AuSIL’s letter to the Committee Secretary of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs

This letter from AuSIL (Australian Society for Indigenous Languages) to the Committee Secretary of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs outlines the benefits and importance of incorporating Indigenous Languages into school programs. It is very poignant to the discussion of bilingual education within Australian Indigenous communities as it states that the research clearly shows how bilingual education can help close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Attached to the letter, contained in this one pdf, are four articles/reports. They are:

1. Indigenous languages in education: what the research actually shows. (AuSIL, 2009; filename: 2 AuSIL-Grimes-Indig lgs in education.pdf).

2. Why languages matter: meeting Millenium Development Goals through local languages. (SIL International, 2008; filename: 3 SIL MDG 2008.pdf)

3. Multilingual Education. (SIL International, 2009; filename: 4 SIL MLE 2009.pdf)

4. “Helpful hints for cross-cultural communication in the Top End.” (AuSIL & NAAJA, 2011; filename: 5 AuSIL-NAAJA Communication Hints.pdf) AuSIL

The first report looks into the research of bilingual education and points out what benefits bilingual education can actually have. It includes a summary of the findings of the research. Some of those findings include children staying in school longer, pass rates are higher, better acquisition of literacy skills and more local content included in the curriculum (Grimes, 2009, p.7-8).

This letter and attached articles are important to look at when debating the success of bilingual programs as it gives a different view to the often stated, ‘low test scores’ of children who attend an Indigenous bilingual school and demonstrates that the benefits go far beyond literacy skills and can positively affect whole communities.

Caitlyn Wood

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