Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages Illustrations of practice

Keller Road Primary School

Keller Road Primary School is a small school set in beautiful grounds 17km north of Adelaide. The school caters for students from Foundation to Year 7 (F – 7) and is located on the traditional lands of the Kaurna Peoples. The current enrolment is 210 students, of whom approximately 8% are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and 35% of students have English as an additional language or dialect (EALD). It is a dynamic school community, blending a rich diversity of cultures.

In 2020, the school implemented a Kaurna Language program offering Kaurna as the language curriculum at the school, in association with the language custodians Kaurna Warra Karpanthi and Kaurna teachers. Students from Foundation to Year 7 receive one 50-minute lesson per week and have the opportunity to engage with Kaurna Language and culture.

At Keller Road, Aboriginal students play a unique role in the school and community. Supported by an Aboriginal Education Teacher, an Aboriginal Community and Education Officer, and an Aboriginal Program Assistance Scheme (APAS) tutor, the students play leadership roles in Welcoming to and Acknowledgement of Country at school events and Kaurna students travel to other schools and local events to perform this role in language. They also play a part in coordinating special cultural events such as Reconciliation Week and school performances. They regularly work with community leaders to learn and share culture, and this has proved a strong factor in retention and attendance. The acknowledgement of, and commitment to, Aboriginal students as land custodians are reflected in school murals, designed and painted by Aboriginal artists in collaboration with students.

This Illustration of Practice demonstrates how Keller Road Primary School implements Kaurna Language at the school, with all students learning and engaging with Kaurna Language and culture through Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal teachers. Culture is taught by a Kaurna person. The language of each unit of work is built around cultural and thematic concepts.

The album of videos is designed to be viewed in sequence. However, the titles reference the theme for each video to assist with viewing each on its own:

Video 1: Teaching and Learning Kaurna at Keller Rd PS

Video 2. Engaging with Kaurna Language and culture

Video 3: Positive outcomes of learning Kaurna

Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages- Language Revival Learner Pathway Years F-10 sequence

For the F-7 units of work illustrated:

F-2 Curriculum connections


Interact with each other, the teaching team and visiting Elders/community members, using language and gestures to greet and talk about self and family

[Key concepts: self, family and relationships; Key processes: interacting, sharing] ACLFWC130

Participate in guided group activities, such as games, songs and simple tasks, using movement and gestures to support understanding and to convey meaning

[Key concepts: cooperation, play; Key processes: turn-taking, matching, choosing, cooperating, following instructions] ACLFWC131


Give factual information using simple statements, gestures and captions

[Key concepts: Country/Place, community life; Key processes: labelling, describing, presenting, recounting] ACLFWC134


Create and present shared stories, songs and performances, using familiar words and patterns and support materials

[Key concepts: story, performance; Key processes: retelling, singing, re-enacting, dancing, drawing, performing; Key text types: songs, dances, stories, paintings and visual design, performances] ACLFWC136


Describe aspects of self, such as family, school/class and language/s spoken, considering how these contribute to their sense of identity

[Key concepts: identity, self, family, belonging; Key processes: describing, explaining, identifying] ACLFWC139

Systems of language

Learn the different sounds of the language and link these to written symbols and conventions

[Key concepts; pronunciation, intonation, writing; Key processes: imitating, noticing, distinguishing, reading aloud] ACLFWU141

Language variation and change

Recognise that different words and language forms are used to address and communicate with people according to relationship and context

[Key concepts: kinship, context; Key processes: noticing, recognising] ACLFWU145

Years 3-6 Curriculum connections


Interact with peers, the teaching team and visiting Elders/community members about aspects of personal worlds, such as experiences at school, home, everyday routines, interests and activities

[Key concepts: relationship, kinship, family, experience; Key Processes: describing, sharing, responding, recounting] ACLFWC152

Participate in guided tasks that involve following instructions, making things, cooperating with peers, planning for and conducting shared events, activities or school performances

[Key concepts: collaboration, planning, performance; Key processes: compiling, planning, rehearsing, making] ACLFWC153


Listen to, read and view different real and imaginative texts, identifying and making simple statements about key elements, characters and events, and interpreting cultural expressions and behaviours

[Key concepts: visual design, representation, journey; Key processes: participating, describing, predicting, recalling, responding, listening, shared/guided reading; Key text types: songs, dances, stories, paintings and visual design, video clips] ACLFWC157


Create bilingual texts for the classroom and the school community, such as songs, picture dictionaries, captions for images and displays, photo stories

[Key concepts: bilingualism, expression; Key processes: performing, describing, code-mixing, captioning] ACLFWC160


Explore their own sense of identity, including elements such as family, friends, interests, membership of groups, and consider markers of identity that may be important across all cultures

[Key concepts: identity (individual and group), kinship, community, membership; Key processes: creating, representing, discussing, comparing] ACLFWC161

Systems of language

Distinguish and produce the speech sounds of the language, understanding how these are represented in writing

[Key concepts: punctuation, upper and lower case letters, diacritics, intonation, spelling; Key processes: identifying, discriminating, noticing, listening, reading] ACLFWU163

Expand vocabulary in the language through word-formation processes and recognise and use simple language structures

[Key concepts: word formation, word class, grammatical person and number, negation, metalanguage; Key processes: noticing, comparing, applying, understanding, modifying meaning] ACLFWU164

Recognise how kin relationships link people, Place and story

[Key concepts: kinship system, ways of talking, human relationships, interrelatedness; Key processes: recognising, interpreting, discussing ACLFWU166

Year 7-10 Curriculum connections (for Year 7 units of work)


Engage with peers, the teaching team and visiting Elders/community members to exchange information about interests, experiences, plans and aspirations

