Thursday, 25 February 2016 13:24

Dhumba-djerring Language Networking Event

Last week VACL hosted a language networking event Dhumba-djerring (talk together, from the Boonwurrung language) in Fitzroy. Language workers from across Victoria gathered over two days to participate in workshops and discussions and to share their experiences of awakening language in their communities and schools. It was positive to see young people and some new faces at this event as more and more people gain confidence and interest in our languages. Among the presentations were Brendan Kennedy's lesson on morphology, Aunty Doris Paton speaking about policies and strategies which have shaped the teaching of language in schools, Harley-Dunolly-Lee sharing his experiences of working with the Dja Dja Wurrung on sounds and spellings, Kris Eira on the issues and considerations when creating community dictionaries and Jenny Gibson who introduced the group to VACL's presence on Victorian Collections online. On the Thursday evening Paul Paton, Mandy Nicholson and Joel Wright took part in a panel discussion with Gregory Phillips to a packed audience at the Wheeler Centre. 

Scroll down to see a video and images from Dhumba-djerring

For information on upcoming VACL presentations Reawakenings: the revival of Victorian Aboriginal languages click here

Published in Blog
Thursday, 04 February 2016 13:39

Gunditjmara

Gunditjmara Digital Resources

Students at Heywood & District Secondary College, Warrnambool Primary School, Merrivale Primary School and Warrnambool East Primary School have all contributed to a suite of six Aboriginal language apps featuring local Gunditjmara languages. Launched on the 26th October 2015, the six interactive digital storybook apps feature five traditional Gunditjmara Creation Stories and one original story about friendship and reconciliation, written by students at Warrnambool Primary School. With the support of key Gunditjmara Elders, Laka Gunditj Language Worker Joel Wright, Koorie Engagement Support Officers, principals, teachers and local artists, students have beautifully illustrated six stories and recorded narratives in four languages; Peek wurrung, Dhauwurd wurrung, Keerray woorroong and English.

Available on the App Store

Click the icon above to download the apps.

The Apps are available now for download at the App Store, for use on iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch.

 Teacher Resources

Laka Gunditj Language Worker Joel Wright has developed a series of teacher resources to accompany each app which explore the story in more detail and offer suggestions of classroom activities and topics for further discussion. Please take note of the cultural protocols for undertaking this work at your school. If you have any questions, please contact Joel Wright at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or call the VACL office on 9600 3811.

Click on the app icons to download a pdf of related teacher resources.

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Published in Projects
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 12:03

Students bring Gunditjmara QBooks to life!

VACL staff were blown away this week by students at Warrnambool Primary School, who did a fantastic job of recording narration for the QBooks project. The QBooks feature stories illustrated and narrated by the students themselves in both English and Peek Wurrung and are designed to foster the students appreciation for, and understanding of, traditional Gunditjmara languages in their area.

Students Airlie O’Brian and Simon Young were chosen to narrate the two stories which will feature in the Gunditjmara QBooks series. Both the students showed an amazing ability to pick up and speak the Peek Wurrung language, reflecting their dedication and enthusiasm for this exciting project.

With little prior exposure to Peek Wurrung, the students received pronunciation coaching from VACL’s own Joel Wright in the weeks leading up to the recording. On the day of the performance both students were very impressive; mastering the pronunciation and showing their pride for the project.

Airlie narrated The Lone Little Seagull by the Hopkins River. This story was written and illustrated by Grade 4 students of Warrnambool Primary School and focuses on reconciling differences and forming friendships.

Simon narrated How the Gundijmara got Fire, a Gunditmara Creation Story illustrated by the primary school students.

VACL is very excited to be working with Warrnambool Primary School on this project which will be available to download from the Apple App store early next year.

For more information on the up and coming QBooks click here

For more information about the Schools Digital Resource Project click here.

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Sharing some snaps from VACL's trip to Warrnambool & Heywood this week.

VACL is working with Warrnambool Primary School and Heywood & District Secondary College to create some exciting new digital story books.  Last week VACL members Paul Paton, Joel Wright and Emma Hutchinson, together with Victoria University student Ben Townsend, headed up to Warrnambool to speak with the staff and students of Warrnambool Primary School and Heyward District Secondary College.

The books will feature Gunditjmara Creation stories, illustrated and narrated by the students themselves. VACL is very excited to be collaborating with the schools and community to help see their creation stories come to life!

For more information about the Gunditjmara Qbooks Project click here.

For more information about the Schools Digital Resource Project click here.

 

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Vicki Couzen’s, VACL Board Member, lauched her first solo exhibition ‘Marooka – to take care of'’ at Maroondah Art Gallery in July. The exhibition showcased artwork, language, song, dance and ceremony “taking the audience on a journey into Gunditjmara Country” – (quoted from the Maroondah art gallery program).

As part of the exhibition Vicki Couzens and Dr Kris Eira held a free public lecture on the 12th of July during NAIDOC week, where they told their stories and connections to each other, as language workers and artists.

VACL Project Officer Mandy Nicholson performed with the Djirri Djirri dance group, and held language workshops for primary school students as part of the exhibition. To see a video clip of the students from the Village School Croydon learning to count to five in Wurundjeri with Mandy click here.

Below are a selection of photos from the exhibition.

 

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 14:43

Reconciliation Week at Glenelg Shire

On Friday May 30, the Glenelg Shire held its annual Reconciliation Week event. A small group of Year 8 Aboriginal Language and Culture students from Heywood & District Secondary College attended, accompanied by Ms Tashkoff. The event took place at the Portland Civic Hall, in front of the Mayor, Councilor John Northcott, Shire councilors and around 200 invited guests. 

