A Passport to the World

May 02, 2016 at 11:14 AM

Over the last term, students and staff have watched in awe as a stunning mural has taken shape along the side of the College Languages department. Headed by the words, ‘A second language is a passport to the world,’ the large scale artwork of iconic international monuments, temples and buildings has been single-handedly undertaken by very talented Year 12 student, Elise Hinomoto. After school, at weekends and through the holidays, Elise has quietly worked away so that each passing week has brought something new to the wall.

Collating each of the elements, Elise transferred the outlines of the monuments onto the wall with the use of a projector to maintain the correct scale of her original plan. From the Eiffel Tower in France, to the pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China and many places in between, Elise has carefully applied layer upon layer of paint to create a fabulous addition to the College campus that draws attention to the learning of languages.

There are over 7,000 known languages alive in the world today. Twenty-three of these make up the native tongue of 4.1 billion people. New Zealand is becoming an increasingly multi-cultural society and the College alone has students representing 33 different nationalities with many of these students already able to speak two languages and maybe learning a third or fourth.

The benefits of learning a new language are multi-faceted and go well beyond the ability to communicate in another tongue. Head of Languages, Mrs Christine Leishman said, ‘To risk a cliché, ‘the world is a village’, more so now than ever before, and that reality is becoming sharper. Naturally there is the attraction and benefit of being able to communicate with a whole nation of people, and the social and potential economic benefits that go with that. But more than ever before, we are travelling for personal pleasure, for business, for the exchange of information and services, and simply to widen our human experience.’

English, although spoken widely, is not the only dominant language of our world and New Zealand students who are able to speak and understand another language and culture open themselves to a wealth of opportunities. With a second or third language, they could well become sought after ‘commodities’ on the global employment market. Speaking a second language also requires you to think on your feet, to read quickly and accurately for understanding, and to be able to communicate clearly and with confidence. These are ideal skills that a budding lawyer, diplomat or trade delegate, to name just a few vocations, would gain great benefits from.

Elise has a vested interest in the Language department. She is bi-lingual, speaking both English and Japanese but is also learning Spanish. She has it in mind to pursue architecture when she leaves College but admits that she would like to become an architect who looks at things a little differently, from a more artistic angle!

Elise’s commitment to this project has been unstinting, building up to a total of 138 hours of painting between January and April! The artwork is quite breath-taking in its detail and has proved a draw card as staff and students stop to admire the mural that has helped to identify the Languages area within campus. The College is very grateful to Elise for her enormous contribution. Well done, it’s awe-inspiring!

Studying languages at the College
Chinese, French, Japanese, Spanish and Latin

The importance of studying a second language has long been recognised and at College, the introduction begins at Year 7. For some students, this may well be the first time that they’ve encountered learning a language other than their own.

In Year 7, the students are introduced to two second languages, when they study a European language, either French or Spanish, and an Asian language, either Japanese or Chinese, for a semester each. Themes such as personal introduction and an understanding of the country of origin are assessed. In Year 8, the skills introduced in Year 7 are extended in a full-year course in one language. At Year 9 level, students have the option of continuing to build on what they have learnt in Year 7 & 8, or taking a beginner course in a new language, including Latin. Year 10 expands on the understanding developed in Year 9, with the opportunity for advanced students to undertake at least one NCEA standard. Chinese, Japanese, French, Spanish and Latin are offered at NCEA Level 1-3 for those students who have successfully completed the Year 9 and 10 courses. These languages are also available as part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma in Year 12 and 13, including an ab initio (beginner) Spanish option for those who have not previously studied a language.



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