On 3rd July 2018 the eloquent, elegant Governor of Tasmania, Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC, our patron, launched a wonderful collection of writings for us. The Communicating: The Heart of Literacy collection is available to download for free. Share it around! It’s full of treasure. And if you would like to purchase a print copy, just reach out here.
This collection was brought into the world to help us understand the diversity of views, hopes, insights and opinions the community holds about the complicated problems of communication and literacy challenges. The writings are warm, frank, inspiring and varied. They are filled with yearning and hope. You might not completely agree with them but that is the very point. You might learn something about your unconscious biases. We did. The writings will help you see the size of the cloth we must hold and stitch and embroider, to feel the tension we must bear, if we are to collectively make a difference to Tasmania’s and Australia’s literacy woes.
The point of it all is to share meaning with respect and non-judgment. To listen.
We value listening. Listening heals.
The Collection helps us listen to the voices of others. So it helps us understand. And if we are to simultaneously resolve wicked problems and be respectful, we need to calmly understand much more than we do.
We’ve been astounded at the diverse beauty, wisdom, insight and passions expressed by those who have written for this initiative. We are sure you will learn something new through them too.
At the launch, our founder, Rosie, shared an extraordinary poem about listening: Finding What You Didn’t Lose by John Fox. Read it. Your creativity will begin to glow in your mind’s eye!
Also at the launch, the audience shared some of their reflections after Her Excellency and others spoke. We will soon publish these insightful writings on our blog – keeping the dialogue going!
Communicating: The Heart of Literacy is a public dialogue about communication, literacy, enablement, collaboration, and relational trust.
In the joyful fuss of the launch of a project, however, we do not wish to stray from our core messages – that positive communication is the key to healthy and successful lives; it is the doorway to positive relationships, education, and employment. Chatter Matters Tasmania transforms lives through positive communication skills. It transforms learning to read, for those who have struggled with the process, into an experience which is honouring, joyful, hope-filled and successful. That people may then read to learn, according to their choice. The skills of communication are the foundations of literacy.
Our enormous thanks to our fine supporters:
Three-year old Ellie is sitting on my capacious Grand-dad lap listening to stories and chatting about the birds we can see from our verandah sofa. I ask her to pass me my glass and she says: “No, Grandad, I’ve got busy hands!” A fresh expression! Watching children...
I was born in one of Central Africa’s beautiful countries – the Democratic Republic of Congo. I am not only a Congolese-Australian but also a citizen of the world. Because of the many challenges that my fellow Congolese and I were and are still facing, in 2002 I...
There is no way you can survive in the modern world without being able to communicate, so it is critical that we encourage every person to be confident in their literacy ability. When I reflect on how we prepare students for the working world through teaching...
Many people find it hard to believe that one in two Tasmanians don’t have the reading, writing or maths skills to get by in everyday life. But just like any long-term problem, getting people talking leads to better understanding and eventual action. Turn your thoughts...
The students for whom I advocate may have a diagnosed or undiagnosed disability but they all have the same issue; school simply doesn’t cater to their learning needs. When I hear stories of young people who couldn’t follow the path they wanted to University because...
The purpose of the Communicating: The Heart of Literacy symposium is “to continue to build and enact the collaboration and courage required to positively move Tasmania’s ‘wicked’ literacy problem”. From my experience of over 40 years in the Criminal Justice system...
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Just sentences are about human rights, dignity, amelioration, restoration and redemption – to create safe, fair, just society,
This paper, Just Sentences: Human rights to enable participation and equity for prisoners and all, published in a special edition of the International Journal of Speech Language Pathology by Taylor & Francis Online, discusses our project, Just Sentences, and links language and literacy to human rights and equity.
In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this year, 2018, speech pathologists are lifting their voices to call for communication to be recognised as a basic human right. Communication skills are the pillars which fundamentally enable the UDHR’s Article 19: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.”
Chatter Matters Tasmania’s Just Sentences project is honoured to contribute to this call.
Chatter Matters changes lives by building skills for positive communication.
We teach how kind connection with trust and shared language enable positive communication.
We assist with the important attachment between incarcerated parents and their children.
We teach reading and communication skills to men and women in prison and in community.
We show it’s never too early or too late for people to discover the joy of reading and writing.
We build awareness of the power contained within communication skills.
Positive communication is the key to healthy and successful lives.
Communication allows us to share our minds.
It provides us the way to join in.
It is the voice in ‘having a voice’.
And the freedom in ‘freedom of speech’.
And most importantly, communication is the doorway to positive relationships, education, and employment.
“Many members of our community cannot read and write well enough to navigate the activities of daily life. They cannot read the street signs or fill in forms at the doctor’s surgery. They don’t understand the information on the electoral enrolment form, and are unable to complete the census. They don’t know which bottle is shampoo and which is conditioner; cannot read the menu in a café or the labels on pill bottles; don’t understand the bus timetable; and ignore important letters.
Too often they feel “stupid”; self-esteem around their ankles. Their vocabularies are weak and they can’t express themselves. They often get frustrated and end up taking an oppositional stance toward authority. Or they passively withdraw and make themselves small. They might wear themselves out in hard-labour jobs, which are the only jobs they can get. If they get a job at all. Or they drift into a life of crime.
The consequences of poor communication skills are grave for them. And for society.”
Rosalie Martin, Speech Pathologist, Criminologist and Tasmanian Australian of the Year 2017.
Chatter Matters Tasmania acknowledges the traditional owners of country and their continuing connection to land, sea and community throughout lutruwita (Tasmania) and Australia. We give our respect to the muwinina people upon whose land our offices stand.