School as a focus for language revival

School is an important environment for language revival because children spend much of their learning time there. Ancestral language brought home by students generates interest and enthusiasm for language transmission among relatives and friends.

The teaching of AL as a serious school subject also validates and strengthens the status of the language. The success of AL school programs depends on:

  • Quality of both materials and teachers
  • Number of hours of language teaching
  • A language positive school environment
  • Connectedness of school to community
  • Home support for AL learning

Goal:

  • To increase knowledge of Ancestral language among school age children via an effective and enjoyable school language course.
  • Show respect for ancestral language by teaching it as a serious school subject

challenges:

  • to design effective learning materials
  • to locate Indigenous ancestral language teachers (see AL Pathways).
  • to influence school to prioritise and value ancestral language teaching
  • Increase parents AL literacy so they are able to support students at home

Actions?

  • Locate AL teachers or recruit and train them
  • Develop AL teaching pathways
  • AL action team in school
  • Adult AL literacy classes

Goal: To work with speakers to develop resources for children (see also Development of AL literature)

One of the obvious obstacles to literacy in AL is the lack of literature. Local authors need to be supported to write texts that will be professionally edited and published for use in the school and community. Author’s copyright must be guaranteed and there must be adequate remuneration for work. It is expected that there will also be opportunities for authors to sell their books via a print on demand facility linked to the PLC website.

Goal: to develop IT resources

  • Talking books
  • IT resources
  • Animations
  • Assist students with IT projects to be presented in AL, based on culture or language classes.

Goal: To establish the long term viability of language teaching

There is an urgent need to recruit Indigenous youth to the teaching profession and to provide young teachers, and teacher aides, many of whom have limited ancestral language skills, with training in linguistics and language teaching pedagogy. So the key strategies here would be:

  • training of indigenous tutors to deliver and support AL lessons
  • recruitment of local indigenous youth to professional linguistics study and teacher training

Goal: To develop and expand use of AL in the school

  • immersion camps
  • school language policy

Goal: To develop, promote and expand use of Guugu Yimidhirr language in the school environment.

Immediate strategies:

  • language posters
  • certificates
  • use of AL in assemblies
  • notice boards
  • phrase of the week
  • signage
  • AL book readings, story tellings and other events involving older speakers from the community
  • staff language study
  • need to develop guidelines and policy for language use in school –eg correct usage, using whole sentences etc.

Longer term strategy:

  • recruitment and training of AL teachers and teacher aides who play a strong role in promoting AL language in the life of the school.

To strengthen connections between AL learning at school and in the community.

It is important that parents and the community are engaged with the language program at the school. Community involvement should be a key objective of the school program. The speech community should also provide quality control on the language program in the school.

  • promote school language activities on public notice boards
  • evening language classes for parents at the school, based on school lesson content
  • students taking work home to talk about and put up
  • Ancestral language at presentation days
  • school plays
  • community involvement in school immersion camps
  • community involvement in other events