The value of a second language
Moving between countries, cultures and languages has become more commonplace because of globalisation, increased ease of travel and advanced information and communication technologies. High quality education in languages enables students to respond positively to the opportunities and challenges of their rapidly changing world.
The study of languages provides opportunities for students to become more accepting of diversity, more respectful of others and more aware of their place in the international community.
Contemporary research and practice have established a clear link between the learning of languages and improved literacy skills for both background speakers and second language learners. Even limited experience of the learning of languages is shown to increase metalinguistic awareness and enhance general cognitive development.
The process of teaching and learning languages focuses on linguistic systems and patterns. The need to move between linguistic systems assists students to develop enhanced mental dexterity.
Year 8 students are currently studying the French or Spanish 100 hours program. These are introductory courses where the students learn many aspects of the French/Spanish language, culture and history.
Why study French?
French is one of the major languages in the world. It is used in parts of Europe, Canada, North America, Africa, the Middle East, the West Indies, the Indian Ocean region and the South Pacific region close to Australia, namely New Caledonia, Tahiti and Vanuatu.
French has been, by tradition, the language of diplomacy. It is an official language in a large number of international organisations including the United Nations Organisation, the European Union, the South Pacific Commission, the Organisation for African Unity and the Olympic Games. It boasts a strong presence in international conferences.
For more than 200 years, Australia has had strong connections with France. In the twenty-first century, a strong relationship continues to exist through trade and investment, communication technologies, education, scientific and technological research, and cultural exchange.
French, English and other European languages share a common linguistic link with Latin. Through the study of French, students will experience and appreciate the richness and diversity of the art, cuisine, literature, film and music of French-speaking communities.
France is one of the leading destinations for Australian travellers. The ability to communicate in French enriches this experience and provides students with opportunities for continued learning and for future employment, both domestically and internationally, in areas such as commerce, tourism, hospitality and international relations.
Why study Spanish?
Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. It is the official language of 21 countries and one of the official languages of the United Nations and the European Union. Spanish, English and other European languages share a common linguistic link with Latin.
Australia has strong connections through trade with Spanish-speaking nations, particularly those within the Asia-Pacific region. The Spanish language is widely spoken within the Australian community. Opportunities exist to hear and use the language in real-life situations. Spanish-speaking residents of Australia make significant contributions to the economic, intellectual, cultural and social affairs of the nation.
For students with a Spanish-speaking background, the study of Spanish consolidates and reinforces language skills needed to maintain links with Spanish-speaking communities. It provides them with opportunities to experience and deepen their understanding of the traditions and culture of their heritage.
The study of Spanish provides students with opportunities for continued learning and for future employment, both domestically and internationally, in areas such as commerce, tourism, hospitality and international relations.