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PART A: A summary and synthesis of my discussion board posts and the key
understanding related to intercultural approaches to teaching and learning acquire that
will impact on my classroom practice
EAL/D students attend school with varying degrees of second language knowledge.
Intercultural approaches for teaching these students requires teachers to ensure
opportunities are made available to enable these students to engage in learning that is
relevant to their culture, while supporting new language development.
Two-way sharing of information and language is essential as I have found when caring for
Indigenous children in an early childhood setting, to enable these children to feel their
culture is valued and respected. This also enabled me to develop a better understanding of
how these children could be supported in their language learning and development.
This fact was highlighted as an important, but missing element in Going back to Lajamanu,
where Walpiri People and other Indigenous communities were expected to learn Standard
Australian English, according to Western teaching methods, and often were not supported
with learning alongside their own Aboriginal language. An essential component in providing
learning outcomes that support EAL/D students is to consider the entry level into Standard
Australian English classrooms, determining where students are at in their learning and
language stage, such as beginning, emerging, developing or consolidating stages of English
development (ACARA, 2012).
In supporting EAL/D students, it is essential that I get to know each student; how they learn,
their prior and existing knowledge and interests, and how they can best be supported in
their learning to achieve successful learning outcomes. This requires developing with
students, an understanding of their own culture and language, within additional cultures
and languages, while allowing them to maintain their own identity (DEST, p, 1, 2003). It is
vital that I find ways to bring to students learning experiences that are both relevant and
meaningful (Hanlen, 2002).
The key understandings related to intercultural approaches to teaching and learning
acquired which will have an impact on my classroom practice include the extent to which I
need to provide opportunities for students to engage in oral language development that is
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supported through students own language to enable a two way sharing of information and
knowledge. This needs to be determined through assessments that are based on individual,
whole group and small group work, prior to providing learning experiences that engage
students in relevant knowledge and information development. As indicated in my learning
journal 1, it is also essential that I provide EAL/D students with learning that is relevant to
their culture to engage students in classroom work, based on their style of learning.
PART B: An analysis, discussion and critical reflection on 2 of my discussion board posts
this semester
I feel my learning journal 3 and 4 discussion board posts have given me opportunity to
further critically reflect on the need to be able to participate in training and development to
develop an understanding relating to the cultures and languages of EAL/D students in the
classroom, before being able to provide students with relevant, authentic language learning
opportunities. This particularly relates to oral language learning as this is an important
component of Standard Australian English development.
While I was aware that Indigenous students often have problems engaging in learning
within Western schools who teach primarily in Standard Australian English, I had not really
considered in-depth, the reasons for these difficulties. Participating in the unit English as an
Additional Language, has identified a major gap in my teaching and learning knowledge;
that Indigenous students learn about the world in vastly different ways to non-Aboriginal
people (Ryan, 1992, p. 161). Therefore, I need to continually assess and be prepared to
alter my pedagogical practices to teaching and learning activities to engage students in
higher-order thinking skills, in a quality supportive, positive, learning classroom
environment. It is also essential to work collaboratively between students, teachers,
Aboriginal staff and the community, demonstrating clear connections with students prior
knowledge and identities (NSW Department of Education and Training, 2006).
Students may appear off task and disengaged with their learning or classroom discussions;
however there may be a number of reasons this occurs, such as hearing loss. Through
further reading and investigation, I have also learnt that students, particularly new to the
classroom and learning environment, may not be comfortable contributing to classroom
discussions for a variety of reasons such as differences in gestures and body language such
as eye contact, and the way questions are asked. It is vital to support these students in their
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learning by collaborating with family, Aboriginal Education Officers and other community
workers to develop a support plan for the student. Other classroom facts to consider need
to include ensuring students see faces of all speakers; gain students attention before
speaking; developing and maintaining routines in classroom activities so students know
what is expected; and, include group work as part of teaching so students can watch others
to help them understand instructions. (Hanlen, 2010, p. 3).
