia. The authors make clear that monolingual education negatively influence the traditional way of life of the children from indigenous population in Australia. For instance, the indigenous children who undergo monolingual education may ignore their mother tongue and refuse to live with their families. But the present bilingual educational programs in NT are to be considered as a preparatory step to attract aboriginal community towards monolingual education.
From a different angle of view, the aboriginal children must receive value education which is helpful to get access to the upper strata of the society. Besides, the community right to decide the mode of education and to strengthen indigenous languages must be safeguarded. The authors point out that bilingual education can overcome these problems. Simpson, et al. (2009:11) ‘Bilingual education, in which mother tongue medium teaching and learning is a fundamental component, is based on the principle of building on what the children already know, and on breaking down the tasks into more manageable ones’. ...
Furthermore, bilingual educational programs act the role of a connection between community and its cultural aspects and reduce the scope of cultural alienation. At the same time, the success of bilingual education is fully vested upon the balance between mother tongue and the language which is dominating. The authors state that the initial success of the bilingual program implemented in NT proves the effectiveness of staff (indigenous and non indigenous), training and teaching materials. But some of these bilingual programs prove to be unsuccessful because of insufficient training to handle indigenous languages in remote communities. Besides, lack of training and teaching experience leads the indigenous student community to less proficiency in first language and the language of instruction. Authors make clear that bilingual education programs implemented in NT aimed to achieve two goals: student proficiency in their first language and unrestricted access to the dominant language. The authors argue that the reason behind the failure of any bilingual education program is related to the steps taken during implementation. The authors state that their argument is based upon the illogical education policies adopted by the Australian policy-makers, within the scenario of bilingual education and the unwanted importance given to English education. In addition, the decision taken in 2008 by educational policy-makers in Australia, to discard the bilingual educational programs in NT is not based upon solid evidence. Within the context of aboriginal education in NT, the educational rights of aboriginal children and the rights of the community members to know more about the process of educating their children are important. Besides, sufficient importance must be given to the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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