Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages (Version 8.4)

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Nganki - ka Kardu thipmam - wa! I Murrinh warda ngatha. The nganthin ngumpanngerren. I ku ngakumarl, da ngarra ngugumingki wurran. The da matha nganthin ngala i da bere matha wangu ngumamath ngumpan ngarra magulkul nganki.



The Australian Curriculum: Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages aims to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills necessary to ensure that students:

communicate in the language


What is the Framework?

The Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages (the Framework) is the first national curriculum document Foundation to Year 10 to provide a way forward for all schools in Australia to support the teaching and learning of the languages indigenous to this country.


Guiding principles

Appropriate consultations with relevant Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities are always central to the development of language-specific curricula and the provision of language learning programs in schools.



To cater for differences between the ecologies of languages and the communities who are owners and custodians of those languages, and to cater for students who come from a variety of learner backgrounds, the Framework has three pathways:


Using the Framework

The Framework is general in its structure and approach because it needs to be applicable to all Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages in Australia, across the full range of language ecologies.


PDF documents

Resources and support materials for the Australian Curriculum: Languages -  Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages are available as PDF documents.
Scope and Sequence 
Sequence of Achievement - First Language …


Languages studied in the First Language Learner Pathway (L1) are typically used in spoken form as the language of everyday communication by whole communities across all generations.

Typically, but not exclusively, L1 programs will occur on Country/Place and will have constant involvement from a variety of speakers from the community. A key expectation in the L1 pathway is that of students having opportunities to interact with Elders and particular places on Country/Place.

Learners are typically Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children who have learnt the language from their families as a first language and continue to use it naturally at home and play. Students may have varying skills in other languages, including varieties of English.

The First Language Learner Pathway provides students with an opportunity to study a first language at school. For these students, having the opportunity to learn their own language at school supports their cognitive development and signals recognition of the value and status of their language and ways of using and understanding language. Learning and using one’s own language at school also meets a widely held community aim to strengthen students’ sense of identity and their connection between families, community and Country/Place.

Students develop language skills to expand the domains of use in the language. This includes developing skills in registers and genres not normally encountered in their family and home community; in effect, this may involve the students in the creative development of new registers/genres, vocabulary and expressions in the language. As well as continuing to develop, extend and strengthen oracy, a key feature of the First Language Learner pathway is the development of written literacy.

The curriculum content and achievement standards in the First Language Learner Pathway are generalised in order to cater for the range of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander languages that may be learnt as a first language. The curriculum content and achievement standards will need to be adapted when developing language-specific curricula, and will need to be modified if the program occurs off-Country.

Summary of Key Features of the First language learner pathway:

First Language Learner Pathway

Spoken right through (full linguistic code)

Substantial range of speakers across all generations

Used as the language of community

Learners are typically Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children who have learnt the language as a first language

Curriculum written on the assumption that L1 programs will occur on Country/Place

Years 3 to 6

Years 3 to 6 Band Description

The nature of the learner, the pathway and particular language

Languages studied in the First Language Learner Pathway (L1) are typically used in spoken form as the language of everyday communication by whole communities across all generations.

Typically, but not exclusively, L1 programs will occur on Country/Place and will have constant involvement from a variety of speakers from the community. A key expectation in the L1 pathway is that of students having opportunities to interact with Elders and particular places on Country/Place.

Learners are typically Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children who have learnt the language from their families as a first language and continue to use it naturally at home and play. Students may have varying skills in other languages, including varieties of English.

The curriculum content and achievement standards in the First Language Learner Pathway are generalised in order to cater for the range of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander languages that may be learnt as a first language. The curriculum content and achievement standards will need to be adapted when developing language-specific curricula, and will need to be modified for programs occuring off-Country.

Learners at this level are expanding their social networks, experiences and communicative repertoire in the language. They benefit from varied, activity-based learning that builds on their interests and capabilities and makes connections with other areas of learning. The curriculum ensures that learning experiences and activities are flexible enough to cater for learner variables while being appropriate for learners' general cognitive and social levels.

Language learning and use

Students interact with peers, the teaching team, Elders and community members in a variety of learning experiences and activities. They continue to build vocabulary that relates to a wider range of domains, such as curriculum areas that involve some specialised language use.

Students engage in a range of listening activities and build oral proficiency through responding to rich language input and opportunities to engage in meaningful communicative activities. They follow instructions, exchange information and express ideas and feelings related to their immediate environment and personal worlds. They participate in shared tasks, performance and play.

Students’ development of written literacy progresses from supported comprehension and use of high-frequency and personally significant sight words to more elaborated simple texts which take account of context, purpose and audience. The development of reading skills and textual knowledge is supported through interaction with a range of spoken, written, visual and multimodal texts, including sign language as appropriate.

At upper primary level, learners use the language for a widening range of purposes: collaborating, creating, performing and responding to resources and experiences. They have greater control of vocabulary and grammatical resources and use an increasingly sophisticated range of non-verbal strategies to support communication. Shared learning activities develop social, cognitive and language skills and provide a context for purposeful language experience and experimentation.

Oracy development includes listening to a range of varied language input from different sources and building more elaborated conversational and interactional skills. These include initiating and sustaining conversations, reflecting on and responding to others’ contributions, making appropriate responses and adjustments, and engaging in debate and discussion. Individual and group oral presentation and performance skills are developed through researching and organising information, structuring and resourcing presentation of content, and selecting appropriate language to engage a particular audience.

