History of Language Reclamation in Victoria
There has been a growing interest and demand for Aboriginal languages to be introduced and taught in educational pathways in Victoria.
The implementation of such programs have been detected as a genuine way to increase awareness and understanding of Aboriginal culture as well as celebrating the rich history that coincides with it.
The current initiatives being rolled out in Victoria are also a part of a larger directive to integrate and revive languages that were on the precipice of being lost or forgotten. The most important factor in ensuring that Aboriginal language programs are effectively introduced with cultural integrity involves healthy collaboration between government and community.
Why it’s so good to be learning Aboriginal languages
According to Stephanie Tashkoff, Coordinator of the Dhawurd Wurrung Language Program at Heywood Districts and Secondary College, the Koorie Languages in Schools Program is 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 culture, as well as encouraging their language acquisition and assisting the development of the different neural 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 a strong connection to the community. 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’.