I’m looking forward to a couple of major activities beginning in the early part of the year. In a week, I head to Adelaide to begin a Pitjantjatjara language course offered through the David Unaipon institute at UniSA. As a two week intensive, I’m really hoping it will give me the foundational knowledge to be able to develop my language abilities better on the ground. I strongly believe that being able to operate bilingually is highly advantageous. Through embracing language, not only do I better recognise and understand the culture within which I’m working, but I also gain a stronger understanding of challenges students face linguistically in translating ideas and communicating effectively.
Having lived within Spanish culture for a number of years, I discovered that as my own language skills progressed, so too did my understanding of Spanish people and their idiosyncracies. As an ESL teacher, I was better able to recognise linguistic faults that were being made through direct translation and to assist students to correct them.
I’m also looking forward to seeing some good friends from the community who are working as tutors on the program. It’ll be great to see them outside of our living and working environs.
Later in 2013, I begin a Master of Indigenous Education through Macquarie University. I’m hopeful that it will be a worthwhile programme – as it’s been particularly designed with remote educators and other workers in mind. There are some fascinating topics around education policy and practice historically that I can’t wait to get my teeth into and some great comparative studies of international practice. It seems really relevant to my situation, and I hope it pans out that way.
Check out the course’s youtube propaganda below: