2021 Patji Dawes Awards

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2021 Patji-Dawes Language Teaching Awards

On the International World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL) announced the 2021 recipients of the Patji-Dawes Language Teaching Awards:

  • The Wiradjuri program at Charles Sturt University is the awardee in the Group The program, which is under the guidance of Stan Grant Sr and Susan Green, was nominated by student Elaine, who commented: “The CSU Language teachers are inspiring and effective because, like me, they have been renewed by the power of Wiradjuri language to change how you see yourself and the world around you.”
  • Maria Lo Presti (Perth, WA) is the awardee in the Individual Maria is currently Head of Languages at Aquinas College and has taught Italian for over 30 years. Students fondly remember her adage: “Learn to mingle, be bilingual.”
  • Sharon Gregory (Fremantle, WA) is the awardee in the Community Outreach Sharon was nominated by the Walyalap Waangkaniny Noongar Language Group, where she teaches Noongar. One student of Sharon’s shared that she has “gone from speaking no Noongar language to writing poems in Noongar language” under Sharon’s encouragement.

The Patji-Dawes initiative honours outstanding achievements in teaching languages other than English in Australia. The name of the award commemorates the earliest documented language education partnership in Australia’s history: that between young Indigenous woman Patyegarang (Patye or Patji, pronounced Pat-chee) and Lieutenant William Dawes.

Biennially since 2015, CoEDL has conferred the award through its Outreach program as part of its commitment to elevating public awareness of languages and celebrating multilingualism in Australia. From 2021, administration of the Patji-Dawes Award will pass to the Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations (AFMLTA) and the Languages and Cultures Network for Australian Universities (LCNAU), co-sponsors of Patji- Dawes since its inception.

In this final year of the Centre’s involvement, CoEDL Director Nicholas Evans reflected on the initiative’s legacy.

“We established the Patji-Dawes Award because we wanted to honour the unsung heroes of language teaching in Australia. Our society needs to realise the power of other languages to open your heart and mind to other ways of being, and of hearing and seeing the world. Brilliant, magnetic teachers are at the front line of this effort, and this award is about them.”

The awards will be conferred on Tuesday, 6 July 2021 at the AFMLTA International Languages Conference.