Foundation to Year 2 Band Description
The nature of the learner, the pathway and particular language
The Language Revival Learner Pathway (LR) provides opportunities for students to study Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander languages being revived by their owners or custodians and which are in various stages of revitalisation, renewal and reclamation.
LR covers a much broader range of language types and ecologies than either L1 or L2, and the vast majority of Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages are included in the LR category.
Schools offering the Language Revival Learner Pathway (LR) will most likely be located broadly within the geographical region of the language and culture, sometimes in towns and cities, other times in rural and remote regions. Classes will likely include students who relate closely to the language and culture, as well as students with varying degrees of affiliation with the language and culture, and some students who have no connections with either the language or culture. A key expectation in the LR pathway is that of students having opportunities to interact with Elders and particular places on Country/Place.
The Language Revival Learner Pathway draws on the Australian Indigenous Languages Framework (AILF) and takes into account key variables such as: how much is known about and documented for the language; the extent to which it is languages used or remembered, ranging from languages no longer spoken (owners often use the term ‘sleeping’) to those spoken fluently by members of the older generations; and the extent to which it has been reintroduced into the community of owners and custodians.
These variables give rise to the following broad categories of language revival:
- Language Revitalisation : where there are fluent L1 speakers (typically members of the older generation) but where the intergenerational transmission of the language has been interrupted. Younger generations may understand some of the language and may use some words and phrases but do not speak it as their first language. Examples of revitalisation languages include Walmajarri in the Kimberley, Yindjibarndi in the Pilbara, Meriam in the Torres Strait, Dyirbal in north-eastern Queensland, Wubuy (Nunggubuyu) in Arnhem Land, and Adnyamathanha (Yura Ngawarla) in the Flinders Ranges.
- Language Renewal : where there are a number of adult speakers who use the language to varying degrees in the community, but not ‘right through’, and where there are other language resources to draw upon. Examples of languages being renewed include Noongar in south-west Western Australia, Gumbaynggirr on the north coast of New South Wales, Ngarrindjeri on the Lower Murray Lakes in South Australia, Djabugay in the Atherton Tablelands in northern Queensland, and Yugambeh in southern Queensland.
- Language Reclamation : where language revival, by necessity, relies primarily on historical documentation of the language in the absence of active community knowledge of it. Examples of reclamation languages include Kaurna from Adelaide, Narungga from the Yorke Peninsula, Dharuk or Eora (Iyora) from Sydney, Yuwibara from central Queensland, Wemba-Wemba and Woiwurrung from Victoria, and Awabakal from the Newcastle area in New South Wales.
A number of factors and variables will need to be considered when planning for a language revival curriculum or program, and further information on these is presented in the context statement for this pathway and in the section Using the Framework.
Children enter the early years of schooling with established communication skills in one or more languages and varying degrees of acquisition of early literacy. Learning typically focuses on learners’ immediate world of family, home, school, friends and local environment. They are learning how to socialise with new people, share with others, and participate in structured routines and activities at school.
Language learning and use
The language is learnt in parallel with English language and literacy. Learning in the two areas progresses at very different levels, but each supports and enriches the other.
As the program is likely to be on Country/Place, links can be made to local places of significance, local families, and local histories.
The language is used as much as possible in classroom interactions, routines and activities, supported by the use of visual and concrete materials, gestures and body language. At this stage, there is a focus on play and imaginative activities, games, music, movement and familiar routines, which provide scaffolding and context for language development.
Oral language is developed through listening to the sounds, shapes and patterns of the language, through activities such as rhymes, songs, clapping and action games, and through imitating and repeating sounds in aural texts and as modelled by the teaching team, visiting Elders and community speakers.
Learners experiment with simple formulaic expressions, single-idea phrases and with one- or two-word responses to prompts and cues. As they progress to using language for interactions such as greetings, asking for help, talking about self, friends and family, or asking and answering questions, they notice that language behaves differently in different situations. Creative play provides opportunities for exploring these differences and for using language for purposeful interaction.
Students learn about Country/Place and community by interacting with Elders and community members, by exploring Country/Place, and by engaging with stories, songs and other texts such as videos, maps, and pictures. They learn about the concepts of kin and social groupings.
Students learn to use appropriate respect terms and to demonstrate respectful and appropriate behaviour when interacting with Elders, community speakers and community texts. Learners for whom the language is their heritage language develop a stronger sense of their own group and individual identity through the study of the language and culture.
Students learn to recognise letters that represent the sounds of the language. They write by tracing and copying, forming letters legibly. They learn to read and write words and sentences independently, using modelled language, for example, matching pictures with single words, labels and captions. The use of repetition and recycling in instruction helps children to identify high-frequency words and simple phrases and to recognise the purpose and intention of simple texts.
Students begin to understand how the language works, and compare it with English and other known languages. They understand its place in the context of broader regional and national language diversity. They learn about their role in developing resources for the language, for example by working with the community language team to create new games and songs in language, understanding how such efforts support the language to grow.
Contexts of interaction
Across Foundation to Year 2, learning occurs largely through interaction with peers and the teaching team, supplemented by some access to Elders and others affiliated with the language for additional enrichment and authentication of the learning experience. Interacting with Country/Place and exploring the environment with Elders and other community members is essential to language learning at all stages, but is particularly important during this early establishment phase, when learning is grounded in the familiar and understanding of language as lived experience is so important.
Texts and resources
Country/Place and its associated community are the most important resources for learning. They are the origin of most of the texts children engage with.
Texts include a variety of spoken, visual, written and digital resources, which are short, clearly structured, and supported by visuals and paralinguistic elements such as tone of voice, facial expression, body gesture. They include repetition and recycling of structures and vocabulary. Children listen and respond to teacher talk, share ideas and join in with songs, stories and different forms of play, performance, conversations and other language-mediated activities. Print and digital texts include word lists, place names, stories, shared Big Books, songs, photos, videos, environmental maps and wall charts. Teacher-generated materials include games and items from the community and local environment. Some texts involve English or another community language in a complementary role, filling in for items or expressions that have not yet been reconstituted in the language. Other texts will be bilingual, with no mixing of languages.
Level of support
Learning is supported via the provision of experiences that are challenging but achievable with appropriate scaffolding and support. This involves modelling, monitoring and moderating by the teacher; provision of multiple and varied sources of input; opportunities for revisiting, recycling and reviewing learned language; and continuous cueing, feedback, response and encouragement.
The role of languages
Learners are encouraged to use the language whenever possible in class interactions and daily routines with the teaching team, Elders and community members. Maximal use of the language will increase learners’ language proficiency and enhance the language revival process.
English and other known languages are used for explanation and discussion, allowing learners to talk about differences and similarities they notice between the language and their first language(s) and culture(s), to ask questions about language and culture, to consider how they feel when they hear or use the language, and to talk about how they view different languages and the people who speak them. This introduction to the ‘meta’ dimension of intercultural learning develops the ability to consider different perspectives and ways of being as mediated by language.
For revival languages that are at the ‘beginning’ end of the revival spectrum, English or another community language might be used in a complementary fashion, for example, to fill in for missing words or expressions. Alternatively, language owners and the community in general may decide to side-step these gaps altogether, thus avoiding the need to use other languages for these purposes.