Aboriginal Literacy Foundation

Literacy is one of my passions. Working in remote Aboriginal Australia improving literacy is essential to fully understand discussions – which are mainly in English – with health staff.

The Aboriginal Literacy Foundation states:

Literacy is the key to education. Education is the key to escaping poverty.

Here is a short video on the Aboriginal Literacy Foundation. For more information please visit www.aboriginalliteracyfoundation.org

Recent Reading

Here’s some (i.e: when I remember to note them) of the articles I thought might be of interest I have been reading (also viewing or listening) recently that haven’t made it to the blog.

I hope you enjoy them.

Learning in Both Worlds looks at the loss of bilingual education in the Territory with the first four hours now in English. I think they are being optimistic that government will do the right thing – to change back to bilingual education.

ABC footage taken in Yuendumu in 1976 when language was strong. “m” is like two anthills, “a” is like a lump on the side of a tree.

Indigenous literacy gap must close is an opinion piece from a parent who moved from Perth to Broome and the huge disparity in literacy she found between the Aboriginal students compared to the rest.

Subsidised medicines: are we paying too much? looking at the cost of the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme. Is it putting consumers at risk? Can we afford the cost? This podcast from “Australia Talks” on Radio National is worth listening to.

Desert shrinks get global gong. This Alice springs News article from August reports on the Sixth World Congress for Psychotherapy honouring the Aboriginal ngangkari (traditional healers) of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjtara Yankunytjatjara region with its Sigmund Freud Award the contribution to the field of psychotherapy.

How to write about Aboriginal Australia is a satirical view on how to.. well write about Aboriginal Australia. “First, be white.
If you are Aboriginal, you can certainly speak on behalf of every Aboriginal person in Australia but it is best to get a white person to write down what they think you should be saying.” and carries on from there.

Interstate Exodus, a recent program on Living Black looks at how the Aboriginal Health service at Coober pedy is coping with the more than doubling of the transient population from 3600 to close to 10000 as people flee the Intervention in the Northern Territory

50 Social Media Case Studies Worth Bookmarking. While there is no examples involving health or health education some of these case studes are worth a look.

Snobs and whingers: the new Australia. There’s nothing better than when I reach populated areas of sitting down with a freshly brewed coffee, fresh fruit and a newspaper on the same day it was printed and going out to dinner with friends. What you consider the normal things. So normal that you need to complain when the pattern on the froth on the cappucino is not quite centred. This article is in the same vein

Northern Territory Emergency Response Evaluation Report 2011. I’ve only scanned through this government “evaluation” but they seem to think a few surveys and a few calls for an opinion substitute for good research. Here’s an example: “A survey of 85 government and service providers conducted by the Allen Consulting Group found that 71 per cent of respondents thought that engagement approaches improved over time” – nice to consult the end user.

The authors of the chapters can’t be blamed – they can only work with the data they have.

The intervention is dead, long live the intervention This article by Jon Altman, though responding to a Closing the Gap report is a nice counterpoint to the Intervention evaluation above.

Indigenous Literacy Day Wednesday 7th September 2011

The-Naked-Boy-and-the-Crocodile book It’s Indigenous Literacy day on Wednesday. The aim of the day is to raise funds to support the work of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation to assist in raising literacy levels and thus improve the lives and increase the opportunities of our remote living Indigenous Australians. Money raised goes into buying books and resources for individuals and communities.

There are a few ways you can help.

Manhattan Dreaming Place a bid in a silent auction to buy a number of books by Australian authors. Some of these, including the books by Anita Heiss will be personally dedicated.

To bid SMS the title of the book pack you are interested in, and your bid price to 0487759393 or phone 08 92282688. You can listen to the results of the auction by listening from 3PM EST to Noongar Radio streamed on the web.

Donate directly to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation

Purchase a painting at the Art for Country auction in Melbourne this Friday evening

Purchase a copy of The Naked Boy and the Crocodile, a series of stories from thirteen Indigenous students from around Australia

Buy a book. 5% of takings on books sold on Wednesday these publishers or book shops goes to the Foundation

Attend a The Great Book Swap Challenge. There are a number of schools, businesses and other organisations taking part.

There are a number of other activities held on the day and throughout the year. I urge you to get involved.

If you doubt that there is a need for you to get involved, read this post by Indigenous Literacy Foundation Ambassador, Andy Griffiths.

Weekend Thoughts and Happenings

An 18th birthday cake made and eaten in two waves of kids, teenagers and young adults who washed over my little place in a tidal wave of enthusiasm. My home which I thought I had tidied up no longer is. But it was a fun day nonetheless.

It is interesting watching the kids with poor literacy use the internet. My local phone book is used to check the spelling of remote communities throughout Western Australia as they search the web for photos of people and places they know. Younger kids are given instruction in language by the older kids. They pick it up much faster than when I try to show them in English.

It makes a mockery of the Northern Territory plans to stop bilingual education in remote community schools.

And they are learning: words, spelling, reading. And learning with enthusiasm.

Yet I hear of area educators going to remote schools and saying to the community that unless more kids go to school they will have to close it down.

What they should be doing is offering staff who are willing to stay extended contracts, rather than moving them each term or not confirming contract extensions until the last minute. With continual changes the kids never settle with one teacher and soon stop attending. The education honchos rather than trying to blame the community should be looking at the kids in the community and asking what can they do as educators to make school for attractive and relevant for these indigenous kids.

But it is never the Education Department’s fault.

Anyway, here is some Aboriginal “stuff” that was looked at over the weekend.

Mamu Place (‘Mamu’ means ‘devil’)

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