At this level, there is focused attention on language structures and systems. Learners draw on more established grammatical and lexical resources to compose and comprehend more complex language. With support they build increasing cohesion and complexity into their writing in terms of both content and expression. They use ICT to support their learning in more independent and intentional ways and make comparisons between the language they are learning and other languages they speak or are learning, including English.

Contexts of interaction

Learning occurs largely through interaction with peers and the teaching team. Additional enrichment and authentication of learning experience is provided through interactions with Elders and other speakers living in the community. Interacting with Country/Place and exploring the environment with Elders and other community members is essential to learning at all stages. Students may also have access to community facilities and functions, such as the health clinic, art centre, coast patrol, local interpretative centre, and the office of the park ranger or land council.

Elders and community members may teach about cultural elements of language and communication, such as gender-differentiated roles, working separately with male and female students when appropriate.

Students may have some access to speakers of the language or related languages in other communities and regions through digital technologies.

Texts and resources

Country/Place and the community are the most important resources for learning the language. They are the origin of most of the texts and communicative situations students engage with.

Learners interact with a growing range of spoken, visual, written and digital texts, including photographs, maps, oral histories, community texts such as posters from health clinics, community notices, land-care programs, songs, raps, dances, stories, painting and visual design, music, video clips and films.

Level of support

While learners work more independently at this level, ongoing support is incorporated into task activity and the process of learning is supported by systematic feedback and review. Form-focused activities build student’s grammatical knowledge and support the development of accuracy and control in written language. Opportunities to use this knowledge in meaningful activities build communicative skills, confidence and fluency. Tasks are carefully scaffolded: teachers provide models and examples; introduce language, concepts and resources needed to manage and complete learning activities; make time for experimentation, drafting and redrafting; and provide support for self-monitoring and reflection. Discussion supports learning and develops children’s conceptual frame for talking about systems of language and culture.

While learners are becoming more autonomous and independent at the upper primary years, ongoing support is still needed, including explicit instruction, structured modelling and scaffolding, and provision of appropriate stimulus materials and timely feedback. Learning experiences incorporate implicit form-focused language learning activities and examples of texts and tasks.

The role of languages

The language of study is the principal medium of instruction in First Language Learner Pathway classrooms. Other known languages play a complementary role, for example, used when translating, creating bilingual/multilingual texts or comparing and contrasting writing systems, language structures and language features and use.

Years 3 to 6 Content Descriptions


Interact with others, sharing and comparing experiences, personal perspectives and points of view on topics related to immediate environment and personal world

[Key concepts, family, community, relationships, interaction protocols, experience, health and well-being, personal and cultural safety; Key processes: sharing, participating, recounting, discussing] (ACLFWC023 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures
  • using appropriate ways of talking and interacting in different social situations or with different social groups, including talking to people from different areas/Countries/Places or to people in positions of authority, senior people
  • recounting and sharing stories of personal experiences, journeys or discoveries, for example, hunting, tracking, navigating, road trips, trips to town, football matches, significant milestones, social and cultural activities and celebrations
  • participating in class, group and paired discussions about shared experiences and topics of interest, learning how to listen to others, to compare experiences, contribute ideas and provide feedback, noticing and talking about how the same event can be presented from different perspectives
  • sharing and explaining personal opinions and attitudes about school, entertainment, sporting and leisure activities
  • identifying and discussing behaviours, practices, facilities and events that contribute to their own physical and spiritual health and well-being and that of the class, school and community, for example, identifying how important people in their life influence them to act or behave in healthy, safe and culturally appropriate ways
  • discussing and evaluating protective behaviours to stay safe in different situations, including near water or roads, in the bush or when a person or situation makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe
  • identifying and discussing traditional ways of preventing sickness and staying healthy
  • discussing shared values that they see as being important to family, school and community, for example, reciprocating, respect, care for the land/sea/water and community
  • persuading others in the class to consider a particular point of view or action
  • engaging in conversations and discussions with guest speakers, using culturally appropriate interaction protocols such as active listening behaviours, asking questions and offering opinions and ideas
  • sharing and explaining opinions about issues of shared interest, for example, parental, school and community expectations, peer pressure and intergenerational perspectives, identifying possible points of agreement or tension
  • engaging in online discussions with other young language learners to exchange information about cultural practices, experiences and shared interests, for example, leisure activities, community life, music and sport
  • recognising listener and speaker roles and the role of assumed and shared knowledge in everyday communication
Plan and participate in collaborative activities and events, negotiating and performing different roles and responsibilities that are appropriate to local cultural traditions

[Key concepts: collaboration, experience, shared decision making; Key processes: making arrangements, designing, making, planning, suggesting, negotiating] (ACLFWC024 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures
  • participating with Elders/community members in local cultural traditions and activities, such as, tracking, hunting, gathering and preparing food, looking for schools of fish, searching for honey ants, digging soakages, using hand signs as appropriate
  • following instructions from Elders, for example, cooking bush tucker, making different traditional tools, weaving baskets, collecting beans or shells to make necklaces, making bush shampoo, recording, remembering and explaining the processes to younger students
  • collecting resources used for cultural practices in the bush under supervision of Elders, for example, oil, greases, ochre, feathers
  • planning and negotiating roles for a class event, such as a cook-up, class display or performance, making a short video or presenting a school-assembly item, planning and conducting an interview with a special class guest
  • working together on collaborative tasks that involve negotiation and shared decision-making about content and design, for example, designing posters or menus for special events, designing a class garden, creating picture books for ‘buddy’ classes
  • working together to design posters or web pages to promote a school or community event
  • conducting, recording and presenting observations and findings of collaborative science experiments, for example, monitoring the movement of cane toads
  • working with visual, print and digital modes of expression to create texts such as invitations to/programs for a class performance or event, for example, a reading night
  • collaborating to design an item such as a language flag, artefact or logo that incorporates elements of importance to the language community
Participate in classroom interactions that involve some changes to ways of communicating at school and the development of learning related language and interaction patterns

