Improving the fluency of second language speakers so that they can become Aboriginal Language teachers and mentors in the future is fast becoming a pressing issue for Wangka Maya Pilbara Language centre since many fluent speakers are nearing retirement and for a number of Pilbara languages where there are already no fluent speakers.
A recent training conducted by the RNLD team of Margaret Florey, Michael Jarrett and Donna McLaren Master - apprentice program involves a student working one-on-one with and elder or fluent speaker to improve listening and speaking skills.
From a group of six language teams the Banyjima team of Beverley Hubert and Andrew Dhu demonstrated how language immersion is the key to helping people retain, and understand the significance of their language.
Says Ms Hubert the workshop opened my eyes as to how threaten the Banyjima Language is and how easy it is to lose, by doing the training I was able to not only pick up new skills and knowledge on how to keep my language strong but also realise that I had the natural skills to teach the language, it was very hard to teach without using English especially with a student who didn’t know much Banyjima but we was able to get on with it and seeing people learning your language is a proud moment. I was really proud that I and Andrew did such a great job so was mum Kathleen Hubert who is a Banyjima Elder and strong speaker. The great job resulted in the pair being selected to attend the National Master - apprentice workshop in Ceduna in South Australia.
It was a success story all around says Julie Walker Wangka Maya Manager the master- apprentice training is the first step to facilitating community discussions and activities relating to the development and implementation of a Aboriginal language program thank you to all of the workshop presenters and participants. For those interested in the master - apprentice program or any other language training please contact the service.