We know that students who are able to
speak fluently and become literate in their first languages often do better at
school and in life generally. So clearly having an opportunity for them to do that is important. I think as we are growing young people who are going to be members of their families and to lead their families and their communities in the future, having that sense of connection to their ancestors. To be able to speak to communicate with and identify with their families both in
Australia and overseas…grandparents. That brings a whole sense of of
connection and belonging and a confidence and it also I think builds a
sense of purpose and and connection with the school for families within the wider
community It makes school more relevant. It’s not
just about what kids do here between 9:00 and 3:00. It’s actually, it becomes
more of a community centre. Diversity that we have in our multicultural
Australian society is sometimes a little superficial The deeper understandings that the community language school can bring as far as not only just language background but also cultural traditions and histories is
something that I found very educative for myself in understanding my own
school community. The benefits go both ways. It shows how tolerant we can be. It shows that we can build resilience and
understanding and acceptability of someone that is different to us, a
culture that is different to us. That is passed on to the children. We have children that attend the school Monday to Friday as part of their normal education, and on the weekend they’ll attend one of the language schools here. So that
has a benefit for them, because they know the facilities and they know what you do.
They become the role models for the students who come from other schools and utilise the facilities. they’re very proud of what we have to offer them at Granville Public School. Students who use the school, they’re very familiar
with the school. School is seen as not just somewhere you go Monday to Friday
but it’s also a place that is seen as a learning hub that you visit. We found
that those students who attend that school have a very strong feeling of
familiarity and comfort here at the school in terms of the premises. They are
then able to help other students in terms of their learning but also just
you know, they know where the toilets are, and this is where the hall is and
this is how you operate the white board. So it gives them some leadership as well.
When we’re looking at language difficulties or learning needs, we’ve got
someone else to refer to and to seek advice from. Often a student might
display learning needs in the classroom so we then ask their language teacher
here at school. Sometimes we also contact the Saturday school teacher to
see if they’re displaying similar behaviours or learning behaviours on
Saturday as well. So, it’s developing that relationship as well! We make sure that
we’re teaching the whole child. Many of our girls are Tibetan and they come to our
school and then they come to the community languages school on Saturdays. So, it’s really nice that we’re able to help them with their learning of their
language and learning of their culture so that it doesn’t die. While most of the
students are primary school students some of them will end up coming to
Mackellar so there will be that that nice connection. The Tibetans are very concerned that their language and their culture will die, unless
their students here in Australia are better versed in the language and the
culture. So I’m really happy to assist the Tibetan community to be able to
realize that and to be able to teach their younger people what they value.