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 Shopen & Hickey: Volume 31 (2003)

Meeting Teachers' Needs: Reaching Literacy Through Grammar in Indigenous Schools

Glenda Shopen & Ruth Hickey

The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education Vol. 31, 2003, pp. 25-33.

Many teachers and teaching assistants report that they lack an understanding of Standard Australian English grammar and that this hinders their work with Indigenous students who are learning English as a second language. This paper reports on the success of an accredited professional development strategy in Far North Queensland. This strategy is not based on out-of-context grammar lessons but promotes the idea that grammar is best learnt in communicative and collaborative classrooms which value fun and visual performance. The grammar activities are also embedded in current strategies for the teaching of literacy. This kind of professional development can reinvigorate teachers' practices in order to increase literacy outcomes in Indigenous schools.