The gathering was opened in style by the Winda-Mara dancers, including HDSC's own Jamaine Jones, Braydon Saunders and Taram Frankland. Braydon Saunders and Steph Tashkoff gave the acknowledgement of country in the local Dhauwurd Wurrung language. A representative of each local secondary college was given the opportunity to speak and HDSC's Leyla Quartermaine gave her point of view on what reconciliation actually means and how she feels encouraged to aim high and participate at school. Leyla then pointed out what stills needs to be done in the reconciliation journey. During the lunch break, a video was shown which had been produced by local Koorie youth during film workshops run by the VCA during the last holidays. This humorous short film featured Braydon Saunders and Kiah Morgan (Year 8) and former student Sean (Macca) Bell. 

Guest speaker Deborah Cheetham shared her own journey about learning to be strong and confident in her culture. She referred positively to both Leyla's speech and to the Aboriginal Language and Culture program at HDSC. Deborah spoke of how important it is to Aboriginal and Islander young people to have their culture acknowledged and respected within their school environment and she affirmed HDSC for the work they are doing in this regard. 

For more information about the Gunditjmara Languages Program at Heywood & District Secondary College and to see more photos click here.

Thanks to Steph Tashkoff for this story and image

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 14:21

Heywood Students Run Language Workshops

During Reconciliation Week 2014, Year 7 students from Heywood & District Secondary College ran Aboriginal Language workshops with 170 Grade 5 & 6 students form all around the district. This was part of the Aboriginal Language & Culture component of the Year 7 integrated program 'Literacy, Literature and Life'. The primary students were split into two large groups, with one group participating in traditional games, led by Jason Saunders of Winda-Mara, and the other engaging in Gunditjmara Languages workshops. After that, the two groups swapped. The Year 7's worked in groups of 3 to prepare a language activity. Each group of Year 7's taught 5 words to each group of around 10 primary students, with a rotation every 5 minutes. By the end of the two sessions each group had presented their workshop 16 times! It was a very busy and productive day with lots of positive comments about students and their activities from primary students and teachers alike. 

Workshop topics included: Greetings; Locations; Colours; Family; People; The Body; Actions and Animals. 

For more information about the Gunditjmara Languages Program at Heywood & District Secondary College and to see more photos click here.

Thank you to Steph Tashkoff for this story and image

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 29 July 2014 14:35

Heywood & District Secondary College

Gunditjmara Languages Program at Heywood & District Secondary College, Yr 7 & 8

languageworkshops6At Heywood and District Secondary College in the state's south-west, the Gunditjmara Languages Program is in its third year and going really well. Year 8 students are offered two lessons per week in 2014, and Year 7 students one lesson per week. Language and local Gunditjmara history is further incorporated into the Year 7 Integrated Studies program to cover the gap in classes and enrich students' Koorie cultural learnings. 

"We started in the first lesson talking about kanang wanga - deep listening - and the concept is that you listen 110%, with your ears, your heart and your spirit." Stephanie Tashkoff, Program Coordinator

During Reconciliation Week 2014, Year 7 language students studying a Local Aboriginal History unit during Term 1 ran language workshops and Year 8 students went out on Country to the IPA in Tyrendarra to have a look at eel traps and farming irrigation systems. The unit they were focusing on was all about eels and the deep cultural and economic significance of eels for Victorian Koories. 

During Term 3 & 4 students will learn all about human and animal parts of the body, traditional Victorian Koorie body-counting systems, and the significance of land and the environment. In Term 3, Year 8 students commence studying a unit on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. They will also be developing a small possum skin cloak as they discuss the significance of the designs and patterns which were traditionally etched into the cloaks, and compare those with contemporary cloak design. The Year 8's Term 3 unit leads into Term 4 where story-telling is combined with art to enable picture story books to be designed, written and translated into Language by the students themselves.

"For the school community overall, there is a sense of pride in being a school that offers a Koorie Language, and being a school that is developing a sense of This is who we are!" - Steph Tashkoff, Program Coordinator

languageworkshops5Towards the end of 2013, students studied Gunditjmara traditional stories and focused on local themes, geographical features and places of significance. Students then wrote a story in English and worked on translating it into Language to produce a series of picture story books. As a result, the school now has a library of just under 40 picture story books which are all in the Gunditjmara Languages, and are looking at how they can transform some of these into animations to use as a wider resource, and work more closely with local primary schools around Gunditjmara Languages and culture. 

"The Gunditjmara Languages Program has been extremely beneficial for all students undertaking the course - making connections between the history and culture of where they live, developing understanding and appreciation for local language and cutlure, as well as encouraging their language acquisition and assisting the developmetn of the different neutral pathways that are engaged in language learning. 

For Koorie students in particular, further benefits are around developing an enhanced sense of pride and awareness of local language and culture, particularly for students who don't have strong connection to the community." - Steph Tashkoff, Program Coordinator

Images: Year 7 students from Heywood & District Secondary College running Aboriginal Language workshops with Grade 5 & 6 students from all around the district during Reconciliation Week, 2014 (images courtesy of Steph Tashkoff)

For more stories about Heywood students click these links below

Reconcilation Week Language Workshops

Glenelg Shire's Reconciliation Week Event

 

http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Pages/correspondence/bulletins/2015/April/aprlead.aspx

 Thanks to Steph Tashkoff for this story and images

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