Stu­dents en­gage res­i­dents with lo­cal lan­guage

Alpine Observer - - News -

By JUSTIN JEN­VEY

YEAR nine In­dige­nous Stud­ies stu­dents from Bright P12 Col­lege have re­cently fin­ished a se­mes­ter of vis­its to Hawthorn Vil­lage.

Since 2014, school nurse Rose­mary Bunge has reg­u­larly co­or­di­nated fort­nightly trips with stu­dents, to the aged care fa­cil­ity.

This year she in­vited In­dige­nous Stud­ies teacher Re­becca Craw­ley and her year nine class to join in the pro­gram and give Hawthorn Vil­lage res­i­dents an in­sight into Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture.

“At the start of se­mes­ter, I didn’t tell the stu­dents what they had to do other then what they were go­ing to be as­sessed on,” Ms Craw­ley said.

“It’s been a re­ally great ex­pe­ri­ence for the stu­dents to teach the res­i­dents the lo­cal Dhud­huroa lan­guage be­cause when you teach some­thing, you have to know it re­ally well.”

Ms Craw­ley said Dhud­huroa is known as a sleep­ing lan­guage be­cause at present no one speaks it.

It is one of thou­sands of in- dige­nous lan­guages across the coun­try and varies from Mur­rinh Patha which is spo­ken by young in­dige­nous peo­ple from Wad­eye, who come to Bright.

Over 10 weeks, stu­dents taught res­i­dents greet­ings and nu­mer­ous words and say­ings in Dhud­huroa as well as ex­plain­ing sto­ries dis­played on ob­jects such as pos­sum skin blan­kets.

They en­gaged in other ac­tiv­i­ties too, as well as per­form­ing in­dige­nous songs.

Last Thurs­day, dur­ing their fi­nal visit to Hawthorn Vil­lage, the stu­dents pre­sented a video of their time spent with the res­i­dents.

Hawthorn Vil­lage man­ager Vicki South­gate said it had been an in­sight­ful ex­pe­ri­ence for the el­derly and one they had thor­oughly en­joyed.

“I think it’s been great, over the past few months I’ve heard a lot of laugh­ter com­ing from down the hall and have seen res­i­dents that nor­mally sit and don’t do much, be­come en­gaged,” she said.

“This pro­gram be­tween Bright P12 Col­lege and Hawthorn Vil­lage is about putting a bit of spark back into the life of our res­i­dents and that’s ex­actly what it’s do­ing.

“I want to thank Bright P12 Col­lege, Rose­mary, Bec and (lan­guage as­sis­tant) Dal­las (Mu­garra) for com­ing down and con­tin­u­ing this pro­gram with us.”

On the weeks in which the In­dige­nous Stud­ies class hasn’t vis­ited Hawthorn Vil­lage, other year nine stu­dents have, and Ms Bunge said the pro­gram con­tin­ued to de­liver pos­i­tive out­comes.

“Stu­dents get to choose to come down and ev­ery year we’ve got some re­ally com­mit­ted kids that love be­ing a part of the pro­gram,” she said.

“We even have some stu­dents that aren’t in year nine, with dif­fer­ent needs that still come down.

“There’s an autis­tic boy who has grown so much to the point that he is go­ing to do his year 11 work ex­pe­ri­ence at Hawthorn Vil­lage.

“Just watch­ing the stu­dents no­tice when some of res­i­dents are feel­ing down and their abil­ity to em­pathise with them amazes me, that’s one of the main rea­sons why I started the whole thing.”

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