[Key concepts: interaction patterns, cooperation, domains of language use, agreement/disagreement, reflection; Key processes: working together, contributing, enquiring, building language, monitoring, clarifying, acknowledging, explaining] (ACLFWC025 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • discussing differences between ways that they are expected to listen and speak in class and ways they do so in home and community
  • identifying particular domains of language use, words and expressions used at school which may be unfamiliar, such as terms related to particular content areas or interactions between teachers and students
  • taking on different roles in group and pair work, for example, being leader, recorder, time monitor, or reporting back to the larger group or providing feedback to others about their roles
  • using sign language for interactions in the classroom as appropriate
  • formulating different types of questions to ask a class visitor, such as open and closed questions and when, why and how questions
  • building the language of classroom interaction, for example, by asking relevant questions, prompting and checking individual and group understanding, using descriptive and expressive language when recounting experiences
  • developing language that supports planning of learning tasks and activities, organising resources, monitoring and recording learning experiences, such as clarifying and explaining, giving opinions, justifying, reporting results of group discussions
  • acknowledging others’ ideas and opinions and indicating agreement or disagreement in non-judgemental ways
  • developing language to evaluate and reflect on their own learning, for example, describing how they feel when they are learning a new skill, strategies they use to persevere until they are successful, identifying ways they use their strengths to help themselves and others


Gather, organise and compare information from a range of sources relating to Country/Place, community and past and present ways of living

[Key concepts: past and present, natural environment, caring for Country/Place, social and cultural events, health and well-being; Key processes: enquiring, investigating, comparing, describing, tracking, mapping, measuring, charting, explaining, analysing] (ACLFWC026 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures
  • listening to stories of the past from Elders and community members, for example, accounts of where they grew up, what they did, their way of life, where they visited, how they communicated, practices such as the use of smoke in healing and purification, funeral practices, what values were important, how knowledge was transmitted; making comparisons with their own experience and contemporary life and discussing how daily lives have changed
  • comparing traditional and contemporary roles in the community, for example, those of store keeper, nurse, teacher, park ranger, traditional healer and people responsible for Law, song and dance
  • examining and analysing a range of sources, such as photographs, maps and oral histories, to collect information about people, places and events in their community’s past and present to develop an annotated timeline or other visual representation of significant changes to community life, for example, contact history, modifications to water supply, establishment of the community store, clinic and school, introduction of currency, changing community and school policies with respect to language learning
  • comparing photographs that reflect changes from the past to the present in a specific environment or location, identifying elements of both change and continuity
  • creating charts, pictorial stories, maps, digital and oral presentations to represent and to explain elements of past times
  • describing the seasons, identifying and recording indicators of seasonal and weather changes, for example, behaviour of animals, reptiles, birds, insects, plants; changes in wind direction, charting different forms of plants during the seasons, such as flowering, fruiting, shedding of bark, night sky and star formations; developing their own (class) seasonal calendar
  • measuring daily meteorological data, for example, temperature, humidity build up, rainfall, wind direction, sun intensity, times of tides, and constructing charts, column and picture graphs to record gathered information
  • investigating and describing how seasons and weather and availability of natural water sources affect people’s lives and practices
  • researching information about practices that care for Country/Place, for example, waterhole management and protection, fire management, species management
  • observing and reading signs of Country/Place, such as the presence of bees, changing colours of bark, different tracks, tides, seaweed dumps, burnt ground, regeneration of vegetation, special (warning) calls of birds, ripening of fruit, changes in the night sky
  • using appropriate cultural categories to classify different types of plants and parts of plants and their uses, for example, what different parts of plants are used for, which parts/plants are poisonous, presenting findings in chart, poster, table, graphic or digital form
  • undertaking plant and animal surveys, for example, by recording details of plants that grow at school, in the community, on the side of the road, in the bush, of animals found in communities, on the roads, in the uplands, and of their habitats
  • observing and presenting information through photos, captions and commentary on how different bush foods grow in different ways, for example, underground, on a vine or on a bush
  • investigating with Elders some common bush medicines, talking about how they are used for different purposes, recording details through photos, pictures, diagrams, captions, descriptions and commentary
  • making and recording observations of how living things such as insects, frogs or plants develop through their life cycles, recognising the effect on these cycles of different environmental factors
  • mapping Country/Place in various forms, for example, on paper, in sand or mud, labelling key topographical features and infrastructure, key community facilities, indicating distances and describing Country/Place from a birds-eye view
  • creating a calendar of key social and cultural events and activities in the community, for example, important celebrations, football matches, dog vaccinations, cattle mustering, annual school dances
  • visiting the arts centre and learning how to make and decorate artefacts and make paint
  • investigating the languages used and roles played by people in different community contexts, such as the store manager, administrator, arts coordinator, health worker, ranger, traditional healer, tour guide, mechanic, interpreter, Law person, cattle ringer
  • surveying peers and community members on various topics, for example, favourite television programs, football teams, sports or bands, after school activities/time spent in those activities, languages spoken; presenting results in chart, graph or digital format
  • conducting face-to-face or online interviews or surveys with peers, family members or community contacts to compare accounts of similar experiences
  • naming and explaining inside and outside body parts, for example, stomach, blood, bone
  • reading/viewing/ listening and obtaining information from community texts such as posters from health clinics, school magazines or community notices
  • comparing and surveying healthy ways of eating, identifying what is available from the community store and which healthy foods they like to eat
  • extracting key points from a range of spoken, written or digital texts such as posters, charts or brochures on topics such as health, well-being and cultural safety, and discussing key messages
  • keeping a diary of food consumption over a week, classifying types of food consumed, analysing how much bush food is in their daily diet
  • visiting the health clinic to gather information about services the clinic provides and general health issues
Convey information on specific topics using formats such as oral or digital presentations, displays, diagrams, timelines, narratives, descriptions and procedures

