Teaching Creole-Speaking Children
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139


Within the Australian education system, Aboriginal students’ use of non-standard English features is often viewed simplistically as evidence of non-attainment of literacy and oral-English milestones. One reason for this is the widespread use of assessment tools which fail to differentiate between native- English speakers and students who are learning English as a second language. In these assessments, non-standard English features are framed as ‘mistakes’ and low scores taken as evidence of ‘poor’ performance. This paper will contrast a mistake-oriented analysis with one that incorporates knowledge of the students’ first language. It will clearly show that when consideration is given to the first language, a more nuanced picture of English proficiency emerges: one that is attuned to the specific second language learning pathway and thus far better placed to inform both assessment and classroom instruction.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Alyawarr English; Assessment; Education; ESL; Mixed Languages
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