We understand the importance of second language acquisition in today’s global society and offer a broad range for our students to choose.
The School offers four languages (Chinese, French, German and Japanese) from Year 6 - 12. Boys choose a language in Year 6 and can change it going into Year 7. The students then study that same language for a minimum of two years, although it is recommended they continue their studies into Year 12.
Last year, the Group of Eight, Australia’s leading universities, produced a discussion paper that stressed the urgent need to improve language education. We cannot rely on the "complacent assumption that English is the only language we need” – the fact that so many speak it or learn it should only heighten awareness of competition from non-native English speakers in an overcrowded global jobs market.
From 2011 (Year 12 for current Year 9 students) some universities (including UWA) are offering a bonus to students learning a second language – this decision is a huge boost for language learning and teaching.
Year 8 – 9
A year long course covers the four strands of language learning – reading, writing, speaking and listening. At this stage of second language acquisition, it is important for boys to understand the peculiarities of studying a new language. It can be compared to learning a new instrument or a new sport – it takes regular practice! We ask that our students regularly do some activity in their chosen language for a minimum of 15 minutes most days, even if no specific homework is set. This can include:
- Internet games/sites given by the teacher
- Reading material from books supplied
- Completing homework activities
- Learning and spelling new words (it is assumed that all students do this on a continual basis)
Year 10 – 12:
Having followed the advice given during earlier years, boys in their language classes are in a strong position to continue and move forward confidently to tackle upper school languages courses to WACE level. Students are expected to undertake a language activity for a minimum of 15-20 minutes per evening even if no homework is set. This can include:
- Language Assistants
In Year 10, 11 and 12, boys will study a reader from term two. In Year 10 this is a mystery story, in Year 11 we are looking at Guy de Maupassant and in Year 12 we are studying Alphonse Daudet. Boys are expected to read these texts independently in preparation for class. We have also introduced a new French magazine, ‘Bien-Dire’, available in hard copy as well as CD form for the students. The importance of regular study continues from lower school with boys at this level expected to spend at least 20 minutes on most days on language activity. It is vital for students to understand the need for as much exposure as possible. We have a part time French assistant, Sonia Haidri who works predominantly with the Year 12 boys.
Boys will study a reader from term two. Boys are expected to read these texts independently in preparation for class. We have also introduced German magazines as well as current affairs. It is vital for students to understand the need for as much exposure as possible. We are very lucky to have Christoph Gross with us this year, who has joined us from Germany and is working with individual students at least once per week/fortnight on speaking skills as well as assisting teachers in the classes.
Japanese and Chinese
The above information is the same for Japanese and Chinese. Yu-Ya Kanzaki has joined us from Japan, and fulfils a role of working with individual students on speaking skills regularly. We also welcome a number of teaching students from ECU and UWA and the standard is always quite high. Chinese is only offered to Year 8 students, as we have just introduced this language.
TOURS AND EXCHANGES
CCGS is very active in the area of language tours/exchanges as we see them as being highly beneficial to students. We offer them in all our languages except Chinese but hope to introduce this as our classes increase.
A bi-annual tour to France is held in the Easter holidays. We join Iona for this tour which has proved very popular with all students and incorporates some experience in a French school, Paris, battlefields of World War I and exchange with other schools to La Reunion.
Our inaugural Germany tour will take place in July 2008 when the boys will spend three weeks visiting a host family, as well as travelling to Berlin and Munich. There is also a longer exchange programme to Germany held during the Christmas break.
There is a bi-annual tour to visit our sister school, Hotoku Gakuen High School near Osaka, which runs in the Easter holidays and includes a family stay and lots of exciting side trips.
Student Exchange Links
Nacel Australia – http://www.nacel.com.au
Rotary WA – http://www.youthexchange.asn.au/
Opportunities also exist for GAP year students to work as language assistants in France, Germany and Japan.
WHY STUDY A LANGUAGE?
Throughout the world, but particularly in Australia, there is an ever-increasing need for second language acquisition for a variety of reasons. Our government as well as leading educational establishments are concerned that a lack of interest in second language learning will lead young Australians to being less competitive internationally.
