STAV 1976 – 1998
In 1976 the first steps were taken to introduce Slovenian into the Australian school system. Aleksandra Ceferin (BA.MA.DipEd) made the first official approaches and by the end of the year founded Slovenian Teachers’ Association of Victoria (STAV). Its aim was to garner all teachers with Australian and/or Slovenian qualifications and provide a support group for the teaching of Slovenian language. Preparations for the commencement of classes in the Saturday School of Modern Languages included collecting names and addresses of the first 140 students for enrolment in 1977 in three school centres of the metropolitan area of Melbourne Two hour language classes every Saturday morning began in February 1977.
STAV had many functions. It was responsible for promotion, student enrolment, recruitment of teachers, curriculum, selection and ordering of suitable course books and L list dictionaries and examinations. It was also responsible for the introduction and maintenance of the matriculation/Higher School Certificate, accredited in 1980 for the secondary school authority Victorian Institute of Secondary Education (VISE) and for the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Board (VCAB) in 1991.
Both marked far-reaching reforms in Victorian school education and the accreditation of Slovenian placed it at the forefront of change in course development, methodology and assessment procedures.
In 1986 the organization changed, adapting to new needs and a changing school population, to Slovenian Language Teachers, Parents and Students Association of Victoria.
Slovenian classes in the Victorian School of languages continued, however with diminishing enrolments. There was a significant difference in the level of language skills of the third and fourth generation students enrolling in Slovenian classes, Slovenian was no longer the language of their family and home, their exposure to it minimal. The adjustment to teaching Slovenian as a second language needed to be made.
This occurred in the 1990s, a time of major educational reforms in Victoria. The changes were inaugurated by a reformed senior secondary studies (Level 11 and 12) two year course and matriculation examination, named Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) During the nineties the remaining primary and secondary levels of school education (1 to 10) underwent a similar groundbreaking change and ushered in a new curriculum and assessment model – Curriculum and Assessment Framework (CSF). It meant a major change in approach to language teaching, and led to production to a series of significant Slovenian curriculum documents (Course Outlines) from 1992 to 2003.
From 1995 Victorian teachers of Slovenian participated in the annual professional development course, Seminar of Teachers of Slovenian From Abroad, in Slovenia, annually organised by the Office for Slovenes Abroad, the Department for School, Science and Sport, of the Republic of Slovenia, and Institute for Education.
The nineties also ushered in an increasingly greater role of information technology in school education. The Slovenian Teachers Association of Victoria, received funding from the Department of Education, Training and Employment of Victoria to develop Slovenianlinx, a web site for the use of teachers and students of Slovenian. This became the basis of thezaurus.com.
ISSV Inc. 1998 –
The Institute for Slovenian Studies of Victoria was incorporated in 1998, with a broadened definition of membership and aims. The focus was on the use of communication technology as a major tool of communication and access to language and culture resources.
In May 1998, a team of three ISSV members: Aleksandra Ceferin, Bojan Ažman and Sandi Ceferin undertook the project of creating the Thezaurus web site: The team had the combined expertise of language teaching methodology, curriculum development, classroom teaching, supported by new web technologies and tools in the development of emerging web pedagogy.
The aim from the beginning was to address the needs of the target group of English speakers – senior secondary students and adults, and so broadened its initially intended function as a teaching and communication tool for teachers and students of Victoria.
In 1999 the website www.thezaurus.com was published with two major projects, Slovenian Language Resources and Sloveniana Webzine, with Forums and web links, with a view of providing language and culture material. Other projects were published and expanded in the following years: Galeria Sloveniana, Webclassroom, Literator, and Thezaurus Forums. Other projects of ISSV were: Five Authors Reading Tour (2001), the publication 25 years of Slovenian Language in Australia (2003), Slovenian CSF and VCE Course Outline (2003), Student Exchange (2003), Slovenia photographic project (2003-2006).
Since 2005, ISSV and the Slovenian Ethnographic Museum, collaborated on an exhibition of Slovenian Handicrafts In Australia: www.rocnadela.org.