[Key concepts: Country/Place, community life, identities; Key processes: creating, editing, presenting, profiling, sequencing] (ACLFWC027 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures
  • collecting information about each other’s likes, dislikes or interests to create a class profile, chart or database, using checklists, surveys or question cues
  • creating a class book or digital display about topics they have been studying in their language classes and/or other curriculum areas
  • writing narratives about their community’s past and present based on researched facts, characters and events
  • creating and editing a presentation that includes text, images and sounds to record and explain aspects of life in their school, community, region
  • constructing a multimedia profile of their school and community
  • recounting an event, an experience or a journey, for example, a hunting trip, providing details such as how they travelled, who was with them, what animals they tracked and sighted, who cooked the animal
  • writing procedural texts, for example, to explain how to prepare and cook bush tucker, how to make tools, how to decorate artefacts, how to play a favourite computer game, sport or playground game
  • creating profiles to present to the class of significant people, for example, favourite sports personalities, music groups, celebrities, community leader/negotiator/spokesperson
  • introducing a guest speaker or visitor to the class, providing information on their background, purpose of visit, achievements
  • collaboratively planning, rehearsing and delivering short presentations, providing key details in chronological sequence
  • creating texts such as flyers, posters or posts on the school website to advertise an upcoming event
  • describing milestones or significant events in their lives that have shaped their identity, for example, by creating timelines or visual representations


Listen to, read and view a variety of texts, describing and discussing key elements, ideas, characters, events and messages, making connections with own life and experiences

[Key concepts: visual design, representation, journey; Key processes: participating, describing, predicting, recalling, responding, listening, shared/guided reading; Key text types: songs, raps, dances, traditional and contemporary stories, paintings and visual design, video clips] (ACLFWC028 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures
  • participating in and responding to shared and guided reading of traditional and contemporary texts, for example, by retelling or re-enacting the story to others in spoken, written, or multimodal form, by creating a timeline of events or a profile of a favourite character
  • creating digital profiles of characters they enjoy in texts, providing physical and character descriptions and examples of their ways of communicating and behaving
  • conveying understanding of plot and sequence in texts, for example, by re-creating a sequence using a storyboard, labelling key events or creating a timeline with supporting commentary
  • describing and discussing characters, main ideas, events and settings of different texts and exploring how language is used to present these features in different ways
  • participating in shared and guided reading of texts, making predictions about the development or flow of ideas, using contextual and visual cues and responding to questions about characters, ideas and events, sharing and comparing reactions and responses
  • listening to Elders/community speakers telling stories and singing songs, interpreting signs and gestures, talking about key messages and using correct protocols to ask clarifying questions; understanding the significance and role of storytelling and singing in traditional and contemporary times
  • making connections between their own lives and experiences (as members of families and communities) and the events represented in traditional stories
  • recognising that there are different ways of telling a story, for example, through dance and paintings, and discussing the uniqueness of symbols, colours, stories and feelings represented and reflected in dances and paintings from different regions of Country/Place
  • interpreting and explaining artistic traditions and visual design, for example, paintings, etchings, rock art, etching or dance, interpreting messages conveyed through these forms
  • discussing key messages, social values and traditional Histories expressed in stories, songs and dance in oral, print and digital formats
  • responding to a creative contemporary text by manipulating the original to create a new version, for example, re-sequencing events, adding a new element, changing location or character, or creating an alternative ending
  • understanding and discussing the importance of story and informal yarning and their role in transmitting language, culture and traditional knowledge
  • retelling stories to feature different places, species or social groups
  • composing a review of a song, story, cartoon, IndigiTUBE clip or television program, providing positive and negative critique, using modelled language and textual features
  • participating in shared reading experiences, self-correcting when the reading does not make sense, using pictures, context, meaning, phonics and grammatical knowledge to help comprehension
Create, present and perform expressive and imaginative texts that involve different modes of presentation, such as stories, dance, skits or video clips, based on a stimulus concept, theme or resource