[Key concepts: experience, aspiration; Key processes: recounting, exchanging, connecting] ACLFWC174

Engage in activities that involve collaboration, planning, organising, promoting and taking action

[Key concepts: event, experience; Key processes: planning, organising, negotiating] ACLFWC175


Interpret and respond to texts by sharing personal reactions, comparing themes, describing and explaining aspects of artistic expression and how these relate to land, sky, sea, water, people, plants, animals and social and ecological relationships

[Key concepts: representation, imagination; Key processes: interpreting, explaining, describing, discussing; Key text types: songs, dances, stories, paintings and visual design, video clips, films] ACLFWC179


Translate and interpret texts from the language to English and vice versa, comparing their versions and considering how to explain elements that involve cultural knowledge or understanding

[Key concepts: equivalence, representation, meaning, interpretation, idiom; Key processes: comparing, explaining, interpreting] ACLFWC181


Consider and discuss their own and each other’s ways of communicating and expressing identity, reflecting on how the language links the local, regional and national identity of its speakers with the land

[Key concepts: identity, perspective, biography; Key processes: sharing, comparing, considering, reflecting, analysing] ACLFWC183

Systems of language

Understand and explain the sound patterns in spoken language and use developing phonemic awareness to represent these patterns in written form

[Key concepts: metalanguage, patterns, phonetic articulation, syllable; Key processes: reading, investigating, comparing] ACLFWU185

Expand vocabulary and understand and use a range of vocabulary sets and grammatical structures that are available in the language

[Key concepts: system, grammatical case, transitivity; Key processes: explaining, discussing] ACLFWU186

Investigate how the kinship system functions to integrate personal and community histories and relationships

[Key concepts: interconnectedness, human relationships, ownership, rights and responsibilities; Key processes: describing, explaining, investigating, exploring] ACLFWU188

Role of language and culture

Reflect on how ways of using language are shaped by communities’ ways of thinking, behaving and viewing the world, and the role of language in passing on knowledge

[Key concepts: Indigenous knowledge, value transmission; Key processes: reflecting, exploring, analysing, comparing]

Cross Curriculum priorities

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures

The Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages provides a direct way of learning about and engaging with diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures are an integral part of learning Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages as there is an inseparable connection between the languages and land, sea, sky and waterways. Through learning a framework language, all students gain access to knowledge and understanding of Australia that can only come from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander perspective.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, learning their own language can have a significant influence on their overall learning and achievements. It can foster a strong sense of identity, pride and self-esteem and enables students to develop a wider recognition and understanding of their culture, Country/Place and People. This then contributes to their wellbeing.


Organising ideas 



Australia has two distinct Indigenous groups: Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and within those groups there is significant diversity. 


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities maintain a special connection to and responsibility for Country/Place. 


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have holistic belief systems and are spiritually and intellectually connected to the land, sea, sky and waterways. 



Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies have many Language Groups. 


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ ways of life are uniquely expressed through ways of being, knowing, thinking and doing. 


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples live in Australia as first peoples of Country or Place and demonstrate resilience in responding to historic and contemporary impacts of colonisation.  



The broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies encompass a diversity of nations across Australia. 


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' family and kinship structures are strong and sophisticated. 


The significant contributions of Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the present and past are acknowledged locally, nationally and globally. 

AIATSIS- Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies:

Australian Curriculum Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages:

Kaurna Language Hub:

Kaurna for kids:

Kaurna Warra Pintyanthi:

Kaurna Warra Karrpanthi Aboriginal Corporation (KWK):

Kaurna Language Courses:

Tauondi Aboriginal Community College, Port Adelaide. Certificate III in Learning an Indigenous Language:

Kaurna Linguistics Courses at The University of Adelaide, LING 2039 'Reclaiming Languages: a Kaurna Case Study:

Kulurdu Marni Ngathaitya! Sounds Good to Me! A Kaurna Learner’s Guide, Rob Amery and Jane Simpson, with illustrations by Anne Best, Wakefield Press, Adelaide, South Australia, October 2013

Reflecting on this Illustration of Practice: 

  1.  What are the reasons for Keller Rd School implementing Kaurna as the language curriculum?
  2. How and why did the school identify and engage with a range of stakeholders in the development of their language program? 
  3. What are the protocols and steps one should follow to become a Kaurna language teacher?
  4. What are the benefits of the Kaurna language program for the students (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal), in this school and community?
  5. How is the school using and adapting the AC: Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages Framework in their planning and implementation?
  6. How does the school deliver an authentic Kaurna language and cultural experience?
  7. How does the school cater for all learners?

In your school context: 

  1. How could you implement an Aboriginal Languages or Torres Strait Islander Languages program?
  2. Which Curriculum pathway (LR, L1, L2) would be the most appropriate for your school and community context and why?
  3. What requirements would your school and the community need to discuss? How would the consultation and engagement processes establish the foundation for the language program?
  4. Identify how an Aboriginal Language or Torres Strait Islander Language program would benefit your students, school and community.
  5. Identify a process to review the initial program goals and measure growth and success.


Acknowledgements and Disclaimers

ACARA acknowledges that the filming for this Illustration of Practice took place on the traditional land, sea, sky and waterways of the Kaurna Peoples of the Adelaide Plains.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the videos in this Illustration of Practice may contain images and voices of deceased persons.

ACARA would like to thank:

  • The Kaurna Community and Elders
  • Kaurna teachers and leaders
  • Kaurna Warra Karrpanthi Aboriginal Corporation (KWK)
  • Keller Road Primary School
  • The Commonwealth Government for funding this Illustration of Practice through the Endeavour Language Teachers Fellowship

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