This is also not an indication that the student is not interested in learning, but may require
alterations to my teaching style to cater for barriers to communication such as gestures and
body language and behaviours that might be considered offensive; and to encourage two-
way sharing of information and knowledge, ensuring these students are not excluded from
learning experiences. Providing relevant, engaging and meaningful learning experiences in
my classroom, opportunities to scaffold learning, combined with assistance from staff,
parents and community members, will help support EAL/D students to become confident
and comfortable learners and contributors in the classroom (ACARA, 2012).
Semester discussion board posts, unit readings and further investigation, has enabled me to
critically reflect on many elements relating to teaching EAL/D students and the difficulties
they may experience, but none as essential as the need for me as a teacher, to develop an
understanding of the differences in the way texts are constructed, and in the use and
number of vowels, phonology, pragmatics, and word meanings (Hanlen, 2010, p. 4). This
also incorporates sounds and their meanings, and the need for an understanding of both
ways language to provide scaffolding for successful learning outcomes according to
students learning styles (Aukerman, 2007, p 626).
It is important that I dont assume to have a prior cultural knowledge of EAL/D students in
my classroom, and always seek the knowledge and experience of support people such as
Aboriginal Education Workers and community members when programming and planning
relevant experiences to support oral Standard Australian English development.
While researching for this assignment, I also discovered the importance of modelling desired
speech rather than correcting the speech of EAL/D students, particularly relating to
Indigenous cultures (Language and Communication, n.d., p. 9). Providing students with
opportunities to learn through scaffolding is essential to model required outcomes, and
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encourage critical thinking skills in all students. Students learning strengths also needs to
be supported with appropriate curricula and pedagogy (Ryan, 1992, p. 167).
To support EAL/D students, texts that reflect the diversity of cultures in the classroom will
be selected for exploration and engaging all students in learning through explicit teaching of
language and literacy across curriculum areas. Oral discussions about each text will be
presented, and discussed across cultures, developing further two-way learning and sharing
of knowledge and information. Scaffolding the way language is presented and taught will be
an important part of supporting EAL/D students, through oral speech, supported with visual
representations where possible, and giving EAL/D students time to process and answer
questions due to code switching between their first language and Standard Australian
It is also important for me to develop an understanding of how EAL/D students and their
families use language-non-verbally and verbally for specific purposes such as questioning,
and how I can encourage EAL/D students to participate. This will need to be modelled by
scaffolding questioning through other students, as some cultures such as Indigenous
students, are not encouraged to ask questions such as why, when and how (Wigglesworth
and Simpson, 2008). This need for intercultural literacy understanding is supported by
ONeill and Gish, who state that effective language learning is dependent on their teachers
ability to develop intercultural literacy as well as that of their students. (ONeill and Gish,
2008, p. 3).
Multilevel teaching will benefit students through group work, pair work and whole class
collaboration, as this scaffolding is critical for supporting all students including EAL/D
learners (Roberts, 2007, p. 2). Group work is essential to create further opportunity for oral
language development, and scaffolding. Students will be paired as talk partners, as
according to Vygotsky, giving students practice in talking with others we give them frames
for thinking on their own" (Teachem2Think, 2014).
I also however, think that the article Two-way teaching, illustrates some important aspects
about how I as a developing teacher, can provide opportunities to engage Indigenous
students in their learning, such as hands on approaches to learning, collaboration in groups
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and negotiation, rather than look, listen, do (Deadly Ways To Learn Consortium, p. 10,
In conclusion, it is vital that as a teacher of EAL/D students, I develop positive relationships
with students and their families, and provide learning opportunities that incorporate and
extend students skills and exposure to listening, talking, reading and writing, supported
with the use of students first language, while developing Standard Australian English.

ACARA see Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority
Aukerman, M. (2007). A culpable CALP: Rethinking the Conversational/Academic language
proficiency distinction in early literacy instruction. The Reading Teacher, 60(7), 626-
635. Retrieved from
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2012). English as an Additional
Language or Dialect Teacher Resource: Overview and EAL/D Learning Progression.
Retrieved from
DEST see Department of Education Science and Training.
