Family paves the way for Aboriginal education
14 June 2022
Two Ballardong Noongar women have built on their family bond to bring the local language and culture into the classroom at Bruce Rock District High School.
Shayna Campbell is the new Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer (AIEO) at Bruce Rock District High School and her mum, Charlene Hayden, is the Noongar Language teacher at the same school, as well as at Brookton District High School.
Mrs Campbell runs the culture class and teaches students about local Noongar culture in an interactive and engaging way.
She initiated a whole-school project to rename classrooms in Noongar, with the students selecting an animal to be their class mascot.
“The classroom mascot served as a device to delve deeper into various aspects of Noongar culture,” said Mrs Campbell.
“The students were encouraged to research their animal and how it relates to Noongar culture. They also researched their animal’s life cycle in relation to the six Noongar seasons.”
Meanwhile in Ms Hayden’s class, the lessons are based on the local area so students learn the Noongar words for locations and animals that they see every day.
Students have already learnt pronunciation, how to construct sentences, and have conversations in Noongar.
“The best thing about teaching Noongar language is seeing the students’ eagerness to learn as well as their preservation of the language,” said Ms Hayden.
Mrs Campbell said seeing the students continue to use the language in the playground and outside of school has been inspiring. The community response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Ms Hayden is also mentoring her daughter in Ballardong Noongar, with hopes to introduce the classes at other Wheatbelt schools.
“If I can make a difference in one person's life by teaching Noongar language then that's all that matters,” said Ms Hayden.