The History of Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory

by Brian Clive Devlin, Samantha Disbray and Nancy Regine Friedman Devlin, editors and contributors.

The book covers a range of topics written by different authors who have been involved in Bilingual Education in the NT.

The chapters are based around the themes of People, Policies and programs.


Chapters can be downloaded by clicking  on the title above. Definitely worth a read.

Propositions on the November 8, 2016 Ballot - English Language Education in California



Yes/No Statement

A YES vote on this measure means: Public schools could more easily choose how to teach English learners, whether in English-only, bilingual, or other types of programs.

A NO vote on this measure means: Public schools would still be required to teach most English learners in English-only programs.













Milingimbi School Calendar 2017 on sale now

Milingimbi School Calendar celebrates 40+ years of bilingual education.

Order your copy from Batchelor Press , details on flyer, before it is sold out, limited number available. 

Click here for flyer and more details.

MGB2017 1

International recognition for outstanding contribution to language preservation


2016 Co-winners are Yambirrpa School Council/Djarrma Action Group of the Yolngu community of Yirrkala in the Northern Territory of Australia, and the International and Heritage Languages Association from Canada.

Two complementary visions of language diversity

This year, the jury made up of forty international experts has decided to award the prize ex aequo to two organizations that are geographically distant and diverse in their approach of promoting diversity. Both, however, share the perseverance and the will to preserve languages that are either threatened in their own territory or are part of the assets of displaced individuals and populations.
One win Yolngu_artner is the Yambirrpa School Council/Djarrma Action Group representing 14 Aboriginal language groups of the Yolngu people of Yirrkala and Laynhapuy in Arnherm Land (Northern Territory, Australia). These institutions carry on the struggle initiated more than 40 years ago by the community elders to convey the cultural and linguistic heritage of their people through bilingual teaching programmes in Yolngu, in steady decline since 1980 due to government action.

Further information on bilingual education in Yolngu at Yirrkala:

Further information on Yolngu language and culture:

Indigenous Languages and Arts - Australian Government Grants

Language and art are essential to the wellbeing, culture and identity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and play an integral role in maintaining the sustainability, vitality and strength of Indigenous communities. The Australian Government is committed to investing in supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to revive and maintain languages and develop, protect and produce art.

Go to

Primary teacher vacancy at Mäpuru Christian School

Check out this fantastic opportunity to work alongside Yolŋu and be at the forefront of bilingual education delivery in the Northern Territory.

Mäpuru Christian School has a teacher vacancy for the multi-age Primary class for the 2015 school year and beyond. This position is as a team member with co-teachers Roslyn Malngumba and Rebecca Gamadala. 

Teaching duties include leading the primary teaching team to deliver bi-litearcy (Djambarrapuyŋu and English) and numeracy programs through meaningful activities relevant to the Mäpuru context and aspirations and Mäpuru School Council for their children.

More info and full description here: pdfMapuru_2015_EALD_Primary_Vacancy.pdf

Direct Instruction for NT Schools

FOBL has collated some information and some questions for educators and community members about Direct Instruction, the program which Peter Chandler, the Northern Territory Minister for Education has announced will be implemented in 60 schools in the Northern Territory over the next three years. This is a direct result of recommendations from A Share in the Future - The Review of Indigenous Education in the Northern Territory carried out by Mr Bruce Wilson and NT Education staff in 2013.

Funding for the Direct Instruction program will come from part of a $22 million grant from the Federal Government. An unknown amount of $22 million will go to the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy (CYAAA) to administer DI programs in the Northern Territory.

The operations of the three Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy (CYAAA) campuses (Hope Vale, Coen and Aurukun) are underpinned by an instructional model that organises curriculum and its delivery into three separate learning or knowledge domains: Class, Club and Culture. Club and Culture classes happen after normal school hours so the normal school day is taken up with the delivery of Direct Instruction for literacy, and a Direct Instruction program for numeracy called Elementary Maths Mastery.

It is not clear at this stage if it is just the Direct Instruction component (Class) that will be imported to the Northern Territory.

Direct Instruction is the approach used in these schools for classroom teaching of English literacy and numeracy. Currently the CYAAA Class, Club and Culture model is a pilot program. According to the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) Evaluation of the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Initiative published in June 2013 DI could not be conclusively linked to improving student literacy or numeracy outcomes.

The following link takes you to the ACER Final Report - Evaluation of the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy Initiative:

or from

Department of Education, Training and Employment

Two elements of the ACER Evaluation are pertinent to the NT: improved literacy and numeracy outcomes and student attendance.

The ACER Evaluation of the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Initiative reports the following findings re:
Increased literacy and numeracy outcomes
The answers to the question,
What is the impact of the CYAAA Initiative on student learning in the pilot communities? are:
It is not possible to conclude from the available test data, except in limited circumstances, whether or not the CYAAA Initiative has had an impact on student learning. This is because there is too much missing information to draw a conclusion, one way or the other.
Typically, the school staff describe improvements in student learning and attribute these improvements to the CYAAA Initiative.
School staff report that the rate of improvement has been greater in literacy than in numeracy.

It is too soon to tell if Club or Culture or both is having an impact on student learning.

Because the evaluation was unable to use the test data, it became difficult to empirically ascribe a causal connection between the Initiative and student learning outcomes. That said, it needs to be acknowledged that school and community members provided a wide range of anecdotal evidence that suggests there is such a connection and that the Initiative is indeed having a positive impact on student outcomes. (Australian Council for Educational Research. June 2013. Evaluation of the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Initiative. Department of Education Training and Employment: Queensland. P 9.)

Student Attendance

On the burning issue of student attendance the ACER report did have conclusive findings:

It was found that the CYAAA Initiative project outcome related to student attendance has not been met. Student attendance has declined in two campuses during the period of the CYAAA Initiative despite the perception by many stakeholders that is has increased. This discrepancy between the ACER findings and the perceptions of informants may be explained in part by more stringent roll marking procedures implemented by CYAAA. Despite the declines in attendance, the attendance rates for Aurukun, which increased markedly ay the inception of the Cape York Welfare Reforms ( prior to the CYAAA), have not returned to the low levels experienced prior to the welfare reform trial. (Australian Council for Educational Research. June 2013. Evaluation of the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Initiative. Department of Education Training and Employment: Queensland. P. 10.)

Why is the Federal government funding millions of dollars to the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy to run programs with such limited results in the Northern Territory?

Where is the evidence to show that the use of one specific literacy program is effective as opposed to properly resourced bilingual programs which include English programs written specifically for students who speak English as a Second Language?

'Direct Instruction is not a solution for Australian schools' by Allan Luke in the Australian Association for Research in Education BLOG

We have included an evaluation of the Direct Instruction program by Professor Allan Luke published on the Australian Association for Research in Education's (AARE) blog site because we believe he is eminently qualified to evaluate language programs (see Bio below).

Languages in Education Seminar



From the Gallery

Languages of the Top End