Galiwin'ku Community Update April 2016
Mentoring in Galiwin’ku
As part of the WCE initiative, Yalu’ Marnggithinyaraw Indigenous Corporation has mentors working in the Shepherdson College. Around thirty students from year five to seven have participated in mentoring sessions run by Beulah and other Yalu’ staff.
Through discussion with teachers and the students, problems such as bullying, teasing and general lack of respect for the class rules were identified. The first step was to establish good lines of communication with the children, teachers and their families. Through this process all parties worked together to support the children to actively engage in their learning.
An important part of this process was to communicate with Yolngu and Balanda teachers to understand each other. Through working together we were able to establish a plan of how to work with the children. Class rules had already been established and it was decided that with extra input of a mentor good behavior could be modelled.
First we set up games in the classroom to establish the gurrutu (kinship connections) with each student. One game involved sitting in a circle and throwing a dice to another student and saying their gurrutu. Games like this were fun and allowed students to understand their relationship with each other in a relaxed environment. We also used picture cards whereby the students made up stories from the pictures and shared their stories with the class. These activities encourage the students to share and build self and group confidence.
The mentoring process was instructed using Yolngu Matha to make learning easier in developing the students’ listening skills. The children shared their stories individually about how they could contribute in a positive way to the classroom. These contribute to strengthening lifelong learning journeys.
NAILSMA work in Galiwin’ku
NAILSMA is working on the Yolŋu Shellfish Project in Galiwin’ku. This project involves Learning on Country rangers, Shepherdson College, Gawa Christian School, students and teachers, community elders, scientists and linguists. A key output will be a Yolŋu shellfish book that provides information about shellfish in YolŋuMatha languages, as well as in English. This book is being developed using shellfish monitoring surveys undertaken by school students and community members, and is currently being reviewed by rangers, linguists, and other community members. The Yolŋu Shellfish Project celebrates local Yolŋu knowledge about shellfish, and enables this knowledge to be brought into school classrooms, shared with future generations and with the wider public.