University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Empowered Voices Year >  Lunchtime presentation | Language and Literacy in the West Kimberley: The case for 3 and 4 year old Indigenous learners'

Lunchtime presentation | Language and Literacy in the West Kimberley: The case for 3 and 4 year old Indigenous learners'

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The gap in literacy achievement between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students has been widely publicised, and evidence from the Western Australian Child Health Survey conducted in 2004 (Zubrick et al; 2008) shows that a substantial proportion of Aboriginal children are behind the starting gate when school begins. Research addressing the reasons for the ‘gap’ in achievement has raised questions in regards to Aboriginal learners. For example, is performance a reflection on the ways in which they are being taught, or in how they are tested? Are their linguistic and cultural characteristics being adequately considerered? What other factors are involved? This presentation addresses such questions with reference to the development of an online diagnostic tool designed for remote, Aboriginal learners aged 3-4 years old. In October 2014 we travelled to the Kimberley region to visit a number of indigenous schools and communities in the Broome, Fitzroy Crossing and Derby regions. Feedback was extremely positive from all communities visited, and highlighted a specific need for the proposed tool. Production is now underway, and includes the use of authentic illustrations from the region to support the learning process. To accommodate the range of language abilities (Malcolm, 2011), the tool will be delivered in Kimberley Kriol and Standard Australian English (SAE), and piloted in the West Kimberley region of Western Australia.

This talk is part of the Empowered Voices Year series.

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