❝One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.❞
‒Frank Smith (psycholinguist)
The following is not intended as a Course/Content explanation of what we do in this Department here at St Teresa’s Catholic College; that information is available in the College’s various year level Course Handbooks.
The linguistic skill deficit regarding foreign language learning in Australia has been of grave concern for many years. Studies have shown that learning a second language has numerous benefits, including better memory retention and improved English skills. At St Teresa’s we believe that all students should experience learning a foreign language and have created a structured programme that allows for progression of learning along with continual review of previously acquired language.
In Year 7 and 8, all students study French for one semester, accessing 200 minutes of lesson time per week. Year 7 students are introduced to French using the Canadian AIM method (Accelerated Integrated Method) which insists on a French only classroom and encourages speaking through a combination of gestures, song and drama. Our philosophy towards teaching beginner French is to encourage students to enjoy learning a language and to foster the skills necessary to acquire other languages in the future. We also demonstrate to students how knowledge of English helps them to read French and explicitly teach the correct use of an online dictionary to enable students to become more independent language learners. We also introduce students to a number of useful Apps, which they can use at home to provide extra language practise. Year 8 French focuses on all the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Extension French is also available in Year 12 only (to be studied concurrently with OP French) for students with a French heritage background who are able to demonstrate advanced language capabilities beyond OP French in all four skills.
As part of our aim to increase cultural awareness throughout the school, the languages department coordinates two whole school buddy programmes during the year. In conjunction with LEXIS English College, the school community welcomes student groups from Japan and Thailand to share their culture and language with us.
At St Teresa’s we love all languages and support the development and maintenance of all heritage/other languages. Although French is the language offered by the College, the languages department is able to suggest online resources to aid language maintenance, and advise on enrolment in Brisbane School of Distance Education for more formal language tuition.
Opportunities beyond the classroom
Currently, we organise a 3-week French exchange visit to Paris every 2 years for students in Years 10-12. Students live with a French family for 3 weeks, and then welcome their French student into their home later in the year. The trip also includes an immersion experience at the Hermitage in Lyon.
Middle school students also have the opportunity to visit New Caledonia and spend time with French speaking students at our Marist sister school in Noumea.
Year 10 students have the opportunity to sit the DELF exam in October and gain and internationally recognised certificate in French.
All students are invited to participate in language competitions organised by the Modern Languages Teachers Association of Queensland (MLTAQ). The speech contest, which takes place every August, is a popular event and we have successfully entered students into this competition in a variety of different languages. Budding actors can also take part in the Queensland-wide CanFilm Languages Festival.
St Teresa’s also participates in the Language Perfect World Championships, where students from around the world compete to answer as many vocabulary questions as possible in one week via an online programme.