Aleksandra Ceferin MLTAV Award 2008

Modern Language Teachers' Association of Victoria Awards 2008

The LOTE Conference 2008 held on 9 May at the Hemisphere Conference Centre in Moorrabin was the venue for the presentation of the awards. Several teachers of languages were honoured for their contribution to language teaching over a long period of time.

Aleksandra (Sasha) Ceferin and Flora Osorio received recognition for Exceptional and Outstanding Contribution to Languages Teaching in Victoria; Faye Ennis-Harris and Wendy Morris were awarded MLTAV life membership, for exceptional contribution to MLTAV and LOTE studies in Victoria. During the awards ceremony the career citation was read aloud for each recipient.


Sasha Ceferin has shown tremendous dedication to the teaching and learning of both German and Slovenian in Victoria. She has also mentored and supported a wide range of teachers of other languages. She has made an invaluable contribution to language teaching in Victoria over more than thirty years.

Aleksandra (Sasha) Ceferin (B.A., M.A., Dip.Ed) was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia and completed her university degrees in Melbourne, Australia.

She completed a Master's degree in German literature at Monash University in Melbourne, and worked as a Teaching Fellow in the Department of German and General and Comparative Literature.

She later completed a Diploma of Education and taught German and English at Monash High School where she was Coordinator of LOTE and English, Curriculum Coordinator, and played a key role in the innovative restructuring of the school's curriculum.

Sasha Ceferin introduced the Slovenian language into the Victorian school system, through the then Saturday School of Modern Languages, and established the Slovenian Teachers Association of Victoria (STAV) in 1976. She was instrumental in the accreditation of the Slovenian language as a Higher School Certificate subject in the state school system. She wrote Slovenian curriculum documents at all levels, and contributed to all the curriculum. It was pioneering work, the first time Slovenian language was introduced into the Australian school system or anywhere in the English-speaking world.

In 1981 she produced a Slovenian Literary Reader and Slovenian Folk Songs for the use of Slovenian classes. In 2002 she developed, together with Sandi Ceferin the Slovenian CSF & VCE Course Outline, published by the Victorian School of Languages. Her book Slovenian Language in Australia; 25 years of Slovenian language in Victorian schools, constitutes a permanent historical record of language teaching during a time of great educational change in Victoria by tracing the progress of a smaller candidature language in the educational system.

Sasha has served on a number of consultative and educational committees: the Australian Ethnic Affairs Council, State Ethnic Broadcasting Advisory Committee, Victorian Institute for Secondary Education Review and Re-accreditation Committees. For many years she has been an MLTAV committee member.

She was a member of the VCAB Field of Studies Committee for Languages Other Than English in 1986, which initiated the process of radical reform of curriculum and assessment at the senior secondary level in Victoria. She took an active part in professional development strategies, inducting language teachers into the radical changes made to the Victorian school system.

In 1991 Sasha was appointed Area Manager and later Assistant Principal for Curriculum and Professional Development of the Victorian School of Languages (VSL). In that role she initiated professional development and curriculum strategies with seminars, course development workshops and consultations to assist in the introduction of the reformed CSF and VCE curriculum.

Retired from the Victorian School of Languages in 1996, she has devoted her time to varied activities concerned with promoting Slovenian language and culture, such as organizing literary readings by Slovenian authors, promoting Slovenian books, writing articles and organizing the first student exchange program between Australia and Slovenia (2002-2003). Her aim is to heighten awareness, understanding and appreciation of other cultures through language. Her belief that there is an intrinsic value in knowing other cultures and languages has moved her to explore and inform about the one culture with which she is most familiar – the Slovenian. She also believes that Australia, with its integration of many cultures and languages is an ideal place for such an exploration.

Her most important project later became the development of a very valuable new web site –Thezaurus, for the STAV with the support of the LOTElinx project. Sasha has been President of the Institute for Slovenian Studies of Victoria Inc. and has been director of this website since 1998. Thezaurus has now become the focal point of the institute's activities. Their projects are focussed on innovative online language and cultural resources located on the web.

Sasha is also the author of many articles on Slovenian history and culture in the publication Sloveniana Webzine. She has initiated Galeria Sloveniana, which displays her photographic work on the country and its culture, and includes Australian photo galleries.

In 2004 the Government of the Republic Slovenia awarded Aleksandra Ceferin the prestigious national Educational Award for her achievements for Slovenian language outside Slovenia, the only person living and working outside Slovenia to have received this award.

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