Department of Education Science and Training. (2003). Report on intercultural language
learning. Retrieved from http://www1.curriculum.edu.au/nalsas/pdf/intercultural.pdf
Galloway, A. (2003). Questions: Help or Hindrance? Teachers use of Questions with
Indigenous Children with Conductive Hearing Loss. Australian Journal of Teacher
Education. 27(2). Retrieved from
Going Back to Lajamanu (2009, September 14). [television broadcast]. Retrieved from
Hanlen, W. (2002). Emerging Literacy in New South Wales Rural and Urban Indigenous
Families. Retrieved from
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Hanlen, W. (2010). Aboriginal students: Cultural insights for teaching literacy. Retrieved
NSW Department of Education and Training. (2006). About Quality Teaching. Retrieved from
O'Neill, S., & Gish, A. (2008). Teaching English as a second language. South Melbourne,
Australia: Oxford University Press.
Roberts, M. (2007). Teaching in the Multilevel Classroom. Retrieved from
Ryan, J. (1992). Aboriginal learning styles: A critical review. Language, Culture and
Curriculum, 5(3), 161-183, DOI:10.1080/07908319209525124
Wigglesworth, G. & Simpson, J. (2008). The language learning environment of preschool
children in indigenous communities. pp 13-29. London: Continuum.
Module 1: Activity 2
When I first started watching the ABC program Going back to Lajamanu, my first reaction
when listening to the first few Indigenous People speaking in their own language was I
have absolutely no idea and dont understand what these people are saying.
This must be the same or similar thoughts or feelings Indigenous People and children
experience when they are forced to learn in an environment where the first four hours are
taught in English, and only the last hour available for learning their own language and
Throughout listening to the presentation, it was evident that Indigenous students learn
about the world in different ways than non-Indigenous students, as often is indicated
throughout the module readings. Ryan indicates that Indigenous students struggle to learn
in more formal education environments because they learn about the world in different
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ways than non-Indigenous students particularly in mainstream education (1992). While
Western society breaks learning down into smaller pieces, Indigenous learners view their
world as a whole. Western teaching often alters teaching methods to suit the learning
styles of non-Indigenous students, but fails to alter teaching practices to suit the learning
styles of Indigenous learners.
Opinions of the Warlpiri People and other Indigenous communities in the ABC program
relating the importance of learning and engaging in their 1
language, is supported by the
opinions given in Wigglesworth and Simpson (2008), that demonstrates a childs ability to
successfully function in society is dependent on them learning a first language (p. 14).
Christine Nicholls, former Principal of Lajamanu, also supports this view with her belief that
Indigenous Peoples language is of vital importance to them and it is essential to teach
language from the known to the unknown.
Success stories with bilingual programs have been demonstrated such as at Yuendumu,
where lessons learnt primarily in Indigenous languages that students understand, with
English as the second language. This essential element is supported by Lajamanus bilingual
coordinator Wendy Baarda, who believes these bilingual programs benefit children as they
learn in a language they understand, with English as their second language, which is also
essential to enable students to relate new things they learn, to their own life for lifelong
learning (4 Corners).
I like the powerful comment made by Djuwalpi Marika Chairman of Yirrkala School
Council, when asked what would happen should Gary Barnes CEO NT Education
Department, say teaching must occur in English and not the language of the community
his reply well ignore him, we want our right. It is obvious the Warlpiri language is
important to these Indigenous people, and essential to maintain their learning through their
first language for survival of their culture and for successful learning outcomes.
Module 2: Activity 3
Oral Language Development
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This teaching and learning activity is designed to support the oral language and learning of
Year 2 students. There are 24 students in the classroom, 2 of Aboriginal heritage, which it is
determined, are at an Emerging English stage as EAL/D students (ACARA, 2012, p. 9).
Classroom talk will be encouraged as this assists particularly EAL/D students, to process
and remember information, develop higher-order thinking, and advance their literacy skills
(Teachem2Think, 2014).
