2021 has been a year of firsts for the Language Department. For the first time in Merici history, we have all students from Years 7-10 maintaining their acquisition of languages. As an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, Merici encourages students to be internationally minded and prepared for a global future. We are proud to support not only the language learning of students through the Middle Years Programme (MYP), but also the cultural appreciation, cognitive benefits and openminded-ness that comes with it. We also have introduced a fourth language option for students – espagnole! Spanish is fast-growing and recognised as one of the languages of the future, with Year 7 and senior students able to select this language in 2021. We are certain that our language options of Chinese, French, Italian, and now Spanish, will keep students excited for learning languages into the future.
Our teaching staff are always innovating, with remote learning in Terms 3 and 4 an opportunity to bring new technology into the language classroom. Students were able to use online tools to test their knowledge, practice their speaking skills and pronunciation and develop their vocabularies, all while learning from home. The department has trialled Education Perfect for the first time this year with all language classes in Years 7-8. With students able to access a wealth of interactive learning resources to keep them engaged in their language of choice and support their skill development.
Celebrating the culture of languages taught here at Merici, as well as those spoken at home by our students, is something we are passionate about. This is not only driven by the Languages Department but also is evident in other aspects of school life, for example the sharing of students’ spoken languages at the St. Angela Merici Day Mass this year. We were able to come together to celebrate Chinese New Year and Bastille Day this year through PC quizzes, themed lunches from the Canteen staff, accessorising with national colours and cultural activities and games for students to try at lunch times. Thanks goes out to Féy Etherington - Arts and Culture Captain - for her contribution to the success of these events. Junior language students were able to enjoy Puss in Boots presented as a Bilingual Puppet Show in French, Italian and Spanish in Term 2.
The Language Buddies program has continued to support students’ confidence and skills in using their chosen languages. It offers tutors the opportunity to challenge themselves through teaching others and communicating their understanding of the language. Tutees are able to connect with a like-minded peer and receive the support and encouragement they need. We would love for this program to continue to grow, particularly with all students years 7-10 now studying languages.