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Master-Apprentice training

Participate in Master-Apprentice TrainingMaster Apprentice

You can take part in Master-Apprentice training through the DRIL training program.

RNLD now offers a nationally accredited Certificate II in the Master-Apprentice Language Learning Program.


Master-Apprentice in Australia

ILA logoIn March 2012, RNLD auspiced two 3-day workshops to train thirty-six Indigenous trainers from thirty-one language groups across Australia in the Master-Apprentice Language Learning Program (MALLP) method. This project was a Strategic Initiative funded through the Indigenous Languages and Arts program.





  • to develop a pool of Indigenous regional trainers who will subsequently be able to deliver expert training in the Master-Apprentice method in communities, Indigenous organisations, and key Indigenous educational institutions across Australia,
  • to offer training in methods appropriate for use in locations which do not have a fluent language speaker population and thus which are not yet ready to develop Master-Apprentice teams; for example, 'language pods', which have been developed in the US by communities such as the Yurok of Northern California,
  • through this, to create local Master-Apprentice teams and language pods in numerous locations to help rebuild conversational fluency in Australia's Indigenous languages.



The Master-Apprentice method pairs one speaker of the language (the master) with one apprentice belonging to the same ancestral language group, and the pair is trained in one-on-one language immersion techniques. The trained team commits to spending at least ten hours per week together teaching and learning the language.

The method was developed in the USA, where it is managed by the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival (AICLS).US training team



The Master-Apprentice manual describes the method and activities in detail. 

How to Keep Your Language Alive: A Commonsense Approach to One-on-One Language Learning by Leanne Hinton with Matt Vera and Nancy Steele (2001) Berkeley: Heyday Books.

AICLS has developed a list of wordless books you can use in Master-Apprentice training.


Leanne Hinton Seminar

Prof. Leanne Hinton gave a public talk in Melbourne on Wednesday, 7 March, 2012 on Two Models of Language Revitalization from California.


Training partners

The two workshops were led by US training team Leanne Hinton, Nancy Steele and Stan Rodriguez, supported by Australian training partners the Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity, Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring Language and Culture Centre , Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education / Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Education (ACIKE), and the Koori Centre, University of Sydney .US & Australian team Kununurra

  AICLS logo   RNLD logo    MDWg logo  Koori centre logo   Batchelor Institute logo



13-15 March — Desert Peoples Centre, Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, Alice Springs

19-21 March — Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring Language and Culture Centre, Kununurra


Languages represented in the workshop (and AustLang codes)

Adnyamathanha (L10), Arrernte (C8), Awabakal (S66), Banyjima (A53), Bidjarra (E37), Boon wurrung (S35), Butchulla (E30), Dhanggatti (E6), Gamilaraay (D23), Gumbaynggirr (E7), Gungabula (E35), Kalaw Kawaw Ya (Y2), Kuuku Ya'u (Y22), Manyjilyjarra (A33), Miriwoong (K29), Ngiyampaa (D22), Noongar (W41), Nyangumarta (A61), Paakantyi (D12), Palawa Kani, Taribelang (E33), Tharawal (S59), Wajarri (A39), Warlmanpa (C17), Warumungu (C18), Wirangu (C1), Woiwurrung/Wurundjeri (S36), Wubuy/Nunggubuyu (N128), Yankunytjatjara (C4), Yinhawangka (A48)


ParticipantsMALLP Alice Springs

New South Wales

Jacqui Allen, Caroline Bradshaw, Murray Butcher, Alfred Fazldeen, Michael Jarrett, Donna McLaren, Brad Steadman

Northern Territory

Peter Abbot, Leonie Murrungun, Bunny Nabarula, Jangu Nundhirribala, Penny Philips, Cristobel Swan


Joy Bonner, Phil Brown, Benjamin Pascoe, Greg Pascoe, Sharon Phineasa, John Waterton

South Australia

Ema BovoroMALLP Kununurra, Gillian Bovoro, Karina Lester, Lucy Lester, Estelle Miller, Leonard Miller


Rossetta Thomas


Fay Stewart-Muir, Mandy Nicholson

Western Australia

Charmaine Bennell, Leonie Boddington, Glennis Galbat-Newry, Dwayne Newry, Denise Smith-Ali, Dennis Thomas, Julie Walker