Languages are compulsory at NASHS in Year 7 with Italian and Japanese on offer. In the following years, students may choose a language as an elective to be studied with a classroom teacher or online via SIDE in Year 11 and 12.
Students cover many content areas in Year 7 such as learning how to introduce themselves and their families, classroom instructions, likes and dislikes, hobbies, where they live, etc. Students also learn about significant cultural events as they occur within the country of the language. In Japanese, students also learn to read and write in hiragana, one of the three scripts used in Japan.
During Years 8 – 10, students further develop their language skills to use increasingly more complex grammatical structures and vocabulary through a large range of topics. Year 10 prepares students wishing to continue their Language studies into their ATAR program. Currently, students are studying Italian, Japanese and French at the ATAR level through SIDE.
Language study is an ideal way for students to become global citizens as it broadens their outlook of the world and the cultures within them, and tolerance towards other nations and their people is increased. It can be exciting to be able to communicate with someone from a foreign country in their language while those people are travelling around Australia, or during times when students have the opportunity to travel to a country that speaks their target language.
Research indicates that students who learn a second language have an increased awareness of their first language. It helps students to develop a strong grammatical understanding of the English language though comparisons to that of the foreign language being learned.
NASHS generally runs a cultural and language excursion to Japan every second year. The current location of the tour is in the Kansai region focusing on Kyoto, Kobe, Sanda, Osaka and a bit further afield, Hiroshima. The tour includes a homestay and school time which helps students to gain an understanding of everyday Japanese life. Historical and cultural components are also explored through experiences and visits to various shrines, temples, museums, etc. Language is a prominent feature of the tour, enabling Japanese language students to practice language learnt in the classroom in the most authentic manner possible. The tour is generally held towards the end of the summer school holidays with applications being made available during the first term of the year before departure.