All Queensland State schools teach Languages. At Peregian Springs SS we teach Japanese in order to assist our students moving to our feeder high school of Coolum State High School. Japanese is taught from Prep - Year 6.
Our Japanese program is integrated with classroom programs in order to make learning Japanese more relevant.
Why a Second Language and why Japanese?
Many parents ask why we teach a second language. When Languages were first introduced in Queensland it was agreed to include both Asian and European languages, Queensland was carved up into ‘language’ areas according to the teachers available.
Japanese has a high profile as a second language due to huge publicity during the late eighties and due to our close trade and hospitality relationships with Japan. In terms of future careers there are great opportunities in trade and tourism with Japan. In fact, in Australia it is becoming necessary to have a second language in the hospitality industry. As many of our tourists come from Japan, learning the Japanese language makes good sense.
Learning a second language is beneficial in many ways. It helps us to look at the world from a different perspective and gives us an understanding of people’s differences. The cultural content is aimed at developing a positive attitude towards Japanese people.
Some interesting points about learning Japanese
Japanese people speak differently according to whom they are speaking, in order to show respect. They actually use different words or word endings when speaking to older people or people of higher rank. Shop assistants, for example, will use the highest form of respect language to their customers. Showing respect is of great importance in the Japanese culture. In English we use the same expressions to everyone. In fact the standards of English are lowering rapidly. It is interesting for the students to compare the two languages from this point of view.
Japanese uses a completely different script to English. This helps your children to see that other written forms are not just strange scribbles but very logical and methodical scripts. Comparing it to the English script, with its spelling and reading difficulties, the Japanese script is relatively simple.
The program does not expect the children to learn large lists of vocabulary or learn all of the scripts of hiragana, katakana and Kanji off by heart. The emphasis is on understanding the way Japanese people communicate and comparing their own language with another one, thus improving their understanding of English. Even when new children come to the school having no previous Japanese lessons, they are able to join in and participate very quickly due to the non-reliance on previous knowledge. Charts to refer to are readily available. Moreover, your child’s learning ability is increased because learning a language improves listening skills and forces children to think about how they use their own language which is usually just taken for granted. The program is an enjoyable one being focused on culture and includes origami, games, cooking and singing.
At Peregian Springs SS our students have access to a worthwhile and relevant Languages program. The most important skill they learn is the ability to teach themselves a second language, which is becoming increasingly important as the world grows smaller and smaller. We have chosen Japanese as a vehicle for this because it is interesting and relevant to learn. This is essential in a program that focuses on simplicity and fun in order to learn skills that will serve students for a lifetime.