Languages: A Podcast of Champions in Warlpiri

This is part of our preview of the online dialogue “Using Citizen Media Tools to Promote Under-Represented Languages.”

They are the “Champions.” It's a nickname given to a class of students from a primary school in the remote community of Lajamanu located in the Northern Territory of Australia. They were given this special label because of their commitment to their education registering perfect attendance in a part of the country where getting children to attend school regularly has been an ongoing challenge.

One of the perks of being part of the Champions’ classroom is having access some of the latest technology. It was the idea of their teacher, Adrian Trost, who thought that creating a podcast with the children could help generate additional excitement among the students and help motivate them to stay enrolled in school. The children select and write the script for the monthly podcast, which features interviews with community members, reports on school activities, and even a joke every episode.

Photo of the young podcasters of Lajumanu. Used with permission.

Many of the students of the Lajumanu Champions are of Aboriginal origin, with many learning English as a Second Language. While the focus of the school curriculum is on developing English-language skills, the podcast provides an opportunity to acknowledge the area's history as the home of the Warlpiri people. Each podcast episode features a Warlpiri demonstration where a pair of students first recite a conversation in English, followed by a translation spoken in the Warlpiri language, which is estimated to be spoken by 2500-3000 people. Both the students and the teacher say that this is their favorite part of the process of creating the podcast and look forward to the next episode. There are even some students for whom English is their first language, and learning Warlpiri has been an added way to get to know their classmates better.

Listen to a snippet of the Warlpiri demonstration from the Lajumanu Champions’ Podcast:

You can also subscribe to the podcast feed here.

Already the Champions’ podcast is generating attention locally and nationally, and Adrian says,

We're hoping that these things like the podcast and website can lead to a bit of inspiration for others.

Learn more about Adrian's work with the Lajumanu Champions’ podcast in the Warlpiri language at the online dialogue “Using Citizen Media Tools to Promote Under-Represented Languages” to take place on November 16-22. To see the website for the Lajumanu Champions, please click here.


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