Two Kimberley schools will be among those to benefit as seven newly trained Aboriginal language teachers, who graduated recently in Broome return to their classrooms.
Wendy Clancy, who teaches Mangala at Looma Remote Community School, and Coco Yu, who teaches Yawuru at St Mary’s College Broome were among the group of teachers who have been trained in teaching Aboriginal languages over the past two years.
During the course they were required to spend at least one hour a week teaching a language class, and dedicate four weeks to theoretical training in resource development, planning, teaching and assessment.
Ms Clancy who is not a qualified teacher but an Aboriginal Islander education officer said it had been daunting a couple of years ago, when the elders teaching language at her school asked for her help.
“I just came in one day to pay for the kids’ lunches at school and they called me over,” she said.
Ms Clancy said the training was not easy but as she taught language each Thursday to middle and high school students, she had confidence.
“It’s good for the kids to learn language – they can go home and take it back, and their parents are happy,” she said.
“It’s so the language can stand strong, and as the kids grow up, they can pass it on to their children.”
Ms Yu said there were already a number of Aboriginal language teachers who had trained through the course after it started in 1998.
She remembered her son being taught Yawuru close to 15 years ago at St Mary’s, but for a long time it was not taught, so it was great the school was introducing Yawuru language to students in pre-primary, Years 1 and 2, and would continue introducing it to other grades.
Ms Clancy and Ms Yu, along with five other teachers of Noongar language who work at Beverley District High, West Northam Primary, Cloverdale Primary, Ashfield Primary and Southwell Primary schools, graduated from their last part of the course in Broome.
They will now complete a year’s probation in the classroom.