Activities are designed to incorporate social constructivist opportunities to build on existing
knowledge, and create new skills to develop:
Social skills to assist students to develop and maintain relationships with other
students; and
Language skills to enable students to effectively communicate, while developing
emergent literacy skills (The Hanen Centre, 2011)
Issues to consider before commencement of teaching include:
Identify any non-verbal and body language cues that may not be considered
culturally appropriate
Ensure all staff and students at all times; behave in a manner that is culturally
respectful between and towards each other
Ensure words are placed around the classroom, written in both SAE and the
language of the cultures within the classroom enabling all students to make visual
Ensure the environment is rich with images, language and symbols, that support all
cultures within the classroom
Where possible, engage the assistance of a parent, community member, school
support person, or another student to translate words and language
Students from other cultures may wish to sit quietly and not contribute, but
ensure they are not excluded from discussions/activities (ACARA, 2012).
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Activities are based on the resource Shake a leg, which will support Aboriginal culture and
language while assisting the Aboriginal students to identify and work with Standard
Australian English; and a cultural acceptance amongst other students within the classroom.
Ongoing teaching and learning will engage students in knowledge of words used in Standard
Australian Language, and their meaning, essential for oral language skills (Cameron, n.d.).
In particular, lesson content aims to improve oral language development in accordance with
curriculum content requirements (ACARA, 2014),
Language for interaction Identify language that can be used for appreciating texts and the
qualities of people and things (ACELA1462)
Expressing and developing ideas Understand the use of vocabulary about familiar and new
and experiment with and begin to make conscious choices of vocabulary to suit audience
and purpose (ACELA1470)
Expressing and developing ideas Recognise common prefixes and suffixes, and how they
change a words meaning (ACELA1472)
Sound and letter knowledge Recognise most soundletter matches including silent letters,
vowel/consonant digraphs and many less common soundletter combinations (ACELA1474)
Interacting with others Use interaction skills including initiating topics, making positive
statements and voicing disagreement in an appropriate manner, speaking clearly and
varying tone, volume and pace appropriately (ACELY1789)
1. Whole class seated on the floor facing the teacher
2. Students view the front cover of Shake a leg by Boori Monty Pryor.
3. Teacher and students to use oral skills in an appropriate manner, with clear speech
4. Using oral language, students discuss with the teacher, what they think the story might
be about, and to predict what might happen.
5. Using oral language, students discuss the author, the illustrator, and the styles and types
of illustrations used throughout the book.
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6. Teacher reads the story to the class, pausing throughout to discuss the content and
vocabulary using open-ended questions, and opportunities to extend their knowledge
and critical thinking skills with the use of why, what, when, where, why questions.
Students can be encouraged to read along, following the teacher.
Aboriginal words to be recorded on the Interactive Whiteboard and Standard
Australian English to be written alongside. These words can be printed for displaying
around the classroom.
Standard Australian English words unknown to both Indigenous and non-
Indigenous students will also be written on the IWB, and where possible, the
Indigenous form written alongside
Terminology used throughout the story e.g. what do students think it means
when someone says shake a leg?
Students identify with sound-letter matches- consonants, vowels and sound-letter
7. Using Year 2 standards in language, students identify word endings ing; ed; s; es; ies,
displayed through the Interactive Whiteboard.
8. Group work is essential to create further opportunity for oral language development, and
scaffolding. Students will be paired as talk partners, as according to Vygotsky, giving
students practice in talking with others we give them frames for thinking on their own"
(Teachem2Think, 2014).
Indigenous students will be paired with a student competent in Standards Australian
Pre-designed and printed Australian English words, and images that represent the
content of the book Shake a Leg, will be printed. Students need to match the correct
pictures with the written words.
Students can match upper case and lower case letters
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Using letter tiles, images and words, students select correct consonants and
vowels to create the word. Students requiring learning extension may attempt to
spell out the word without referring to the written word (Hubbard, 2013).
9. Students are invited to share their stories and experiences within their culture, and may
use the assistance of Elders, AEOs, or family members.
10. ICT will be incorporated that are both teacher designed to support the learning needs of
students within the class and through the lesson plans, to develop students vocabulary.
Resources required:
Book Shake a leg by Boori Monty Pryor
Interactive Whiteboard + markers
Pre-designed and printed sets of Australian English words/images
Sets of letter tiles