In term 3 we began the Sharing Languages Project at Yirara College.
Students from every community have been invited to share their languages with their teachers. Teachers are learning from the students and many classes have been full of laughter. For some teachers it is the first time they have had an opportunity to learn some words in the languages of the students.
Sharing Language classes so far have included Arrarnta, Anmatjerr, Garrwa, Jawoyn, Kriol, Luritja, Mudburra, Ngarinman, Pitjantjatjara, Yankuntjatjara, Warlpiri, Wardaman, Warumungu and Yanyuwa.
Some of the students have been sharing their languages using the wonderful picture dictionaries created by IAD Press (Institute for Aboriginal Development) based in Alice Springs. Others have been sharing and watching documentaries in their community languages and available on ICTV (Indigenous Community TV). In other classes they have been making family and community maps in first languages.
Yirara staff are in awe of the great diversity of languages and language histories our students bring and represent. The Sharing Language classes are helping all our staff and students to take pride in this diversity.
Many students are sharing words from languages that are thought to hardly even exist anymore. Yirara College is amazingly privileged and positioned to support and encourage our young students to celebrate and hold on to their first languages, the oldest living languages in the world!
Pastor Basil Schild is the Chaplain at Yirara College.