For the Languages Department, 2022 has been a year of promise. After 2 years of being largely cut off from the world, languages teaching staff are excited by the gradual reopening of borders and the opportunity to expand the horizons of our students internationally. We have been working with World Education Programs Australia who offer exchange programs for students in Years 10-12 and will also be seeking host families in and around the ACT soon. With a hope to offer overseas tours once again to Spanish, French, Italian and Chinese speaking countries, we are looking to develop international partnerships with schools in the coming years.
In collaboration with the Arts and Culture Captain and Committee members, the Department has been innovative in designing celebrations authentic to each of the languages we learn at Merici College. This year, students enjoyed tasty French baked goods while listening to a student-requested French playlist to celebrate Bastille Day and raising $340 for Médecins Sans Frontières. Bocce and football on the oval were on offer for the community to celebrate La Festa Della Repubblica. Día de la Hispanidad, celebrating the diversity of the Spanish speaking world, was marked by Pastoral Care competitions and a themed canteen menu enjoyed at lunch. Students wore red and participated in a Red Packet Lucky Draw to celebrate Chinese New Year. Beyond this, Merici is recognising the cultural diversity of our student population with prayers, quizzes, activities and posters to acknowledge festivals and traditions special to our students and their families.
In the classroom, High Impact Teaching Strategies, backed by the science of learning, are being embedded to support the success of students in their language acquisition. A Merici languages classroom aims for the full participation of students, regular review of prior learning and improved recall and memory. This gives students a strong base from which they can inquire into the culture and language and apply their learning in new situations.
Languages remain a core component of learning for all internationally minded IB students, and the department is growing as we build to offering 4 languages to all MYP students in Years 7-10, with students continuing to choose languages at the senior level. Prospective Year 7 2023 students experienced a languages lesson as part of Be a Merici Girl days throughout the year. We have welcomed new staff to the Department this year, Ms. Dora Chen in Chinese and Mr. Jason Kohlman in French. With the prospect of offering senior language courses virtually to students from across the Diocese, the future of languages at Merici College is bright.
Miss. Clare Freeman