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Vincentia High School - Dharawal/Dhurga Stage 4

www.vincentia-h.schools.nsw.edu.au

Introducing the Aboriginal Language Team

  • Gary Worthy, HSIE Head Teacher and Coordinator Dharawal/Dhurga Language Program
  • Helen Pussell, AEA
  • Jutta Besold, Linguist
  • Karen Lane, Languages Teacher
  • Wendy Brown, Community Liaison Officer, Wreck Bay Community
  • Mitch Martin, Community Language Teacher

Background

Gary Worthy, other staff of Vincentia High School and local community members have carried out extensive research into Aboriginal language programs, particularly those of a reclamation nature, since 2001. This has included working on the Aboriginal Language support workshops since 2004. The school experienced the usual range of problems in obtaining funding, finding confident Community Language Tutors and timetabling for Stage 4–5 programs. Gary Worthy also developed a plan to establish a regional network of language programs throughout the local region, which continues to be researched. In 2005 an Indonesian language teacher, Karen Lane, was also brought into the team and this had an immediate impact making the possibility of a course commencing much stronger. In 2006 Mitch Martin came on board as the Community Language Teacher, which meant teaching could begin and the program finally came to fruition. Vincentia High School highlights how important it is to carry out research and progress actions at a pace that allows the community and school to keep up with each other.

Vincentia High School has made a significant contribution to Aboriginal languages already in its local region and further afield. This will no doubt continue into the future.

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