Department of Education

English as an Additional Language or Dialect


Teaching and Learning Resources for EAL/D Aboriginal Students

Aboriginal English Storybooks Resources

Current research on Additional Language and Dialect acquisition shows that the literacy skills of learners whose language backgrounds are not standard Australian English can be enhanced when the reading materials are linguistically and culturally familiar to learners.   The Aboriginal English Aboriginal Storybook resources illustrate how the language and culture of students can be used, endorsed and celebrated to promote literacy development.  Five schools feature the work of their students through the publication of their storybooks written in Aboriginal English.  The project is also a perfect illustration on  how a school can go about developing the standards of the Aboriginal Cultural Standards Framework  and the Capabilities outlined in the Capability Framework – Teaching Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander EAL/D Learners.

Aboriginal English Storybooks

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Aboriginal English

1. The normal, everyday talk that Aboriginal people use with each other.
2. A dialect of English that has developed over time as Aboriginal people and Europeans interacted.
3. The home talk of Aboriginal people.
4. A dialect of English which has its own grammatical rules, sounds, words and meanings which show evidence of Aboriginal languages.

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Assessment and Reporting

For assessment and reporting support and resources for teachers of Aboriginal students who speak English as an additional language or dialect please refer to the EAL/D Assessment and Reporting section.

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Tracks to Two-Way Learning

Tracks to Two Way Learning is a train-the-trainer resource aimed at engendering positive change through the four dimensions of Staff Knowledge and Practice, Community Engagement, Policy and Practice and Learner Engagement to improve quality teaching and learning across education, training and the workplace.

Visit the Tracks to Two-Way Learning page for further information about this resource.

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Ways of Being, Ways of Talk

Information on Aboriginal English and its use within the wider community. Providing a better understanding of how Aboriginal English and Australian English differ, on the basis of their differing histories and associated underlying conceptualisations.

This text aims to make education more appropriate and effective for students who speak Aboriginal English, using an inclusive approach. It consists of a series of four, 15-20 minute videos, supported by scriptsand resource papers for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal audiences. 

A copy of the Ways of Being, Ways of Talk resource is available in pdf format.

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Deadly Ways To Learn Project

The Deadly Ways to Learn Project set out to collect, create and critique two-way bidialectal classroom practices in fourteen Western Australian schools. Print resources and two dvds have been published as a kit to support the implementation of such practices in schools across Australia.

The concept underlying these practices was to promote parity of esteem between the dialects of Standard Australian English (SAE) and Aboriginal English.

The kit consists of two books:

  • Deadly Ideas: A collection of two-way bidialectal teaching strategies from the Deadly Ways to Learn project;
  • Deadly Yarns: Anecdotes about Language, Culture, Identity and Power from the Deadly Ways to Learn project.

And two videos:

  • Deadly Ways to Teach: Two-way bidialectal education in schools and classrooms;
  • Talking Deadly: Language, culture, identity and power in the context of Aboriginal English.

This full kit is available from the EAL/D Resource Centre.

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Improving Understanding of Aboriginal Literacy: Factors in Text Comprehension 

This text explores the social and cultural knowledge that Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal educators bring to the task of comprehending oral narratives produced by Aboriginal children.

This full kit is available from the EAL/D Resource Centre.

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"Understanding Stories My Way": Aboriginal - English speaking students' (mis)understanding of school literacy materials in Australian English

Differences between Aboriginal English and other varieties of English affects Aboriginal students' understanding of literacy materials used at school. Students are likely to comprehend materials in terms of meanings in Aboriginal English. This can be significant in their achievement at school.

A copy of the Understanding Stories My Way resource is available in pdf format.

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Statewide Services Resource and Information Centre - EAL/D Program

A variety of high quality and practical resources are available to assist and support teachers of Aboriginal students for whom English is an additional language or dialect. Some are available electronically through this website. All are available for loan through the Statewide Services Resource and Information Centre. The Resource and Information Centre is open from 8.00 to 4.30 weekdays and Department teachers are welcome to come and browse the collection. Alternatively, teachers can call or e-mail requests for bulk loans.

Contact details

Statewide Services Resource and Information Centre - EAL/D Program
33 Giles Ave
Padbury 6025
Telephone: (08) 9402 6112

Teaching and Learning Resources for EAL/D Aboriginal Students

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this site may contain images of people who are deceased.

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