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Aboriginal Languages

John Brown, Community Language Teacher and Karen Flick, Community Language Teacher St. Joseph's Walgett.
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'People in all communities need to know something about their language and should be able to teach that within their schooling system.' John Brown, Community Language Teacher, St Joseph’s Walgett 17/11/05 'I think every Aboriginal person has got the ability to learn language. You’ve got it and soon as you as you just touch on a few words, “oh yeah but Nan used to say that before” and then you just keep going with it and just try to build your vocab up. Everyone’s got it within and it’s not that hard to rattle it out and just say it. It’s not. And it’s only three years since I’ve had the job and now I’m doing Year 6 classes. Like three weeks with training and plus I had to do my own personal training and three weeks and I’m doing classes.' Karen Flick, Community Language Teacher St Joseph’s Walgett 18/11/05
As the implementation of the NSW Aboriginal Languages K–10 Syllabus is in its infancy, everyone involved in setting up Aboriginal language programs is learning a great deal along the way. One early lesson is that language revival is a long-term process that requires commitment, vision and hard work. There are no easy answers; there is no template to follow. Each Aboriginal language in NSW is at a different stage of revival, each Aboriginal community has a different approach and opinions, and each school language program is at a different level of development. Each situation is, therefore, individual and sensitive. One of the important lessons that’s been learnt over the years, however, is that if experiences, resources and successful teaching techniques are shared, then Aboriginal language courses can continually improve to benefit everyone, but particularly our Aboriginal students.

The aim of this website is to present practical advice as well as the successes and lessons from different language programs held around NSW since 2004. It will be updated every year to include more examples of units of work, practical advice and the experiences of schools and communities. Hopefully, these examples will be useful to those schools and community groups already running programs and inspire others to become active and involved in a language program in their region.

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