New teaching programs at Darwin's NTU PDF Print E-mail

The Faculty of Education at Darwin's Northern Territory University, in cooperation with the Faculty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, has developed a new Indigenous Languages strand within the Graduate Diploma in Applied Linguistics Course. This course now has five strands: Australian Indigenous Languages; Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages;

English Language and Literacy; Bilingual Education and Languages Other Than English (primarily Indonesian).

It is a logical development for NTU to move into the development of teaching programs in the area of indigenous languages.

NTU is very favorably placed to lead the field in this area of national priority. While there are a small number of higher education institutions around Australia (including Batchelor College in the NT) which are teaching indigenous languages at the undergraduate level, up until now, there has been no postgraduate indigenous languages, teacher education specialist courses available in Australia.

While there is interest in many schools to offer courses in indigenous languages, up until now, there has been little teacher training in this area. For instance, there is an initiative of the Senior Secondary Assessment Board of South Australia (SSABSA), which is currently developing an Australian Framework for the teaching of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages (AILF) in senior secondary schools throughout Australia. This kind of initiative raises the issue of where the teachers are to come from, and how they might be prepared for this new development; hence, this year's NTU initiative.

This Education Faculty course is offered externally, thereby enabling students to participate in the program from around Australia. These external units are available to NT students, as well as to students enrolled in other courses around Australia (ie. through cross-institutional enrolments). This new strand of units was developed by a team which included Mariana Babia, Paul Black and Chris Walton.

Mariana Babia is a Torres Strait Islander from Saibai Island. She has been involved in language work for many years. In 1984 she studied at SAL (School for Australian Linguistics). She has taught Kalaw Kawaw Ya, one of the indigenous languages of Torres Strait for five years at Thursday Island High School. She has completed a Diploma in Language and Linguistics at Batchelor College as a part-time student, while also working at NTU. She has worked with Paul Black to develop the first unit Introduction to Australian Indigenous Languages (EAL 550) and this unit is now on offer externally. Mariana joined the Education Faculty in May 1995.

Paul Black has been involved with Aboriginal languages since 1974. He joined the NT Faculty of Education as a Senior Lecturer in 1990. Over the years his research interests have ranged from descriptive and historical linguistics to sociolinguistics, writing pedagogues and TESOL methodology, reflecting a desire to maintain a broad perspective on languages. Paul has worked with Mariana to develop the unit- Introduction to Australian Indigenous Languages. (EAL550).

More information can be obtained by contacting Language and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Education.

NTU Darwin NT 0909
Ph. 08 89466122
Fax 08 8946 6151
http://www.ntu.edu.au/education/ or
try NTU's Home Page. http://www.ntu.edu.au/