In early 2020 when schools went into lockdown following the imposition of COVID-19 restrictions, the education of students right across the country was suddenly under severe threat. Within this unprecedented context, it was estimated that vulnerable groups, including students and families from refugee backgrounds, would be hardest hit by the sudden closures, with many parents lacking the English language skills required to support their children’s learning needs at home, compounding the numerous economic, health and social challenges that they also had to endure.
Recognising the urgent need for support of this vulnerable student group, during 2020, ALNF has been able to successfully expand its ground-breaking Subtext: Art for Literacy program, with the development of a new, online experience of its Digital Songwriting & Literacy program, made possible by the generous support of the Packer Family Foundation and Crown Resorts Foundation.
This exciting 8-week interactive experience has been piloted in Lurnea Intensive English Centre, with the program enabling students of refugee background to collaborate online with professional musicians and create unique songs expressing their experiences, harnessing the plethora of opportunities made available by digital platforms in this space.
The digital pilot has provided students with the opportunity to continue building their English language and communication skills in the classroom through highly engaging creative music composition, overcoming any potential disruptions to their second language learning experience posed by COVID-19.
And the pilot has been a tremendous success, with students continuing to engage enthusiastically in the Subtext program through the digital platform! Thanks to ALNF’s ability to adapt its program to the changing circumstances, the students have had the added opportunity to practice navigating digital technology to communicate with others, enhancing their digital literacy skills.
In light of its success, the program will be running again in Term 4 with students from Fairfield Intensive English Centre.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Subtext has continued to reach over 200 students of refugee background through its face-to-face and digital channels, ensuring that these young people can continue to benefit from collaborative art experiences that support their creative self-expression and English language skills.
You can learn more about the Subtext program here.
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