Language at home and the school: Resistance and compromise

LCJ 25 cover

Birut Zemits, Melanie Mullins & Therese Parry

LCJ: Special Issue:

Growing Our Own: Indigenous Education on Country, 25, pp. 72-77

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Zemits, B., Mullins, M., & Parry, T. (2019). Language at home and the school: Resistance and compromise. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts [Special Issue: Growing Our Own: Indigenous Education on Country], 25, 72-77. DOI:



When a bilingual or multilingual person lives in a country where the national language dominates, many adjustments need to be made from one context to another. This is especially true when people whose first language is not English, are required to participate in Australian schools using the English language. To better understand some of the dynamics that occur for an individual in this transition, the authors background the situation and then give a personal recount of their experiences of moving between one language context to another. The purpose of this article is to explore some of the complexities of moving between the language of home and community and the demands of standard Australian English in the Indigenous student’s school. It suggests that the resistance to fully adopting the colonising, dominant language of English, varies from one individual to another. Those that succeed in the dominant system have adopted a measure of compromise for their benefit and for the benefit of the community in which they live.


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