Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


This paper reviews the state of bilingual education in Aboriginal Australia today. Critical issues associated with the current bilingual debate are raised and discussed in relation to existing and past programs with evidence presented from both sides. The paper addresses the issue of Aboriginalization of schools and the positive impact this will have on bilingual education in Australia in the future. Aboriginal people themselves are now making the decisions about their own school language programs. The fate of bilingual education is, to a large extent, in their hands.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Amery, R.
    (1986) A new diglossia: Contemporary speech varieties at Yirrkala in NE Arnhem Land. MA sub-thesis, Department of Linguistics, A.N.U.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. In press (1991) What can (or should) you do with a dead language. VOX No.6.
  3. Commonwealth Education & Universities Commission
    Commonwealth Education & Universities Commission (1950) Annual Report, Sydney.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Commonwealth Education & Universities Commission
    Commonwealth Education & Universities Commission (1951) Annual Report, Sydney.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Cummins, J.
    (1984) The role of primary language development in promoting educational success for language minority students. InSchooling and language minority students: a theoretical framework. Californian State Department of Education: 3–49.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. (1986) Empowering minority students: A framework for intervention. Harvard Education Review56, 1: 18–36. doi: 10.17763/haer.56.1.b327234461607787
    https://doi.org/10.17763/haer.56.1.b327234461607787 [Google Scholar]
  7. Dickinson, R.
    (1987) Yiyili: An Aboriginal community school, Wikaru14: 18–36.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Edwards, W.H.
    (1969) Experience in the use of the vernacular as an introductory medium of instruction. In S. Dunn . & C. Tatz (eds) Aborigines and educationMelbourne, Sun Books: 272–288.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Fesl, E.
    (1984) Saving Aboriginal Languages. Education News18,9: 29–30.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Fishman, J. A.
    (1976) Bilingual education: What and why?In J. Alatis & K. Twaddell (eds) English as a second language in bilingual education. Washington, TESOL: 263–272.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. (1985) The rise and fall of the ethnic revivalBerlin, Mouton. doi: 10.1515/9783110863888
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110863888 [Google Scholar]
  12. French-Kennedy, T.
    (1982) Anangu teacher education: a survey of community needs, S.A. College of Advanced Education, Adelaide.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Gale, K. , D. McClay , M. Christie & S. Harris
    (1981) Academic Achievement in the Milingimbi Bilingual Program. TESOL Quarterly15, 3: 297–314. doi: 10.2307/3586755
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3586755 [Google Scholar]
  14. Hanson, G.
    (1979) The position of the second generation of Finnish immigrants in Sweden: the importance of education in the home language to the welfare of second generation immigrants. Paper presented ata symposium. Split, Yugoslavia.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Harris, S.
    (1980) More haste less speed: Time and timing for the language programs in N.T. Aboriginal bilingual programs. The Aboriginal Child at School8: 23–43. doi: 10.1017/S0310582200011184
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0310582200011184 [Google Scholar]
  16. (1982) Bilingual education in the N.T.: A sharp tool easily blunted. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics5,1: 25–29. doi: 10.1075/aral.5.1.03har
    https://doi.org/10.1075/aral.5.1.03har [Google Scholar]
  17. (1989) The place of Aboriginal Languages in Aboriginal Education in the N.T. Keynote address to The 3rd International Convention of the Indonesian Cultural and Education Institute, Darwin.
  18. Harris, S. , B. Graham & P. Buschenhofen
    (1984) Aboriginal bilingual education in the N.T.: Priorities for the 2nd decade. Paper presented atthe 9th annual congress of The Applied Linguistics Association of Australia, Alice Springs.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Hart, A. M.
    (1970) A History of the education of full-blood Aborigines in S.A.(Unpublished) MA thesis, Adelaide University.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Hyams, Trethaway et al.
    (1988) Learning and other things: Sources for a social history of education in S.A.Adelaide, Government Printer.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Kimberley Catholic Education Language Team
    Kimberley Catholic Education Language Team (1988) Two-way learning: Language and culture in schools. Catholic Education Office, Broome, W.A.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Lambert, W.E. & G.R. Tucker
    (1972) Bilingual education of children: The St. Lambert experiment. Rowley, Mass., Newbury House.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Liberman, K.
    (1981) Aboriginal education: the school at Strelley, W.A.Harvard Educational Review51,1: 139–144. doi: 10.17763/haer.51.1.v93x127q438k160p
    https://doi.org/10.17763/haer.51.1.v93x127q438k160p [Google Scholar]
  24. Lewis, E.
    (1977) Bilingualism and bilingual education: The Ancient world to the Renaissance. In B. Spolsky & R. Cooper (eds) Frontiers of bilingual education. Rowley, Mass., Newbury House: 22–93.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Lock, A.
    (1951) Travels across Australia. Melbourne, Robertson & Mullens.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. McConvell, P.
    (In press) Understanding language shift: A step towards language maintenance. In P. McConvell ed. Can Aboriginal languages survive?to appear in S. Romaine ed. Language in Australia. New York, Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511620881.010
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511620881.010 [Google Scholar]
  27. Murtagh, E.
    (1979) Creole and English used as languages of instruction with Aboriginal Australians. (Unpublished) D.Ed, thesis, Stanford University.
  28. National Aboriginal Education Committee
    National Aboriginal Education Committee (1986) Policy statement on teacher education for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. Canberra, Australian Government Publishing Service.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. N.T. Dept. of Education
    N.T. Dept. of Education (1986) Handbook for Aboriginal Bilingual Education in the N.T.Darwin, N.T.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Skutnabb-Kangas, T. & P. Toukomaa
    (1976) Teaching migrant children’s mother tongue and learning the language of the host country in the context of the socio-cultural situation of the migrant family. The Finnish National Commission For UNESCO, Helsinki.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Vorih, L. & P. Rosier
    (1978) Rock Point community school: an example of a Navajo-English elementary school program. TESOL Quarterly12,3: 263–269. doi: 10.2307/3586053
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3586053 [Google Scholar]
  32. Walton, C. and W. Eggington
    (eds) (1990) Language: Maintenance, power and education in Australian Aboriginal contexts. Darwin, Northern Territory University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Watts, B. , W. McGrath & J. Tandy
    (1973) Recommendations for the implementation and development of a program of bilingual education in schools in Aboriginal communities in the N.T.Department of Education, Canberra.
    [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Research Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error