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  6. Lessons learnt 2007 – 2008
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Lessons learnt 2007 – 2008

The three main topics are:

  • Find someone who is prepared to learn their language
  • Strong leadership in the school executive is a key
  • It takes time.

Find someone who is prepared to learn their language

Margaret Nicholls, a recently appointed local Aboriginal teacher at Brewarrina Central School, developed a passion for learning and reviving her language. This has proven to be a big commitment. Learning any language takes a long time. Learning a language that is being revived is challenging because it is hard to find opportunities for learning and people to learn from. Margaret is committed to this, though, because she wants the next generation of students she is teaching to have this opportunity. The benefits for the students and their engagement at school are already apparent. Teaching the language also helps Margaret to consolidate her own learning. All of the Aboriginal languages program team members support her and reinforce the use of the language in their classes and throughout the school.

Starting to learn my language has made me want to learn more and more. I complete my teaching degree at the end of 2007, and ultimately I’d like to be an Aboriginal Languages teacher. In our workshops with the Board of Studies this year, it has been very helpful for all of us to be learning Language together as a group and encouraging each other. Margaret Nicholls

Strong leadership in the school executive is a key

The school principal, Don Harvey, has been responsive to community and supportive of the development of the language program. He has found ways around obstacles when they arose, and believes in the importance of the program and its relevance to the students.

The school is committed to making the Language program successful. We have hardworking staff members, and a community member with extensive knowledge of language and culture. Through working with the Board of Studies and other schools, we hope to continue to promote and strengthen the language. Don Harvey, Principal.

It takes time

Brewarrina Central School has begun by teaching one hour of language per class per week in Stages 1–4. Margaret has been mentored by a community member with language knowledge. This has given her an opportunity to work on her language skills and build up her confidence. Another challenging task has been to gather all of the language content related to the themes and topics for each unit of work. And it will take some time yet to build up the resources for each of the units.

Now that the writing of the program is well under way, we have made a space in the school library where all the resources we are making for the language program will be kept. These resources are precious and we can’t afford to lose them. Making them will be an ongoing process. Rebecca Williams, Librarian.

Congratulations to the Brewarrina Central School Aboriginal Languages Team for their achievements 2007–2008. A highlight of the program for 2007 was students learning the song ‘Ngiyanu makuu’ and performing it at school assemblies. Hearing language again was very moving and enthused the whole school to keep developing the program. A highlight of the program for 2008 was an end of year performance by the Stage 4 students, which was all in language and included complex dialogue. It also demonstrated the students’ understanding of Brewarrina as a traditional meeting place for many Aboriginal groups in the region. Families in the audience were very impressed.

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Lessons learnt 2007 – 2008