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  5. Lessons learnt 2007 – 2008
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Lessons learnt 2007 – 2008

The three main topics are:

  • Program content
  • Team teaching
  • Community involvement.

Program content

A strength of the program has been the way each of the units of work is built around four local stories. These stories drive the content of the program and give it a strong cultural base. This means that the students are not just learning lists of words but rather vocabulary and structures that are relevant to local knowledge and themes. All of the language learnt comes from story, place and culture. This gives integrity and authenticity to the program.

The students really get a lot out of the cultural activities associated with the language program. They love getting involved in those. Greg McKellar, Aboriginal Language advisor
I have visited the classes from time to time and I am amazed that the students are able to write impressive sentences and texts, not just single words. David Lloyd, Principal

Team teaching and principal support

The working relationship between Berdine Warne and Clancy McKellar has been a key to the success of the Wangkumarra program. As a teacher in the school, Berdine has been able to coordinate the materials needed for each lesson in the program and manage the classes. This is a great support for Clancy who has the language and culture expertise, the community contacts, the knowledge of the Aboriginal families and students. Their approach to team teaching is one of mutual respect for each other’s skills. The principal of the school, David Lloyd, has been strongly committed to ensuring the program is successful. He has provided support in terms of arranging staffing and timetabling to facilitate the program and has promoted the program and its benefits to the whole school community.

I really appreciate being able to learn about the languages, cultures, stories and Aboriginal knowledge of this area by being involved in the language program. Bourke is my home and through this program I learn about the place I live. Berdine Warne, Teacher

Community involvement

This program has put a priority on ensuring that the Bourke community is fully informed about, and involved in, the program. Every week the students take home a review sheet so that family members can also be connected to the program. Also, each year the students and teachers work together to organise two family and community events: the language and culture day and the language program open day. Everyone in the community is invited and welcome. The events are very popular, a positive promotion of the program and an opportunity for everyone of all ages to participate in a range of language and culture activities together.

The students make language activities for all their families to try. The Rain Song and dancing are always favourites the students seem to like. A game of rounders is always popular with everyone too. Clancy McKellar, Aboriginal Community Language Teacher

Congratulations to the Aboriginal languages program team for Bourke High School. A highlight of the program in both 2007 and 2008 was the family and community language and culture day. The day included song, a school performance of the Ngamadja story, a language quiz, cooking emu and making boomerangs. Students showcased their class work, including booklets, stories, grammar sheets and dictionaries. There was a great deal of community interest and participation in the day. Plans are underway for a Stage 5 course for 2009.

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Lessons learnt 2007 – 2008