2020 Semester 2

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6 replies
  1. Colin Barker
    Colin Barker says:

    I think the article by Calwell (1989), highlights also the dfficulty anglophones have in learning Kunwinjku, because they are structurally so far apart in grammar and pronunciation, it is difficult to master at first. So, we need to try to make connections with the lessons we learn and apply them this way. I can also appreciate the difficulties Kunwinjku speakers have in learning English, so we need to break it down to enable both learners to acquire the second language, whether it be English or Kunwinjku.

  2. Zenobia-J
    Zenobia-J says:

    I think it is wonderful that Caldwell (1989) wrote down his thoughts and came up with these strategies. It really shows the passion of teachers. I certainly think that many of the strategies he proposed will be useful in the language classroom. He mentioned lots of repetition, which is a well-tested approach and one cannot get away from that, but he combines this with doing repetition and practicing in meaningful, relevant and useful contexts. That is really important and I think that is why I get so much out of this course – the vocabulary and useful phrases are really useful and its relevance to culture places it in a context that we will use, regardless of what we do when interacting with Bininj. It gives us a baseline from which we can build the trust and respect – what is more important than understanding family? So, as a consequence, the learning experience is much richer and not just a bunch of words and grammar to slog through!
    Caldwell also highlights that a major obstacle is learning vocabulary. It is so true as it takes time, repetition and to a large degree dedication. I find using Quizlet very useful as it uses the varied approaches also mentioned by Caldwell – it is almost like playing a game on your phone and it seems to stick!
    I don’t think I learnt anything knew from reading the article, but one thing that I am really grateful for is that Kunwinjku, unlike English, have one sound per letter of combination of letters, which makes pronunciation and also spelling a lot easier.

  3. Andrea-P
    Andrea-P says:

    The article by Caldwell (1989) shows highlights some of the difficulties with Kunwinjku speakers learning English; the principles of which can also be applied in the other direction. There are not only stark differences in the sounds and articulation of the languages but also in the construction of the languages. There are different uses of tenses and verb conjugations across the two languages.
    I agree with Caldwell (1989) that repetition and making the learning interesting can help. My feeling is that not just repetition but exposure to the language in everyday contexts is helpful in being able to learn and apply the language.

    The article highlighted the difference in verb conjugation between English and Kunwinjku. I was aware of it, confused by it and now feel that it is better explained. I feel that I can now apply the principles in the article to other verbs to assist with conversation in Kunwinjku.

  4. Shay-J
    Shay-J says:

    The main thing that stood out for me at a glance in the article by Calwell (1989) was the emphasis on making the learning of English meaningful and in context for the children. We can see that the author attempts to understand from a child’s perspective when language is made relevant that it may be easier to learn. It was also good to see the different modalities the author suggests to engage the children – chants, rhymes, games and songs. I do wonder if elders or others from the community were consulted about these things or even the children prior to the writing of this article, this may be a potential strategy when teaching English if not from Oenpeli. Also, getting a sense of how English is used in the children’s lives, what they have already and what their exposure at home or in the community is.

    The specific grammar and pronunciation differences are really specific and well highlighted for any reader. As others in our discussion have mentioned the strategies like modelling and repetition are useful for teaching any new skill, the author does a good job of giving English examples to make sense of what they are outlining.

    Overall, for its time the article demonstrates a level of depth and clarity that any teacher will likely be able to generalise in the classroom and adapt to the nature of the children in the class and their interests/contexts.

  5. WilheminaO
    WilheminaO says:

    At the end of Calwell (1989), he mentions how children don’t differentiate between present and future tense when speaking English and he goes on explaining how it isn’t because of linguistic differences between English and Kunwinjku but it is because of habit and children wanting a quick and easy communication. This part of the article got be a bit confusing for me because I would have thought it would be a bit of both.

    Growing up my cousins and I were taught bits and pieces of Aboriginl English, Kriol, Ngan’gikurunggurr, and Batjamal. We speak a mixture of them plus English when talking to each other when we were younger and even now. Most of the time we don’t use tenses as heavily as you would in English so, doing sentences in English as a child and even essays now I get my tenses mixed up. I wouldn’t say it is only because of habit but it is also the linguistic differences between English and my speech community.

  6. Kellie-D
    Kellie-D says:

    This article was extremely interesting for me. Like Wilhemina, I found it quite interesting that there is no differentiation between present and future tense due to habit and the need for quick and easy communication, rather than what is inbuilt and taught in their main language. When the advice states that teachers should model appropriate English usage, it makes total sense, however, I am guilty of copying some colloquial phrases that I have picked up from locals – mostly because they actually do get to the point a lot quicker. I feel it would be challenging for a teacher to not pick up these bad habits. I also feel like teachers build rapport with locals when they say things colloquially to their kids and their families.

    It is great to read that the advice is to not pull the kid up and embarrass them regarding pronunciation of things like the letter b as it simply does not exist in Kunwinjku. And I love that there is such a push to make all of this education meaningful and exciting. Given that one of the references is discussions with Esther, the current school principal at Gunbalanya, this would be an incredible resource for teachers.

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