Language learning at Chevalier College has received a boost this year which is seeing a ‘little piece of Japan’ emerging on campus.
High quality education in languages enables students to respond positively to the opportunities and challenges of their rapidly changing world. Chevalier College recognises that the study of languages provides opportunities for students to become more accepting of diversity in their communities, more respectful of others and more aware of their place in the international community.
The study of Japanese has been an integral part of the language curriculum at the college for more than 20 years. This year, the language faculty has welcomed Japanese language teacher Samantha Combes, who brings a wealth of experience from teaching positions across New South Wales in both regional and metropolitan schools. A relative newcomer to the Southern Highlands, Samantha is connected to Chev through her husband Joshua – a past Chev student from the Class of 1993 who, coincidentally, participated in the school’s first ever language studies exchange trip to Japan.
Settling into her new role has been an exciting time for ‘Combes sensai’ and fellow teaching staff Leah Robertson and Bruce Woods (Leader of Learning – Languages) at Chev where a deeper focus on Japanese language studies has enriched the learning experiences for students this year.
The Japanese classrooms, now relocated to D Block, are filled with learning resources and attractive Japanese decor, including a special gift from past student Kenji Sasai (Class of 2014) – a yoroikabuto (Samurai armour and helmet) that his family used to display on Children’s Day (Japanese celebration) when he was a young boy, to pray for his health and happiness.
Flipped classroom lessons – where students take responsibility for their own learning, use of technology to facilitate the development of listening, speaking, reading and writing skills – are in line with the introduction of the new K-10 Language syllabus.
Art Enrichment students are creating a Hokusai-wave mural to go on the D Block wall outside the Japanese classrooms; and a cross-faculty Japanese garden is also planned for a space outside the Japanese classrooms. The intention is for Year 10 Design and Technology students to design and then create the garden during Terms 3 and 4.
The study of Japanese provides access to the language and cultural understanding of one of the global community’s most technologically advanced societies and economies. Students engage with elements of modern Japan, including popular culture such as anime, manga, music and fashion, as well as with the rich cultural tradition of this part of Asia.
Contemporary research and practice have established a clear link between the learning of languages and improved literacy skills for both background speakers and second or additional language learners. Through the development of communicative skills in a language and understanding of how language works as a system, students further develop literacy in English, through close attention to detail, accuracy, logic and critical reasoning.
“One language sets you in a corridor for life.
Two languages open every door along the way.”
– Frank Smith
Students in Year 8 at Chev have the opportunity to study Japanese, and may then choose to pursue their studies as an elective subject in Years 9, 10, 11 and 12.
There are opportunities for students undertaking a course in a language to enrich their experiences through a range of international programs. Students of Japanese have an opportunity to travel to Japan as part of our long-standing reciprocal relationship with Murasakino High School, our sister school in Kyoto. Digital classroom connections are also planned between our two schools to give the students authentic interaction opportunities.
Students of Japanese develop an appreciation for the place of Australia within the Asia region, including the interconnections of languages and cultures, peoples and communities, histories and economies. They develop understanding of global citizenship, and reflect on their own heritage, values, culture and identity.
Future employment for students of Japanese may be found within Australia and internationally in areas such as commerce, tourism, entertainment, hospitality, education, sport, visual arts, performing arts and international relations.
Samantha Combes to teach Japanese at Chevalier College