Languaging Their Learning: How Children Work Their Languages for Classroom Learning

  • Susan Poetsch
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Minority Languages and Communities book series (PSMLC)


This study presents a linguistic analysis of an early years Maths lesson with children who speak an Australian Aboriginal language (Arrernte) as their first language. It describes how they use Arrernte, English and an Admixture of those codes for classroom learning. Despite their language background, schooling is delivered primarily through English, which places significant responsibility on these students for their own learning. Although the data provides evidence of successful learning in this lesson, it also demonstrates how the children’s first language is a necessary tool to achieve that and the potential for more targeted English language instruction when teaching mainstream curriculum content.


Arrernte Translanguaging English as an additional language/dialect Mixed languages Bilingual programmes Australia 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Poetsch
    • 1
  1. 1.Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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