Learning Italian not only allows students to communicate in another language, but also strengthens their understanding of language conventions and the process of communication. It shines a cultural spotlight upon Italy and, in doing so, assists in developing learners’ understandings of their own culture, values and identity. Through learning a language, children have an appreciation of diversity and difference, gaining a worldview of experiences and perspectives.
Students in Years 5 – 6 receive one hour of Italian instruction each week. During this time, they are given opportunities to communicate both orally and in written form. In order to capture the students’ interest, the topics are familiar and student-centred. For example, the students learn about family, hobbies and school. The outcome of the program is ultimately for students to acquire communication skills in the Italian language. It also develops an intercultural competence, as students begin to understand the roles language and culture play in communication.
From 2010, Burrendah Primary School students in Year 6 have had the exciting opportunity to apply to join the Japanese Academic Extension Program in partnership with Willetton Senior High School. This program is the only one of its kind and is available to students from Burrendah, Rostrata and Willetton Primary Schools. The program is a full year course and takes place on campus at Willetton SHS where students can access specialist facilities and the expertise of the Japanese language teachers. Selected Burrendah students go to Willetton SHS for one hour each week to learn Japanese in an academic extension environment. This is the first time such an opportunity has been available in our area.
Schools in the Willetton cluster have been identified by the Department of Education as a hub of schools for Japanese language learning. We have been awarded substantial funding to encourage the learning of Japanese and enhance students' achievement. This is to support Federal goals of increasing the number of students graduating from secondary school with competence in an Asian language through the National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program.