November 07, 2005

tough times at Hodgson Downs

Earlier this year I was writing quite a few posts about how great it was working at Hodgson Downs. Well, recently my experiences there haven't been that great at all.

It's a long story, and to be honest i don't quite know where it starts or ends. But it does feature the following:

- some teachers putting the language program under the microscope after a year of barely taking an interest
- the same teachers cutting the program in half and showing very little support of language and culture
- the same teachers not acknowledging the commitment and effort that me, community members and the two teachers involved in the program put in... without any specific funding from the school or ed. dept.
- the cutting down of the program at the very same time it was starting to grow... we'd just started working on teaching the high school kids traditional songs, which is really quite special

my job is already hard enough and working for these endangered languages is already a very steep uphill battle. to have these extra obstacles placed in front of us was very difficult and upsetting.

last week, i didn't go to Hodgson Downs because I needed a break from it.

Now I feel a bit better and this week I'll go back and start re-assessing where we're at and what to do from here.

All this isn't a disaster. If it means that I now work purely with the community and not with the school at all, then we'll be able to do some great stuff. It's just an absolute shame (and also a bit of an outrage) that the school will have no language and culture content in it's curriculum.


Sophie said...

Can you publicise this issue with anyone higher up than Neil? Maybe try talking to Melanie Wilkinson or Rebecca Green and see if they have any good ideas for placating the wild dragon of ignorance of some school teachers. It has been great to see that Alawa langauge program grow, and I sure the community is proud of the work that they and you ( and sometimes me) have been doing. It is worthwhile wamut, keep going!!!

Bulanjdjan said...

Sophie makes a good suggestion. Rebecca and Melanie are bastions of wisdom, both linguistic and ed-dept-diplomatic. Also, what about mentioning Stirling's ministerial statement in support of languages in schools?

And your 'downness' with Hodgson Downs seems limited to whitefella business. While it doesn't mean it's easy to take, at least you know that the Alawa community is not the target of your frustrations. Have you found some support there in coping with the upheavals?

I don't envy your situation, it's one of the most frustrating parts of the job. Chin up and on with the linguistic evangelising!

Wamut said...

hmmm... it's a tricky one. I've already been talking to Ed Dept (Trish Joy), but what makes it tricky is that they didn't kick language out of the school altogether, merely 'clamped down' on it, and the community was consulted about it too. There's other's issues too that gives the whole thing a few grey areas.

I'll find out this week what the community mob want to do. It might be the case that they're just as happy to do work outside of school and so the scrapping of the program wont be such a major loss.

But regardless, I still think it's a shame and outrageous that the school is not supporting culture and language.

Sophie said...

Gudboi wan kwesjon bla yu, wanim min det lidelwan wed 'gin' laik det eksklameishon, Laik main baba, yu unggal (JBJ) oldei tok.

Wamut said...

wanim? laik wen im tok 'giiiiiin' laik imin jas dalimbat jouk? olgamen B, yu ngayarli, oldei lakijat du. tharran lilwan wed na yu min?

ai nomo sabi rili. maitbi imin jas shoim yu im only joking, maiti im nomo garrim mining rili.

wanim yu rekin? (yu gin trai askim det neck beard. im laigim diskain kwesjin.)