Project based approach to languages

Wednesday 23 Mar 2022

Nǐ hǎo!

You have probably seen the beautiful lanterns, calligraphy or artworks come home over the past term. These have been the product of students' active learning in our new Specialist subject ‘Languages’.

There are many cognitive benefits to learning a second language including improving memory, problem-solving and critical thinking, and there are also important benefits of exposing children to other cultures including developing an appreciation of global citizenship, communication and empathy for others.

Languages are a hybrid of both of these important elements. Languages are taught through a project based learning approach (PBL), where students learn through tackling big questions and real-world challenges.

Why a project based approach to languages?

  • Student engagement and enjoyment;
  • Meaningful real-world learning;
  • Development of twenty-first-century skills (contemporary competencies);
  • Community connection and service;
  • Collaboration; and
  • Students see the value of what they are learning.

Miss Mariia Svistunova or ‘Miss Nova’, as the children like to call her, has some engaging and dynamic projects in store that will help cultivate some of the Living Faith contemporary competencies such as initiative, communication, global awareness, service and creativity.

What is each year group up to in Languages?

The big question students are tackling in Semester 1 is: How can we teach others the Chinese language and culture?

  • Prep students are learning to share their knowledge of the Chinese language and culture by engaging in games, songs and craft activities. Our Preps have had fun using proper calligraphy paper to start writing some Chinese characters.
  • Students in Years 1 and 2 are creating picture books and magazines to teach Prep students interesting facts about China. Students will demonstrate how to count out loud, read and write the Chinese characters for basic numbers.
  • Students in Years 3 and 4 are designing a 2023 calendar to demonstrate the key elements of Chinese culture that make it unique. They will use Chinese characters for months and dates. Students will explain their design choices and demonstrate their language skills by counting and expressing common greetings.
  • In Years 5 and 6, students pondered ways of effectively teaching others basic Chinese whilst making it fun and engaging. They are designing, prototyping and building board games that expose younger students to Chinese culture including, everyday life, festivals and celebrations, food and manners. They will also incorporate the Chinese number system and common greetings using Chinese characters, as part of their design. Students will then create an advertisement to promote their game, utilising spoken Chinese.

- Bianca Ravi, Director of Learning