[Key concepts: imagination, entertainment; Key processes: imagining, creating, experimenting, performing, storytelling; Key text types: raps, songs, dances, performances, digital texts, video clips, skits, paintings and visual design] (ACLFWC029 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • creating and performing imaginative texts such as stories, songs, raps and skits based on a stimulus concept, theme or resource, and incorporating elements of humour to entertain others
  • experimenting with different ways of telling stories, using a range of different texts and modes of presentation, for example, oral texts, photo stories, e-books, dance, visual design or digital texts, incorporating cultural elements, symbols and conventions as appropriate
  • creating imaginary characters, places or animals and presenting them through performance, digital display or visual representation
  • creating and presenting real or imaginative texts, incorporating humorous and expressive language to entertain younger audiences, for example, audio Big Books, puppet plays, cartoons, short video clips or voki animations, selecting language and images that enrich the visual or listening experience
  • telling the story of a real or imagined journey involving a variety of characters, places and events
  • reading a storyboard and retelling the information in their own words
  • composing dialogues between real/imagined characters in challenging or amusing situations, using expressions and behaviours that convey emotion or humour
  • creating a video clip to launch a real or imagined product designed to appeal to their peer group


Translate short texts from the language into other known languages and vice versa, including the register of sign language, noticing words or expressions that are not easy to translate and identifying elements which require explanation rather than literal translation

[Key concepts: equivalence, meaning, culture-specific concepts; Key processes: identifying, translating, transcribing, predicting, deducing, selecting, comparing, explaining] (ACLFWC030 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • translating a range of familiar texts, for example, information from the health clinic, songs, reports, recounts, using visual and print dictionaries, word lists and pictures
  • transcribing short, simple spoken texts, such as instructions or procedures, for example, making a coolamon or fishtrap, digging for honey ants, identifying words and phrases that have more than one literal meaning
  • showing others how different signs and hand talk are used and explaining their meaning and symbolism
  • explaining visual design and performances to others, including the use of symbolism
  • translating texts such as songs and stories, identifying culture-specific concepts and expressions that do not easily translate into English, for example, language related to artefacts, landforms, traditional foods, kinship terms of address, name substitutes
  • identifying and explaining concepts, practices and expressions in the language which do not easily translate into English, and vice versa for example, the number system, time, terms for colour, daily and seasonal cycles, kinship terms, environmental sounds and elements such as noises made by different birds
  • translating and matching words to describe family and relationships in the language and English, finding examples of words that have no English equivalents
  • identifying and working out the meaning of unfamiliar English words and expressions used in other curriculum areas, including technical language, and discussing how they would explain their meaning in the language, for example, paper, bunsen burners, safe houses, GPS, photocopying, clicking and dragging
  • identifying and discussing contexts in their community where translators and interpreters are required
  • demonstrating and explaining to others elements of non-verbal communication in the language that require interpretation, such as hand talk, sign language, facial expressions, eye contact, lip pointing
Create bilingual/multilingual texts for the classroom and the school community, such as records of excursions and shared learning experiences, songs, photo stories, posters, brochures, maps

[Key concepts: bilingualism, expression; Key processes: creating, performing, describing, code-mixing] (ACLFWC031 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • creating bilingual/multingual signs, posters, notices and labels to be displayed in the classroom and around the school
  • creating a bilingual/multingual brochure about their community for a visitor, including a map of key features, protocols, cultural information
  • creating bilingual/multingual texts such as cartoons, songs, photostories, reflecting on how different meanings are communicated in different languages for different audiences
  • creating bilingual/multingual texts to promote school or community events, such as, invitations, brochures, digital presentations, posters, maps, newsletter items
  • creating bilingual//multingual resources for ‘buddy classes’, for example, stories, animations, games
  • creating bilingual//multingual captions and commentaries for a school display, for example, an art display


Describe kinship relations as a system and explain its role in determining social behaviour

[Key concepts: identity, relationship, kinship, family terms, social groupings/sub-groupings, story, behaviour, ways of talking; Key processes: investigating, explaining, describing, categorising] (ACLFWC032 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures
  • working with Elders to map community–wide links between families according to traditional kinship systems, for example, skin, clan, moieties, other social groupings
  • explaining how moieties, skin groups or other social groupings form patterns through the generations
  • investigating and explaining appropriate behaviours for different relationships, such as friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, right skin marriage partners and in-laws
  • identifying and categorising personal and family names, for example, names affiliated with the land, sea/water or sky, names belonging to a moiety or other social groupings
  • investigating and discussing the meanings of personal and family names and of other ways of referring to people
  • designing visual representations, such as concept maps, posters, slide presentations with captions, to identify and explain group memberships, for example, friendship, family, sporting, interest and community groups, discussing what such memberships mean to their sense of identity
  • using appropriate behaviours and ways of talking in specific kinship relationships, for example, using avoidance language, name substitution, respecting name/word taboos, averting gaze
  • talking about ways their community expresses elements of identity, for example, behaviours associated with sporting teams, coastal versus inland communities, community events
  • considering the role identity plays in contributing to individual, peer group and community health and well-being
  • identifying markers of identity that may be important across other cultures, for example, elements of language or behaviours associated with family, community, location, age or gender
Interact with Country/Place, for example, by discussing roles within the family, ownership, custodial and totemic affiliations, and links between History, social groups and natural species

