SLOVENIAN LANGUAGE CLASSES FOR ADULTS IN MELBOURNE
For the participants of the course I would like, when they gain a little more knowledge and courage, to connect with the elderly in the Slovenian community to discuss, record and enrich vocabulary, while visiting, and use the Slovenian libraries, archives and internet, as well as visit Slovenia.
BRIEF HISTORY Slovenian language course for adults began in early March 1999 with a view for the adults wanting to learn the language, or who wanted to extend knowledge and practice a conversation in Slovenian language. Participants are not many, so there is more time for each individual.
The initiative for the course was given by an Australian - Bruce Chambers, who is married to a Slovenian lady.
The course was until 2011 offered parallel with Slovenian Slomšek school at Kew – some parents of the school children were also enrolled.
The plan included as well meeting with senior members of the Slovenian community and telephone conversations. Participants were able to expand their knowledge and use that knowledge in conversations. It is particularly important to help the elderly, whot are isolated because of the long distances, and they wish to talk to many young and eager, willing to help.
The venue for the course was the Baraga Hall (former dining room) in the Religious centre, but since 2012 the lessons are run at the teacher’s home.
The number of course participants vary every year - some years up to 20 students were enrolled, other times less, usually regular number of students is up to 12.
In 2015 there were 5 regular students.
THE YEARLY BASIC LEARNING PROGRAM (adapted and extended when needed):
We practice pronunciation of words and phrases; solve mixed letters, which needs to be edited, fill in missing letters and words, completion of words. The students need to correct deliberate errors in simple songs and readings, correct simple errors like grammatical endings of nouns in the use of the verb I have, play games using of the verb I see, I hear, I smell, and others.
Picture description - oral and written reporting, some with the help of questions, some via the game, using gestures and facial expressions, miming, pantomine, writing and preparation of projects, with a particular topic, such as a Book - Sport, a Book - Spring, a Book - Winter, Book – Family, and the like.
Very much loved are word games and role playing: at the doctors, at the school, the conversation in the shops and the telephone conversations, as well as preparing various posters with given topics.
The students enjoy group assignments such as the seasons, sports, work and occupations; the natural environments as forest, city, park, nature tours, most known Slovenian holidays and customs.
The Slovenian culture, history, literature and customs are always included.
For the history lesson, given in English language, using the book Slovenians from the Earliest Times by Draga Gelt (book was listed by the Victorian Education Department for the Saturday School of Languages and later Victorian School of Languages as prescribed text book)
Some students have in the past had courage to have a brief interview, in Slovenian language, on Slovenian radio program 3ZZZ in Melbourne.
We use a variety of books and textbooks, mainly from America (Slovenian Language Manual), as well as various books from Slovenia, Austria (Klagenfurt) and Italy (Trieste); as well as websites with Slovenian exercises for pronunciation.
We are as well reviewing various reports, trying to read the Slovenian newspapers and books.
The student personally connect to various web pages, converse on Facebook and other social media. They are encouraged to write and comment in Slovenian language when correspponding with Slovenian friends and family.
Many times student wish to discuss a particular subject, or situation. The lessons are sometimes based on the loved topics.
During year 2015 we extended the learning to practical cooking and (Learning Slovenian and Making Dražgoše Honeybread) baking class.
Our visitor was Dr Kaja Antlej, who has recorded the event on the Heritage Facebook, as well as in the interviews with the participating students.
Preparing the workbook for the adult students was necessary to take into account the level of knowledge of the Slovenian language of each of the students.
The learning manuals were partially sponsored by the Republic of Slovenia, Office for the Slovenians Abroad and partly by Religious and culturally Center in Kew. All the work was voluntary by the author Draga Gelt and the mentor Andreja Trtnik Herlec MSc, the Lecturer of English and Slovenian Languages in Ljubljana.
The workbook was adapted to Australian conditions and levels of knowledge.
Included are various sections of grammatical rules, a lot of examples and excercises with instructions for finding researching information in books, newspapers and magazines on Slovenia. Explanations and exercises correspond to the given grammar rules, very often from different situations in life and culture.
During the years, there were some short time assistants in the class: Ljubica Postružin, Lucija Srnec and Meta Lenarčič.
In 2014 comedy production Vražja slovenščina – The Devilish Slovenian, one of the students was playing a role.
In 2015 comedy production Oh, ta ljubezen! – Oh, this Love! Three students were succesfully participating. All in Slovenian language, of course.
The teaching Manuals Znaš slovensko? – Do you Know Slovenian? and
Znaš slovensko, osnovna slovnična pravila in vaje – Do you Know Slovenian, The Basic Grammar Rules and Excercises, by the language teacher and author Draga Gelt, were published in year 2000, after several years of experimenting, practice and updating.
The Slovenian language teachers of other Slovenian schools are using the text books: Adult classes in NSW, lately in Queensland at the Slovenian Language and Culture Association Qld Inc.
Would you like to know more? Contact Draga
Draga Gelt OAM