Language, culture and communities

The Language, Culture and Communities team supports the development and coordination of programs in the areas of Aboriginal languages and culture.

Aboriginal language programs in schools

The NSW Department of Education is committed to increasing the teaching of Aboriginal languages in NSW public schools and provides advice, guidance and resources to schools to implement an Aboriginal language program in partnership with their local Aboriginal community.

Aboriginal language programs in public schools NSW operate to enable Aboriginal communities to preserve, teach and use their local Aboriginal language. Learning an Aboriginal language provides an opportunity for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students to better understand local Aboriginal culture and help build identity, self-esteem and resilience among Aboriginal students.

Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests

OCHRE recognises Aboriginal languages and cultures as a unique component of Australia’s heritage. It is a fundamental element of Aboriginal culture which reaffirms Aboriginal identity, spirituality and connection to Country. The establishment of Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests is a key initiative under OCHRE. OCHRE commits to the establishment of five initial Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests across the State.

An Aboriginal Language and Culture Nest is a network of communities bound together by their connection through an Aboriginal Language.  The Nests provide communities with opportunities to revitalise, reclaim and maintain their traditional languages and will involve the participation of communities linking with schools, TAFE NSW, universities and other community language programs or groups.

Each Aboriginal Language and Culture Nest is aligned to a ‘base’ school which receives an annual allocation of funding for administrative support and the employment of Aboriginal Language tutors for schools within the Nest perimeters.

Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests are designed to provide a continuous learning pathway for Aboriginal students.  The language skills and knowledge of Aboriginal language and culture holders and /or speakers from local Aboriginal communities is recognised as critical to the continuing development and support of teaching and learning in the Nests.

The Aboriginal Language and Culture Nest initiative is being led by the Department of Education in partnership with the NSW Aboriginal Educational Consultative Group Inc. (AECG), the peak advisory group on Aboriginal Education in NSW.

The five Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests are below for further information on each Nest click on the relevant link below:

All five Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests were established following extensive local Aboriginal community consultation and are continuing to develop and grow. This has been manifested through the guidance and support provided to each of the local Aboriginal Language and Culture Nest Reference groups by the NSW AECG Inc.

Each of the Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests has an Aboriginal Language Teacher, Aboriginal Language and Culture Nest attached to it and their work is to collaborate with schools, local Aboriginal language holders and/or speakers; and local Nest Reference groups across their respective Aboriginal Language and Culture Nest.  Nest teachers work to develop quality Aboriginal Language Programs for Aboriginal students and all students and to corroborate with the Aboriginal Language and Culture Nest Reference Group regards supporting the engagement and professional development of Aboriginal Language tutors.

Aboriginal language tutors are critical to the teaching and learning of Aboriginal languages across the Nest schools.  Aboriginal Language Tutors are local Aboriginal language speakers. Schools are encouraged to support Aboriginal community members in their role as speakers and teachers of Aboriginal languages.  Aboriginal language tutors are responsible for providing support to students to learn an Aboriginal language that has been approved by the local community.  Tutors are employed in accordance with the NSW Department of Education’s policies and procedures.

The teaching and learning of Aboriginal Languages in schools across the Nests is also supported by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) formerly known as the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards and the NSW Board of Studies.

NESA provides foundations and guidance for the teaching of Aboriginal languages programs in schools through the Aboriginal Languages K – 10 Syllabus, June 2003 for students from Kindergarten to Year 10. The Aboriginal Languages Advice on Programming and Assessment for Stages 4 and 5 for students in Year 9 to 10 and the Aboriginal Languages Stage 6 Content Endorsed Course Syllabus, 2015 for students in Years 11 and 12.

Contact

For further information contact the NSW Department of Education’s, Aboriginal Education and Community Engagement Unit’s, Languages Culture and Communities team using the following contact details:

Email: Aboriginal.Programs@det.nsw.edu.au
Phone: (02) 9244 5751

Further information:
NSW Aboriginal Affairs
NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Incorporated
NSW Education Standards Authority

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