[Key concepts: Country/Place, identity, significance, family, Dreaming/History, totemic affiliation, role connections; Key processes: identifying, naming, describing] (ACLFWC033 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures
  • identifying and naming traditional Country/Place of parents and grandparents
  • naming and describing features of Country/Place that belong to different family and kinship groups
  • recognising that certain places have special significance to certain social groups and represent special bonds between people, place and story
  • learning from Elders about their own developing roles and responsibilities with respect to caring for Country/Place
  • identifying the traditional owners and managers of tracts of Country/Place and their roles in respect to Country/Place
Describe and explain behaviour, rights and responsibilities in relation to the kinship ownership of songs, stories, dances and designs

[Key concepts: identity, rights, responsibilities, ownership, behaviour; Key processes: describing, explaining, discussing] (ACLFWC034 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Ethical Understanding
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures
  • identifying and explaining how art forms, such as body paintings, designs, paintings, funeral poles, songs and dances, identify people and places
  • explaining how different family members have different responsibilities in the performance of ceremonies, traditional performances and other social and cultural events
  • explaining how ceremonial body designs, songs, dances and paintings are determined by family, skin, other sub-groups and story
  • identifying and explaining the significance of stories that belong to particular social groups and of natural features, including animals and natural species
  • understanding that ownership of songs, stories, dances and designs is determined by traditional kinship and other social groupings, place, History and story
  • listening to Elders’ traditional stories, making links between people, stories, songs of Country/Place and the social importance of connections to History


Notice and describe similarities and differences in ways of using language and interacting with people when communicating in the language and in other known languages, including English

[Key concepts: language, culture, values, similarity and difference, communication, emotion; Key processes: noticing, comparing, describing, reflecting] (ACLFWC035 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures
  • recognising cultural differences in ways of showing attitudes or expressing feelings when using the language, English or other known languages, for example, ways of showing respect, being polite, thanking or showing sympathy
  • describing how they communicate differently in the language, English or other known languages when interacting with different people, for example, with Elders, friends, parents, teachers, administrators, health professionals
  • comparing how they refer in the language and in English to other people, such as younger relatives, authority figures, in-laws
  • noticing how respect is shown to Elders in the community, for example, through the use of terms of address and expressions of deference, and comparing this to terms and expressions used in other languages and cultures
  • reflecting on the range of gestures and other forms of non-verbal behaviour used when communicating in the language or other languages
  • reflecting on situations where they switch between the language, English and other known languages, discussing why they do this, for example, when talking about different issues or topics, such as sport, food, music or social media
  • reflecting on the experience of being bilingual/multilingual, identifying benefits of knowing more than one language and considering whether moving between languages affects their sense of identity or ‘belonging’
  • comparing observations about how interacting in the language feels different to interacting in English, identifying different ways of socialising or communicating that seem to be culture-specific

Systems of language

Compare and use the patterns of speech sounds, intonation and rhythm in the language and learn the written forms of these and associated conventions

[Key concepts: sound system, writing system, intonation, rhythm, sound–symbol correspondence, punctuation, conventions, alphabetic order; Key processes: listening, recognising, comparing, reading aloud, transcribing] (ACLFWU036 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures
  • linking written morphemes, words and phrases with the spoken forms of the language
  • linking written devices/techniques to spoken differentiation between statements, questions, requests, exclamations, as well as to beginnings, pauses and ends
  • understanding how to use sound–symbol relationships and knowledge of spelling rules, compound words, prefixes, suffixes, morphemes and sound changes
  • recognising that there are constraints in the ways speech sounds may be ordered to form words, for example, sounds allowed at the beginnings and ends of words, what consonants may cluster together
  • making one-to-one correspondences between speech sounds, morphemes, words, phrases and sentences and their representations in written texts
  • using knowledge of sound–symbol correspondences to read syllables and familiar words, phrases, sentences and extended texts out loud
  • identifying words from the language that have been borrowed by English, noting any difference in pronunciation that occurs as English words
  • paying attention to consistency in spelling, checking spelling using dictionaries and other standard sources
  • identifying different uses of commas in texts, including to separate clauses and items in a list
  • recognising and using alphabetic ordering as a storing and sorting device
  • noticing the role of parts of the mouth, nose and throat in the production of speech sounds
  • recognising the difference between vowels and consonants and the role of vowels in syllables
  • transcribing elements of spoken language using their knowledge of the language and its writing system
  • identifying words in the language they think would be difficult for a non-speaker to transcribe
Understand and describe the word formation processes in the language, including the use of prefixes and suffixes

[Key concepts: word formation, word class, grammatical person and number, negation, metalanguage; Key processes: noticing, comparing, applying, understanding, modifying meaning] (ACLFWU037 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • increasing and developing vocabulary across domains of language use, including synonyms and different forms, giving examples of the common word classes in the language and in other known languages including English, such as examples of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs
  • describing how word classes are treated differently in the language and in other known languages, including English, for example, the use of:
    • number in nouns and pronouns (singular, dual, plural)
    • tense and mood in verbs (affixation and separate words)
    • case in nouns and adjectives and case agreement
    • order of words in sentences
  • discussing the formation of words, for example, the addition or change of a suffix or prefix to convey different meanings
  • recognising that languages from the same region may have words in common and identifying patterns in such sets of shared words
  • understanding that languages have systematic structures and are rule-bound
  • understanding that rules vary between languages, for example, in relation to word-formation, word order at phrase and sentence level
  • making comparisons and identifying patterns in and between languages, for example, free and fixed word order, tense in verbs, use of affixes versus prepositions
  • noticing similarities between particular vocabulary sets in languages from the same region, such as words for body parts
  • developing metalanguage for talking about language, for example, noun phrases, word order, suffixes, prefixes, tense, transitivity
  • identifying in which areas of vocabulary the language has many more words than English, and vice versa, explaining possible reasons for this
  • demonstrating main topical areas of vocabulary, for example, groupings of natural species, cardinal directions, kinship system, and contrast these with English vocabulary groupings
Understand that texts such as stories, paintings, songs and dances have a distinct purpose and particular language features, and understand and apply text conventions

