Language teachers praised by the new NSW Government


The new NSW Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government, Jihad Dib, told the annual conference of community language teachers on Saturday in Sydney that he used to be embarrassed by his name and the language his parents spoke.

“All the other kids at school from Greek, Italian and other European backgrounds felt the same,” Mr Dib said.

“My parents used to drop me off at the Saturday Arabic Language School but I never went in. One day they met the teacher and asked how I was progressing. He told them he had never seen me.”

Minister Dib addressing the conference.
A section of the 550 strong attendance at the conference.

Mr Dib officially opened the conference, which was organised by the NSW Federation of Community Language Schools at the University of Technology, Sydney. The conference was attended by over 550 community language teachers.

He added that nowadays, there’s a thirst for languages.

“Today it is the complete opposite, with kids enthusiastically learning their parents’ languages and embracing their cultures,” Mr Dib said.

“My own kids are immensely proud of their multilingual ability and their family name. Community language teachers are the catalyst for that dramatic change.”

Welcoming the participants to the conference, the President of the Federation, Lucia Johns, said: “The Federation and its member schools play an important role in teaching languages and culture in NSW and Australia and language is an important factor in social inclusion and participation.”

“This day-long gathering gives our teachers the opportunity to benefit from the best research and experience to assist them in raising the teaching standards for our children,” Ms Johns added.

“We must maintain this progress if we want to fully benefit from the natural advantage migration has delivered us to create a truly multilingual, multicultural society and economy.”

The Executive Officer of the Federation, Michael Christodoulou, expressed their appreciation of the new government’s announcement during the election campaign of an increase in the per capita funding of $200 per student per year and a $100 dollar rebate for the parents of children who successfully complete a year’s language classes.

Minister Dib interacts with Language teachers at the conference.

The opening address by world renowned Professor Stephen Krashen, Specialist Educator and Researcher in Early Childhood and Languages, was beamed live from the University of Southern California.

He was supported by two Sydney academics – Specialist Educator and Researcher in Early Childhood and Languages, Dr Criss Jones Diaz, and world-renowned behaviour management specialist, Dr Bill Rogers.

Workshops presented by highly experienced teachers addressed areas of early childhood, primary and secondary language teaching, and learning.

The Federation supports the 3000 voluntary teachers who run classes in 583 locations around the state for 35,000 children studying over 60 different languages.

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