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    Community-driven, technology-assisted support for Erub Mer language and early literacy in the Torres Strait: Practice and policy

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    The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states that ‘Indigenous people have the right to revitalise, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures.’ It is also well documented that language and identity are intrinsically linked, and that communities implementing bilingual education programs have reported improvements in wellbeing factors as well as in engagement and learning (Calma & Fillmore, 2020). This paper will focus upon the efforts of the Erub community (Darnley Island, Torres Strait) to foster language and literacy teaching and learning in the Erub Mer Language. This case study of community-driven development and implementation of First Language resources and teaching with learners of all ages includes a key focus on supporting the intergenerational transmission of Erub Mer for the benefit of children’s development. It will examine how the development of a digital Language resource, a mobile early literacy game, a draft grammar guide and teaching practices have encouraged engagement with Erub Mer throughout the whole community (within preschool, school, home and community contexts) to the benefit of children. The paper will update previously published work (Fillmore et al., 2019); reflect on resource development and implementation since that time; examine the enabling factors that have assisted the community; any barriers/obstacles; and the direct and indirect outcomes for children and their families; and place this work with the framework of the recent Queensland Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property Protocol for the teaching of Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages (2022). This case study presents an exemplar of the many circumstances where English is not children’s home language, and how formative assessments can shine a light on early language and literacy growth in the early years for such children, in preparation for schooling in English
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