Australian Federation of Ethnic Schools Associations Inc.
Australian Federation of Ethnic Schools Associations Inc.
Every year, on the third Saturday of May is National Community Languages Schools Day.
It is a day to celebrate community language schools(CLS), and the essential part they play in Australia's multicultural, multiethnic, and multilingual landscape. CLS facilitate cultural continuity and social cohesion, providing cultural and language learning in an authentic setting. CLS are essential for individuals and communities to establish vital connections within Australia and abroad and keep cultural practices alive. Children can develop crucial language skills and multifaceted identities in CLS, giving them a sense of belonging and contributing to their well-being and opportunities in the long run.
Community Languages Schools Day is a day to raise awareness and gain support from the wider public and important stakeholders. It also gives CLS members a sense of pride and belonging within the broader CLS landscape in Australia.
Each year another annual theme will be selected. This year’s annual theme will be language and food.
The annual themes will help to give direction for the activities each year. This will help to create fun national activities that tie in with each other, whilst having a fresh take on the importance of CLS each year.
This year, Community Languages Australia is launching National Community Languages School Day on 20th May 2023 and will be promoting ongoing activities and ideas to encourage CLS involvement for the next two months.
Over 100,000 students in 100 languages nationally attend community languages schools to learn and maintain their heritage, background, language and culture. These schools also promote civic, social cohesion and harmony principles and values.
There are a number of ways to get involved and share with your community language schools. We want as many CLS as possible to participate
The theme this year is foods from my homeland. Over the next two months, schools will be asked to make this a central part of their activities.
Students can describe their favourite food, write up recipes, take on cooking classes, share the foods they prepare, and make videos describing their favourite foods. They may wish to create a blended meal that incorporates homeland food with Australian foods.
Posters and other competitions at the class and school level should be considered.
CLA hopes to produce a Book of Fine Foods From Around the World from all the submitted recipes at the end of the Project!
So here it goes! As we launch the National Community Languages Schools Day, we say:
Please share this with your CLS Leadership team, as we want as many CLS as possible to participate.
The idea is that each CLS sends us a short video, recording students saying in their language:
“We love our school!”
This means, if it were a
German CLS, students would say into the camera: “Hallo!”
“Wir lieben unsere Schule!”
Example videos previously submitted:
This year’s Community Language School Day’s topic is food.
We hope your school is interested in participating in this fun activity and competition.
If you are, it would be great to explore some of the below inquiry questions in the classroom with your students and to develop a number of bilingual recipes, which you can submit to CLA. Inquiry questions could be:
- How are language, culture and food connected?
- What foods are typical for our heritage region?
- What is your favourite dish – what is the recipe?
Students can then present their recipe in the classroom, and rate which one they think is the best one. If this is done across a few classrooms, the winner of each classroom could enter a competition to identify the best school recipe.
The task for each school is to submit a maximum 10-minute video with cooking instructions on how to make the dish using both languages (translating into English). CLA will then decide who is shortlisted and who is the winner. The school winning the competition will receive $500 for their school. The videos will also be shared on social media, newsletters and on the CLA website. Competition ends on 22nd July, 2023 and winner will be announced in August 2023.
Involving Parents and the Community
At Morning or Afternoon Assembly
The assembly or any other communication that goes out to parents, should acknowledge that it is Community Languages Schools Day on the 20th of May (or 3rd Saturday of May). Ideas of what can be included in the speech, email or post:
Showcasing Student Accomplishments
Showing to the whole school some of the great work that students did in light of Community Languages Schools Day, will make parents, students and teachers proud. This can be done at the assemblies, or a dedicated event for the day.
Idea #1: Create a Poster
CLS gets each class to create a poster illustrating why they think their community language school is important. The posters can be presented and a school-internal jury can award one poster as “the winner”. This poster could be gifted with an appreciation card to the mainstream school. They might hang the poster up, which would be a great visual reminder of the CLS during normal school hours.
Idea #2: Cultural Performance
Teachers and students could be encouraged to prepare a dance, sing a song, demonstrate some of their work achievements, etc. at the assembly as part of the Community Languages Schools Day celebrations. This will boost student confidence and parental pride.
Idea #3: CLA Student Council
As part of Community Language School Day and also to involve students in future decision-making, a Student Council could be initiated, which will be involved in future planning. This will give students the feeling of being heard and considered. It will increase student loyalty, also as they grow up and inspire other students.
CLS heavily rely on mainstream schools to lease premises to them. Mainstream schools might often not understand the nature of a community language school and why it’s so important.
Idea #1: Create an Appreciation Card or Poster
CLS can create a physical card to thank the mainstream school for supporting CLS on Community Languages Schools Day. Perhaps the best poster (see activity above) can be selected and gifted to the school to put up in their staff room, or on a noticeboard so all mainstream school students and teachers can see it and learn about the out-of-hour activities. This is a great way to build a relationship with the school.
Idea #2: Create a Digital Appreciation Message
A short video can be a great and easy opportunity to reach many of the mainstream teachers.
Idea #3: Invite Host Schools
If the CLS has a celebration or presentation planned, perhaps even on Community Languages Schools Day to mark the importance of the day, mainstream teachers and principals should be invited. That way, they can get an idea of what happens at their school out-of-hours and how important the CLS is for students and the wider community. It would be best for CLS to include a short address to acknowledge the mainstream school representatives’ presence and thank them for attending and supporting the CLS. It is also important for CLS to have some student presentations or cultural activities planned for the day, to give representatives a very good idea about the school’s importance.
Idea #4: Visit the Host School
Organise for CLS Principals and perhaps even for a language teacher, to meet the mainstream school staff during the mainstream school’s teaching hours. It can be a simple meet and greet. However, ideally the CLS principal or teacher will hold a short 10-minute presentation with images (or videos), explaining what the CLS does and why it is so important. The meeting also gives a good opportunity to discuss any processes or identify practical improvements.