Community, Languages, Schools|

The Bright P-12 College Dhudhuroa and Murinpatha Languages Program was directed by Rebecca Crawley and more recently Susan Joyce, focussing on Years 9-12 with students from Wadeye who board at Bright, and visiting Wadeye community members who assist with the language teaching component. 

The program is unique. Through it two languages are taught – Dhudhuroa, the local Victorian Aboriginal language through the support of Traditional Owner Garry Murray, and Murinpatha, a non-Victorian Aboriginal language, taught through a partnership with the Aboriginal community in Wadeye, Northern Territory, thereby assisting boarding-students from that community in maintaining their home language. Remarkably, a number of senior students from Bright P-12 are studying Dhudhuroa at VCE (Senior secondary level) – the only ones in the state.

Additionally, Wadeye students teach Murinpatha to the Bright students so they can communicate more effectively with community members during their Year 9 and Year 11 visits to Wadeye in the NT.

According to Rebecca Crawley, the students love the language program. One Murinpatha student boarding from Wadeye has said it makes more sense to him that any other learning area at the school, while other boarders have expressed that they “Can’t believe they’re getting to do this at school”. Non-Koorie students have expressed that they feel they’re connecting to the place they live in, through being involved in this language program.

“The program teaches more than language. It teaches empathy and teaches students to think about other people’s cultures and perspectives. Students learn so much that’s important to their life on this country at an important part of their life,” Rebecca adds.

In 2018, Year 9 students are involved in a project which sees them visiting a local Seniors Home fortnightly and teaching them about Dhudhuroa language and what they have learnt culturally. The residents who have mostly grown up in the area are according to Rebecca ‘soaking it up’! Many have had little or no exposure to Koorie People and cultural information and are greatly impressed and supportive. Students are making a video as part of their project.

Rebecca feels that the school is very supportive of the Language Program, as is Traditional Owner Garry Murray and the Wadeye Elders involved in their Indigenous Leadership Program.

To see some of the classes in action and hear about this unique VCE program, click here.

A highlight of the year is the annual Marngrook football game held in Bright, where students are divided into language representative teams, and coached in appropriate language so that any listener can hear both Dhudhuroa and Murinpatha chants shouted across the oval during the game.

To watch some of the Marngrook game in Bright, click on here.

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