In NSW high schools, languages is a key learning area.
Language study allows students to develop communication skills, learn about languages as systems and explore the relationship between language and culture. Students engage with the linguistic and cultural diversity of societies and reflect on their understanding of social interactions.
The study of a language is compulsory for 100 hours in one continuous school year from Year 7 to Year 10, but preferably in Years 7 or 8.
In Years 11 and 12, NSW schools offer a wide variety of languages, catering for beginning students to background speakers.
Quite often as language teachers, we are asked why students should have to do a language at all.
Below is an excerpt from the Board of Studies information for parents and community about the mandatory courses in Years 7-10. This can be found on the Board of Studies website.
Students must study at least 100 hours in one language, to be completed over one continuous 12-month period. When students have completed the mandatory 100 hours of language study, they may continue the study of that language as an elective for the School Certificate and/or choose to study another language.
A language course provides students with the opportunity to gain effective skills in communicating in the chosen language, to explore the relationships between languages and English, and to develop an understanding of the cultures associated with the chosen language.
What will students learn about in the study of a modern language?
- Students will develop the knowledge, understanding and skills necessary for effective interaction in a language
- They will explore the nature of languages as systems by making comparisons between English and the chosen language
- Students will also develop intercultural understanding by reflecting on similarities and differences between their own and the target culture.
What will students learn to do in the study of a modern language?
- Students will develop the skills to communicate in another language. They will listen and respond to spoken language. They will learn to read and respond to written texts in the language they are learning. Students will establish and maintain communication in familiar situations using the language
- Students will explore the diverse ways in which meaning is conveyed by comparing and contrasting features of the language
- They will develop a capacity to interact with people, their culture and their language.
The study of Japanese provides students with opportunities for continued learning and for future employment, both domestically and internationally, in many areas such as commerce, tourism, hospitality and international relations.