Our Languages Matter – Kulinin?
Free Public Lecture
Old Arts building
T: (03) 8344 3311
The 2017 NAIDOC week theme ‘Our Languages Matter’ provides opportunity for reflection on the place of Aboriginal languages in Australian society and in education. The concept of Red Dirt Thinking provides an innovative framework to developing education approaches that are culturally and contextually responsive to local community needs within a global education context. Sam Osborne and Karina Lester work with Anangu (Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara) communities in the tristate region of Central Australia. Current remote education policies are focused on resourcing school attendance strategies, English language instruction and metropolitan boarding school programs. These policies are disconnected from the cultural values of the community, ignoring the strength and importance of local languages, kin structures and cultural codes. This lecture argues for building the capacity for “Red Dirt” approaches to teaching, in both remote locations and metropolitan boarding programs where children attend from ‘other’ cultural, geographic and linguistic contexts. This requires effective teacher preparation and ongoing professional engagement opportunities, to enable educators to appropriately support young people in taking up Red Dirt Aspirations rather than conforming to externally imagined narratives of who young people must become. Finally, we propose a Pitjantjatjara language frame of ethical listening (kulini) as a tool for use in dual language and educational contexts.