Teachers of Unit 3/4 Language classes will quite often also have a Year 7 class as part of their teaching load. This ‘bookending’ really allows us to see the immense progress that occurs in language-learning over six short years, from students who have (in many cases) never learned the language before to students who can communicate quite complex ideas in spoken and written form. The language becomes the vehicle for delving into a range of interesting subtopics, from the environment to social issues like homelessness or racism, always with a cultural bent. To give you an idea of what our senior students in languages are currently learning and how they will be assessed on these skills and knowledge, please read the following contributions from each of the Unit 3/4 teachers:

The Unit 3/4 Japanese class has been learning about schools and the educational system in Japan. We have been focusing on aspects such as school rules, uniforms, daily activities, “kurabu katsudoo” (daily after school club activities) and “juku” (“cram schools” or tutoring schools), as well as the similarities and differences with Australia. We have worked around the key question “What would my life be like as an exchange student in Japan?” We have had some very interesting discussions, in particular about how school life would be different in Japan. In Week 6 the students will complete Outcome 3, a writing task around a “real-life” scenario where they are required to write about some of the aspects about Japanese schools studied in class. (Mr James Stavretis)

The Unit 3/4 Italian class has been learning about health (La Salute) and in particular the ways to improve diet, physical activity and stress levels. Students have listened to songs, interviews, news reports and dialogues and read articles about this topic. Of particular interest was the recognition of the ‘Dieta Mediterranea’ by UNESCO as a cultural heritage of humanity. Students have become aware of the increasing stress levels of adolescents in Italy and have been able to compare their lifestyles to those of young Italian people. They are now preparing an oral SAC in which they have to persuade me (a friend of theirs) to adopt a healthier lifestyle. They will have three to four minutes to use as much culturally rich and appropriate language as possible. In order to respond to on-the-spot questions, it is vital that students have a broad knowledge and understanding of the three focus areas. It is exciting to see the variety of ways that students have responded to the task and how they are extending themselves in order to manipulate the role play to their advantage. (Mrs Cenza Basile)

The Unit 3/4 French class has been learning about Paris and its ‘quartiers’. We have focused on three areas in particular: the Marais, Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Montmartre. The students have been studying a range of texts such as video clips and podcasts to learn about the history, tourist attractions, restaurants and ‘vibe’ of each area. Each student has selected one quartier to talk about in the oral SAC. This SAC requires students to engage in a three- to four-minute role-play with the teacher, focusing on negotiating a solution to a personal issue. The scenario is that two friends are going on a holiday to Paris and must negotiate the best itinerary for the trip. The ‘friend’ (the teacher) has some different ideas about what they should see and do in Paris. Students therefore need to be very well prepared from a content and language point of view so as to be able to respond to on-the-spot questions and persuade the teacher to visit their chosen quartier in this unscripted role-play. (Mrs Fleur Davison)

Fleur Davison
Learning Languages Leader