Living Black aired an inspiring short story on the 29/4/12 about the revitalisation and teaching of the Dunghutti language in two schools on the NSW Mid-North Coast.
The language program is currently part of the curriculum in Dalaigur Pre School and Green Hill Public, both in Kempsey. The program started about fifteen years ago and now draws on newly made educational resources and the Dunghutti Language Dictionary.
The program sees elders working with school staff and the education department to enable local kids to connect with country and strengthen their identity.
Jaky Troy has been studying the impact of the program on the children’s learning. She says that the program is allowing kids to engage with school in a way they hadn’t been able to previously, making school seem more relevant to them. Teachers also commented on the way students were able to transfer the concepts learned in the program to other subjects; like their English studies. In particular, students had become more aware of the importance of pronunciation and word order.
Everyone involved in this program spoke of the rewards of the positive collaboration of a community working together to preserve local language. The hope was that kids would feel confident enough to use Dunghutti and to eventually pass it on to their own children.
Julia Doyle LING566