The following item from the Austalian News (reposted from the ILAT list) may be
of interest. The last line reports the New South Wales (Australia) education
minister as saying that learning a (second) language helped improve
comprehension and literacy (presumably in English?). Can one go the next step
to say that literacy in an additional language improves the levels of literacy
(vocabulary, comprehension, ...) in the previous language?
----- Forwarded message from phil cash cash <cashcash@...
Aboriginal languages for curriculum
ABORIGINAL language studies will become a major part of the school curriculum in
an Australian first that takes indigenous education to a new level across New
The formal lessons in Aboriginal languages will be driven by demand from local
communities, but it is hoped thousands of non-indigenous students will support
NSW Education Minister Andrew Refshauge today will launch a new syllabus for
mandatory and elective courses in Aboriginal languages for students from
Kindergarten to Year 10.
Students in Government and independent schools will be able to study an
Aboriginal language subject in primary school, for their School Certificate and
for the HSC.
Initiatives to teach and revive the state's 70 indigenous languages will be
spearheaded by specialists who will help teachers in the classroom.
Under the new policy:
* A KINDERGARTEN to Year 10 syllabus will be introduced from 2005, enabling any
student in the state to study an Aboriginal language;
* MORE than $1 million already has been spent establishing an Aboriginal
Languages Research and Resource Centre providing technical support to
* AN Aboriginal languages database will become available to schools and
communities from 2005; and
* NEW guidelines will help Aboriginal communities trying to revive or teach
their local language
Education sources indicated yesterday that primary schools could spend at least
half an hour a week on Aboriginal language lessons.
At Darlington Public School, children already are learning how to count, sing
and identify body parts in the Wiradjuri language. Teachers said reaction had
been positive, but they were careful not to "tread on the toes" of community
members who were not supportive.
Primary principal Cheryl McBride said the syllabus would give Aboriginal pupils
a sense of pride and recognition.
Opposition spokeswoman Jillian Skinner also supported the plan, as long as core
subjects were not neglected.
It is understood about 80 schools have applied for resources to run the
programs; about 25 are being funded.
Dr Refshauge said learning a language helped improve comprehension and
Â© The Australian
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