[Key concepts: purpose, language features; Key processes: recognising, identifying, distinguishing, applying, linking] (ACLFWU038 - Scootle )

  • Literacy
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures
  • distinguishing the purpose of a text and its features, for example, narratives are usually about journeys across Country/Place and convey explanations of features of Country/Place, mud-maps are for conveying basic directions
  • investigating the purpose and use of sign language, for example, for hunting, for recently bereaved, for communicating at a distance, for restricting who can understand the message
  • applying emerging knowledge of text conventions using classroom models, for example, determining points in written versions of oral texts at which commas, full stops and paragraph breaks might be used; accommodating in written texts the repetition and parallelism that characterise oral texts
  • recognising language features typically associated with familiar texts, for example, the use of imperatives in games, instructions and procedures, and the use of past tense in traditional narratives and recounts
  • linking ideas using appropriate grammatical forms, for example, connectives, serialisation, embedding
  • sequencing content according to text structure
  • recognising the role played by different elements in texts to contribute to meaning-making, for example, the layout, title, illustration and use of punctuation in a picture book or the use of speech bubbles in a cartoon
  • noticing differences between spoken and written texts, for example, by comparing a written story with a spoken version of the same story
  • becoming familiar with the conventions of a range of text types, for example, narratives and instructions

Language variation and change

Understand that speakers vary language forms and styles according to kin relationship and context

[Key concepts: kinship, respect, register, silence, taboo; Key processes: observing, examining, explaining, investigating, noticing, recognising] (ACLFWU039 - Scootle )

  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures
  • observing how language is used to establish, maintain and reflect kin-based relationships
  • recognising and using specific ways of communicating messages that are linked with relationships, for example, indicating respect within families and extended kinship groups by avoiding direct eye contact, using indirect references and the use of silences and gestures
  • investigating word taboo and reasons for its existence
  • observing that verbal interactions can be more or less formal to suit the relationship between speakers, for example, relaxed, joking styles used with some kin compared to respectful, restrained language used with others
  • noticing differences in the ways speakers communicate with different people, for example, with young children, with unfamiliar adults or with Elders
  • reflecting on how they communicate with their own family and friends and with people less close to them, noticing differences in their language use and communicative behaviour
  • recognising that older people in the community use some different words to talk about familiar things
  • explaining differences in the ways language is used in different situations, for example, talking to their siblings, participating in cultural performances, talking in a big group
Recognise that languages change over time

[Key concepts: language shift, language loss, borrowing and relatedness; Key processes: identifying, recognising] (ACLFWU040 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • identifying and discussing words in the language that have been borrowed from other languages to describe new concepts, for example, words for new things such as, technological innovations
  • understanding that language and culture together continually change as a result of contact with other languages and cultures

Language awareness

Explore the language situation of their community and the diversity of language situations in Australia

[Key concepts: change, sign; Key processes: recognising, discussing, investigating] (ACLFWU041 - Scootle )

  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures
  • identifying immediate neighbours and the languages they speak, noting differences and similarities with their own language, shared vocabulary and regional variations in language structure and use
  • investigating the distribution of speakers of the language across Australia, and the use of the language in the media, for example, in TV programs, films, IndigiTUBE
  • understanding the current situation and status of the language and how strong it is across generations
  • recognising how the language has been transmitted across generations and how it has been recorded, discussing reasons for different spellings of words within the language
  • recognising that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages are in various states of maintenance, development and revival, and investigating the historical reasons for such variation
  • investigating language revival programs, for example, processes and protocols involved, success stories and challenges, and considering what these efforts mean to the communities
  • understanding that the language is among the small number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages still spoken across all generations
  • exploring how physical and biological environments affect linguistic ecology
  • recognising that some words are shared across several Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, understanding why there might be differences in spelling
Understand that the use of stories and names in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages is culturally determined

[Key concepts: cultural safety; Key processes: recognising, observing, discussing] (ACLFWU042 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures
  • understanding that there are open and closed versions of stories and ceremonies
  • observing and discussing protocols surrounding the retelling and sharing of stories
  • understanding that specific people as custodians of songs, stories and dances have the right to share these
  • understanding that certain people have the authority to give strangers access to certain areas of Country/Place

Role of language and culture

Reflect on how a community’s ways of using language are shaped by values and beliefs

[Key concepts: Country/Place, cultural expression, transmission, value, belief, spirituality; Key processes: observing, making connections, discussing, investigating] (ACLFWU043 - Scootle )