Students are encouraged to study a language and continue to study it at university alongside other disciplines – like law, engineering, commerce, economics, medicine or tourism. They could then compete more effectively in the global employment market, with an edge over comparable, but monolingual graduates when seeking work. To quote Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard in a recent interview with The Age:
“We want young Australians to be coming out of school with the tools that they need to work in a modern environment, and increasingly that environment will require them to be able to converse with people in their own language.”
The study of languages other than English is the weakest part of the key learning areas in Australian schools, and they point to the fact that more than 85% of students who graduate from high school today do so without a language other than English.
This is a concerning situation when we know that this is a globalised economy. It is good news for educators that Kevin Rudd has announced a $68 million plan to revive Asian languages, however in our view it is not so much which language students study, more that they are able to adapt and learn to use the skills they have acquired by learning a second language. Obvious skills are improvement in their own literacy, greater knowledge of their own language (an argument often supported by English teachers), an awareness of other cultures and a more global view of the world.
CCGS sees the acquisition of a second language as a vital element in a boys’ education and as such we offer not just a broad range of languages to choose from but also a varied and practical range of courses.
To view the blog of the International Year of Languages in Australia, go to this address: http://iyl2008.blogspot.com/
LANGUAGES IN THE NEWS
There is much international encouragement for languages. The 61st General Assembly of the United Nations has proclaimed 2008 as the International Year of Languages.
“Languages are indeed essential to the identity of groups and individuals and to their peaceful co-existence. They are a strategic factor of progress towards sustainable development and a harmonious relationship between the global and the local context. Only if multilingualism is fully accepted can all languages find their place in our globalised world.”
- Words taken from Mr Koichiro Matsuura, director-General of UNESCO
While the International Year of Languages comes at a time when linguistic diversity is increasingly threatened, language is fundamental to communication of all kinds. It is communication that makes change and development possible in human society. The use of language can open a door, or close it, for large segments of society in many parts of the world. Languages are a precious link to the past and the future.
DIVERSE LANGUAGE SKILLS WILL OPEN THE WORLD TO AUSTRALIANS
(Adapted from The Age, 2 January 2008)
Australia should take stock and consider how we, as individuals and as a nation, make the most of our language resources. We are not encouraging enough young Austalians to maintain and develop their bilingualism or to acquire a second language. Half the children in compulsory education in Australia are not being taught a language other than English in a mainstream school. The majority of those taking another language are in programs with insufficient time allocation. The retention rate to year 12 is only about 13% nationally with slightly better results in independent schools. Universities too have suffered – the number of languages offered has fallen and in some cases has become precarious.
The learning of another language brings un in line with other countries. In most of Europe and Asia, two languages in addition to one’s first are an essential goal of the curriculum. EG Finland consistently outperforms Australia in comparative measures of educational attainment, including literacy tests, does not have problems with a “crowded curriculum” – often given as a reason for not adding a language to a school programme – although students take three languages throughout their schooling and about half study a fourth language.
English linguist David Graddol predicts a bleak future for monolingual English speakers. State and federal governments should collaborate in a program to raise the availability and quality of learning on languages other than English at school and promote motivations for it.
Our new government also intends to charge a National Curriculum Board with deciding if language should be compulsory. “Compulsory” has a negative connotation in Australia, seems mainly and issue with languages; it is taken fro granted for mathematics, science and other core learning areas. Unless languages are compulsory form prep to year 10, like other core areas, they will not be taken seriously.
2008 as International Year of Languages is an opportunity for us to act on a number of issues relating to language learning. The language lobby has argued long and hard about the “national scandal” of a monolingual Australia, where children spend less time on learning languages than students in any other member country of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Everyone is concerned: Business, parents and Educators.
In the last year, the Australian Chamber of commerce and Industry, called for the compulsory learning of a foreign language for children from 7 years or earlier. The Australian Council of State School Organisations, representing parents of children in state schools, has joined in the call as have arts deans of the top group of 8 universities who issued a paper, Languages in Crisis. Beyond the benefits of language learning as a tool for education, there are geopolitical economic, strategic and cultural imperative in an outward-looking Australia.