Language learning, identity formation and nation-building: a student's perspective

Chris Orchard, Judi Morison

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Students studying Indigenous Australian languages at Australian universities come from diverse backgrounds and have a range of motivations underpinning their study choices. This paper will present an autoethnographic account of the authors’ experiences in learning Indigenous Australian Languages in tertiary settings. The authors present two unique views from the student perspective. As language learners in tertiary settings, we explore our own individual language learning journeys as they relate to personal identity formation and to notions of nation-building. These include the similarities and differences highlighted through our individual circumstances. We explore questions of tertiary institutions’ role in society in the centring of Indigenous voices and examine our own responses to questions of curriculum/pedagogy and accessibility (including online and hybrid learning) from the learner-perspective. We further reflect on the importance of designing learning and language programs that have a good cultural match. Each of these elements is presented with the aim of providing open and safe spaces within the Tertiary Education sector for further discussion when considering emerging and future directions for research into the teaching of Indigenous Australian languages and culture.


ConferenceLanguages and Cultures Network for Australian Universities Seventh Biennial Colloquium 2022
Abbreviated titleLooking back, moving forward: New directions and challenges in languages and cultures
OtherThe Languages and Cultures Network for Australian Universities (LCNAU) was established in 2011 and its first national colloquium was held in Melbourne in that year. 2022 takes us full circle as the colloquium returns to its inaugural hosting city.

This year’s event provides us, as academics, scholars and educators, with a timely opportunity to reflect critically on the many changes, challenges and innovations that have occurred during that time, and how they have shaped what we do and who we are. It also provides us with an exciting opportunity to share experiences and to explore where we are heading next and what we can achieve - not just with respect to research and teaching, but also in terms of our contribution to the humanities and social sciences more broadly.

We look forward to welcoming colleagues back to Melbourne and having the opportunity to reconnect face to face.
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