  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Ethical Understanding
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures
  • showing awareness that languages carry cultural ides and values, for example, through culture-specific words, styles of addressing people, use of silence, speech prohibitions, respect, land-language associations, and non-verbal communicative behaviours
  • identifying terms of address or expressions that reflect community values and traditions, for example, at ceremonies, during sorry business, when visiting other Countries, or when visiting significant sites on Country/Place
  • recognising/noticing how family and community values and behaviours, such as familiarity, mutual obligation, reciprocity, deference or respect and caring for Country/Place are conveyed in the language
  • recognising that the language has various social, spiritual and cultural functions in their community
  • recognising that in each culture there are general rules about what to say and do, when, where, with whom, and that these rules differ from culture to culture
  • comparing elements of communication, such as the role of silence or eye contact, in different cultural contexts and exchanges
  • understanding that people ‘read’ intercultural experiences in different ways depending on their own cultural perspectives, recognising the validity of different perspectives and questioning notions of ‘right’ or wrong’ ideas
  • investigating how their community expresses its relationship with the natural environment through language, for example, with seasons, stars, reef, rivers, waterholes, plants and animals
  • understanding that Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages are storehouses of cultural, environmental and social knowledge
  • recognising that song and song language play a central role as keeping-places of knowledge
  • understanding that the language has a rich oral literature, which recounts the important journeys and events associated with totemic ancestors/important Elders, and understanding that these stories also map the land and the values of the culture
  • understanding and discussing the importance of story and the role of storytelling in transmitting language and culture
  • discussing the fact that concepts may be culture-specific, for example, referencing how relationships are structured, how time and quantity are expressed, how elements such as land, sea/water and sky are viewed, spatial awareness
  • identifying how the language categorises things differently from English, for example, in relation to generic and specific words for plants and animals, such as ‘tree’ or ‘kangaroo’ and, considering reasons for such differences

Role of language building

Understand ways the language and culture can be maintained and strengthened in changing contexts

[Key concepts: language maintenance and development ; Key processes: discussing, exploring, considering, investigating, language building] (ACLFWU044 - Scootle )

  • Intercultural Understanding
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures
  • exploring ways that language and culture have been maintained and strengthened in their community, for example, by using the language in families and school language programs, story-telling, writing, recording, archiving material, media services, songs and music, visual design
  • recognising the existence of materials such as audiotapes and visual and historical documents available through community organisations and in local, state and national archives, libraries, literature production centres, language centres and bilingual schools
  • exploring some of the complexities and challenges involved in keeping oral traditions strong and understanding the role they can play in this process
  • documenting and storing texts they have created themselves in appropriate safe-keeping places

Years 3 to 6 Achievement Standards

The achievement standards for the Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages First Language Learner Pathway are generalised in order to cater for the range of languages that may be learnt as an L1 in the school context. The achievement standards will need to be adapted for use for specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

By the end of Year 6, students use spoken and written language to share and compare experiences, personal perspectives and points of view on topics related to their immediate environment and personal, cultural and social worlds. They use appropriate ways of talking when interacting in different social situations and with different social groups, and apply principles and protocols of cultural safety when engaging with cultural property. Students participate in class discussion, asking questions to clarify content and to offer opinions and ideas and taking into account other perspectives. They locate, classify and compare information from a range of sources relating to Country/Place, community, culture, environment and past and present ways of living. They interact with Country/Place under the guidance of Elders and older family members, making and recording observations in different formats, reading signs, classifying natural objects according to Indigenous cultural categories and mapping key topographical features. They respond to stories, songs, dances and artistic expression by describing how events, characters and settings are depicted through sound, image and performance, by interpreting messages conveyed through these forms and by sharing opinions, responses and reactions. They understand that ownership of songs, stories, dances and designs is determined by traditional kinship and other social groupings, as well as by place, History and story. Students create, with the support of models, a variety of spoken, written and multimodal texts for different purposes and audiences. They use descriptive and expressive language to write narratives and expressive and imaginative texts, and to recount experiences. They use specialised language to present information on specific topics, for example by presenting research-based factual reports. They use procedural language, for example to explain how to prepare and cook food, how to make tools, decorate artefacts or play a game. They apply their grammatical and vocabulary knowledge and their understanding of spelling and punctuation conventions in a range of sentence and text types. They translate familiar texts, identifying and explaining culture-specific concepts and expressions. They create bilingual/multilingual texts for the school community on a range of topics. They explain the family basis of the kin and skin systems and their role in determining social behaviour. They elaborate their own positions and identities within these systems, explaining their roles and responsibilities with respect to caring for family, land/sea/water. They explain links between ceremonies, people, stories and ancestral areas of Country/Place. They identify places which have special significance to particular sub-groups in the community and which represent special bonds between people, place and story.

Students know that the language has its own rules for pronunciation, spelling and grammar and they apply this knowledge to predict the sound, spelling and meaning of new words and to create their own texts. They read aloud with developing fluency and intonation. Students use metalanguage to explain language features and elements, using appropriate grammatical terms and making comparisons with English and other known languages. They explain how language use is adjusted to suit different contexts, situations and relationships, for example, registers of deference and respect, avoidance language, speaking to the side, indirect references, generational differences and the use of silence. They provide examples of how languages change over time by identifying words borrowed from English and other languages, including words that are similar to or borrowed from neighbouring Indigenous languages. Students understand that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages are in various states of maintenance, development and revival and can explain some historical reasons for this. They recognise the importance of maintaining and strengthening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages for their community and for the broader Australian community and describe ways that language and culture have been maintained and strengthened in their community. They reflect on their own ways of communicating, discussing how these might be interpreted by others.