Learning languages broadens students’ horizons about the personal, social, cultural and employment opportunities that are available in an increasingly interconnected world. Students at St Bernadette’s learn Chinese-Mandarin as their specialist LOTE (Languages other than English) subject as China is recognised as Australia’s biggest trading partner and will be increasingly linked to future job opportunities for our children. Learning Mandarin also provides grounding for further learning as many of the secondary schools in the area teach Mandarin as a LOTE subject.
The LOTE program at St Bernadette’s aims to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to ensure that students communicate in the language they are learning, understand the relationship between language, culture and learning and develop respect for diversity and difference.
2020 has seen the start of a new and innovative approach to Languages learning (Chinese, Mandarin).
We have been researching alternatives with Catholic Education Melbourne to ensure that the languages program provided at St Bernadette’s is innovative, effective and engaging for student learning. This approach, called Teachers As Co-learners, will see students, teachers, staff and the school community all learning the Mandarin language together.
All classes will have two shorter sessions of Mandarin per week with Xiaoying (Chen lǎo shī) teaching students and the classroom teachers as co learners.
The teachers will then continue practising and teaching short sharp lessons of Mandarin throughout the week, incorporating the functional words and phrases they co-learnt. As we all progress, we should be able to use more and more conversational language throughout the day, such as saying good morning, asking to go to the toilet and other everyday classroom language.