Caladenia Primary music teacher nominated for ARIA

Music teacher Deb Skelton with Year 6 students. Picture: Matt Jelonek
Music teacher Deb Skelton with Year 6 students. Picture: Matt Jelonek

STUDENTS of a Canning Vale primary school can now sing in different languages thanks to their music teacher, a nominee for 2018 ARIA Music Teacher of the Year.

Caladenia Primary School music teacher Deb Skelton said she started teaching songs in Australian Sign Language a couple of years ago and started to teach songs in Noongar this year.

Mrs Skelton said 650 kids from Year 1 – 6 sang ‘I am Australian’ in three languages for NAIDOC week in July.

“We sang the chorus of ‘I Am Australian’, translated into Noongar and signed that in AUSLAN as well,” she said.

“Signing acts as a bridge between the Noongar language and the English language.”

Mrs Skelton said she worked with her students to interpret songs and started with translating keywords before attempting sections of the song.

“This year in the Harmony Day assembly, a particular song had greetings in 10 different languages,” she said.

“We’ve added each of the students’ greetings and ended up with over 20 languages.”

Mrs Skelton is in the running for ARIA Music Teacher of the Year Award among three other nominees across the country.

Mrs Skelton said she was surrounded by music all her life and had been teaching music in the classroom for 18 years.

“Music was my favourite subject in school and I too was inspired by my music teachers,” she said.

“It never occurred to me that music wouldn’t be in my path.”

Public voting is open until November 21 at

The award will be presented at the ARIA award ceremony in Sydney on November 28.