ESL Indigenous project

ESL Indigenous project

To visit the ESL Indigenous project website, click here

Research Proposal

The outcome of work following the release of the research material and articles is to improve the educational outcomes of Indigenous students, specifically in literacy.

Together with this, is the awareness that in identifying practices which enhance standard Australian English acquisition, support of the first or home language of the student is a factor.

The focus of the research - Stage One

Questions which will direct the research will focus on the ways in which support for a student's home language or first language can enhance the uptake of standard English. The first stage of the proposed project, a short research paper, will provide information in clear language about the principles of second language acquisition, and the factors which have been shown through research to support effective language learning. This will be directed to educators in all areas and sectors, and will inform them of current knowledge as well as provide a focus for discussion about implications in their sector for Indigenous students for whom standard Australian English is not their first or home language..

The paper will be titled:

'Issues in English language and literacy development and home language support.'

The paper will be written with reference to research conducted by others and will provide something of a position paper for discussion .

The focus of the research - Stage Two

The follow on from the research paper will be a number of documented case studies, which explore the issues identified in the paper, and provide examples and models of practice and experience. Three sites in South Australia have already been identified, and if sufficient support for the research proposal is found, additional sites in other states could be included.

The research done through the case studies will focus on a number of key questions

  • What home language or first language does the student engage in?
  • What level of proficiency does the student have in standard Australian English ?
  • What support exists in the school for the support of the home or first language of the student?
  • Are links made between the home language and the language of the classroom in teaching?
  • What could be done to enhance standard Australian English acquisition?
  • What could be done to increase competence in the student's first or home language?

The outcomes of the case studies will be to provide models and suggestions for school practices which will focus on enhancing the student's literacy in English as well as acknowledging their first or home language.

The level of practical support for the maintenance of the first or home language will be an issue which will need to be explored by each educational sector.

A third research component - Stage Three.

An additional research component which could be undertaken if sufficient resourcing is accessed would be to focus on a closer examination and description of what ESL strategies support effective English language acquisition by Indigenous students whose first language and home language is not standard Australian English.

This would significantly enhance the outcomes of the seminars and workshops which would occur nationally through links between the state associations of ACTA and professional educator associations with which they would link for delivery


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