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Victorian Aboriginal Languages

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Rationale and Aims


Students acquire communication skills in a Victorian Aboriginal Language. They develop an understanding about the role of language and culture in communication. Their reflections on language use and language learning are applied to other learning contexts.

Learning languages broadens students' horizons about the personal, social, cultural and employment opportunities that are available in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world. The interdependence of countries and communities requires people to negotiate experiences and meanings across languages and cultures. A bilingual or multilingual capability is the norm in most parts of the world, including many Aboriginal communities.

Learning languages:

  • Extends literacy repertoires and the capacity to communicate
  • Strengthens understandings of the nature of language, of culture, and of the processes of communication
  • Develops intercultural capabilities, including understanding of and respect for diversity and difference, and an openness to different experiences and perspectives
  • Develops understandings of how culture shapes and extends learners' understanding of themselves, their own heritage, values, beliefs, culture and identity
  • Strengthens intellectual, analytical and reflective capabilities, and enhances creative and critical thinking.

The overall rationale for learning Victorian Aboriginal Languages in schools is that they are the traditional languages of this country. Through learning them, all students gain access to knowledge and understanding of Australia that can only come from an Aboriginal perspective. The languages by their nature embed this perspective. Learning to use these unique languages can play an important part in the development of a strong sense of identity, pride and self-esteem for all Australian students.

Each Australian Aboriginal Language is unique to the Country/Place on which it arose. It gives voice to the landscapes, thought and ways of seeing and interpreting the world. When the language of the land is spoken, it brings together all of the elements of the landscape and its people. It encompasses the relationships of these people with one another and with the landscape, past, present and future. The learning of an Aboriginal Language incorporates the realities of its people and facilitates students' deep engagement with knowledge, ways of being and ways of knowing. It develops in students an understanding of historical, current and ongoing connection to Country/Place and culture.


The Languages curriculum aims to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to ensure that students:

  • Communicate in the language
  • Understand language, culture and learning and their relationship, and thereby develop an intercultural capability in communication
  • Understand themselves as communicators
  • Understand the process of language building as a means to extend the potential of the language (in vocabulary, expression and discourse) and to develop knowledge of linguistic techniques (such as, collecting, describing and recording language), including processes of language revival.
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