Languages ideologies and practice From the land and the classroom

Languages ideologies and practice From the land and the classroom Journal Article

The Modern Language Journal

  • Author(s): Disbray, Samantha, Plummer, Rosemary, Martin, Barbara
  • Published: 2020
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
  • Volume: 104
  • ISBN: 0026-7902

Abstract: Ideologies of language and of learning are local, underpinned and shaped by shared historical and current spiritual, cultural, social, and political understandings and experiences. We are keenly reminded of this in Henne–Ochoa et al.’s position paper. Contesting language ideologies that privilege language-as-code at the expense of social practices, the authors put forward alternative ideological frames to center Indigenous conceptions of language, learning, and language reclamation. They open our eyes wider to learning—and to learning in informal contexts. They draw our attention to ideologies dominant in formal schooling settings, and the colonizing practices they perpetuate, while acknowledging that schools have played, and will continue to play, a crucial role in Indigenous language revitalization (p. 487). In approaching this response, we learned of Leonard’s (2012) language reclamation frame- work: the larger effort by a community to claim its right to speak a language and the associated goals set in response to community needs and perspectives. In the larger effort of reclaiming language, identity, and power, schools may or may not be priority sites. With gratitude to the authors for sharing their thoughtful critique and practice from our positions as educators, in this short response we reflect on language ideologies and the challenges of decolonizing classrooms in Australia. We are Rosemary Narrurlu Plummer, a Warumungu educator and poet, Barbara Napanangka Martin, a member of the Warlpiri Education and Training Trust and retired Warlpiri educator, and Samantha Disbray, a non-Aboriginal education linguist. For more than a decade, we have worked individually and together in Central Australia on language teaching and learning in schools (Anderson et al., 2018; Disbray & Martin, 2018; O’Shannessy et al., 2019) and in informal con- texts (Disbray & Bauer, 2016; Disbray & Guenther, 2017; Disbray et al., 2019).

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Disbray, Samantha, Plummer, Rosemary, Martin, Barbara, 2020, Languages ideologies and practice From the land and the classroom, Volume:104, Journal Article, viewed 09 December 2023,

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