I was going to talk about our School Opinion Survey (SOS) data, which was released recently, but I will touch on the Auslan LOTE information day Sharon and I went to in Brisbane yesterday instead and talk about the SOS data next week. As I’ve mentioned previously, Auslan will officially become a LOTE subject next year as part of the National Curriculum. There were people from all over the state at yesterday’s information day at differing stages of the Auslan LOTE journey. Some schools were well down the track and some were only now looking at Auslan as a LOTE subject. Toowong state School for example has Bilingual classes where the children and staff use English in conjunction with Auslan as they have a high percentage of deaf or hard of hearing children. Kedron State High School offers Auslan as a LOTE subject for 7-10 and then their 11/12 children can choose to participate in a certification course in Auslan. The Principal from Wooroolin State School attended as they have a deaf child and they want to introduce Auslan LOTE for similar reasons as we did to make it easier for the child to be included in the other children’s conversation in and out of the classroom. We did get a lot of interest in how we introduced Auslan LOTE here at Cecil Plains and I had many conversations about the advantages of Auslan as our LOTE and also talked about the difficulties of staffing. The people presenting at the information day talked about that at length as it will be a big issue with a growing number of schools choosing to introduce Auslan LOTE. There is only one qualified Auslan LOTE in the state who teaches at Kedron State High School. Others, like Sharon are non-native Auslan users and not registered teachers, so schools need to employ a registered teacher to support them and report of the children’s progress. They still only get funding for one staff member, that being the teacher and then need to spend school funds to employ the Auslan person. This is going to be a big challenge for the department as Auslan LOTE is introduced into schools over the next 3 years.
What can you do to help at home? We are ahead of most schools and we should be proud of our successes with Auslan. The children really seem to enjoy it, some even sneakily talking to each other in class using Auslan J. We need to celebrate our success so far in our journey down the Auslan LOTE path. If you have not done so already, ask your children to show you some of their use of Auslan. This will make this initiative even more special for the children. Even a simple good morning greeting is something they can teach you.