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Lessons learnt in 2004

Transcript of audio for Rhonda Ashby

'Coming back to language. Language is the truest form of identity, I’ll just read off this paper... of any person’s culture and identity; so important to people in today’s society. Our languages are the backbone of Australian languages, to confirm peoples’ place, their culture and their nation.

To have a more friendly society that have better relationships and understanding, it is important that our languages are learnt by everybody, so that there is a greater appreciation of who we really are and what holds us together.

Languages are the soul of Aboriginal culture, it’s the cornerstone …. that links other cultural aspects of life – art, dance, music, stories, ways of life, and to complete culture. Like so many other things in Australia that have disappeared or are in danger of being extinct, Aboriginal languages suffered in the same context.

It needs broad support to ensure its survival. We appreciate the support of ATSIC, AIATSIS, DAA and the local school, but the Department of Education and community life has to broaden its input to ensure our language survives.'

Rhonda Ashby, Yuwaalaraay Language Program,
Lightning Ridge Central School, 9/8/04

The language program actively promotes the involvement of the community in the school.

'Support and encourage community involvement.'

Rhonda Ashby, Yuwaalaraay Language Teacher, Lightning Ridge Central School, written response to interview questions

'Working together to build the strengths and benefits to revitalise our local Aboriginal language.'

Rhonda Ashby, Yuwaalaraay Language Teacher, Lightning Ridge Central School, written response to interview questions

The resources developed by John Giacon were extremely useful to the team as they created their own classroom resources and teaching materials. The Principals of Lightning Ridge Central School and St Joseph’s School Walgett were extremely supportive, as were the other teachers in the school.

'Networking together helps a better process for all: students' participation, classroom and resources.'

Rhonda Ashby, Yuwaalaraay Language Teacher, Lightning Ridge Central School, written response to interview questions

A number of challenges were identified, including:

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'… lack of teaching skills and qualifications for Aboriginal community language teachers; lack of supporting agencies networking within the program; lack of Aboriginal language programs structuring, eg job descriptions, programming, Department of Education commitments and responsibilities to support Aboriginal language programs; lack of broader awareness within schools and communities; lack of multimedia skills.'

Rhonda Ashby, Yuwaalaraay Language Teacher, Lightning Ridge Central School, written response to interview questions

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