The short answer is; a lot. The longer answer can be found in the article below.
As the John McGlashan community, you hear things about subjects or entire departments, so now is the time of the year when we reflect on the year that has been as this informs how we will go forward.
All three languages have been busy this year and all three for different reasons and in various ways. Languages Week in August has been a highlight of the year, where we spend a week celebrating and recognising not only the three main languages taught at the school (Te reo Māori, Spanish and German) but also the presence and interest in other languages around our community. As language is often represented through culture and food brings everyone together, the emphasis was yet again on food. From 'Churros' to the 'Hangi' and also 'Schneckennudeln' and 'Brezeln'; every day provided students with a new challenge of the taste buds, which they gladly accepted. Beyond this, it was the year 12 language students who planned and executed other cultural activities like the piñata in the library or the cultural quiz for all students.
While Languages Week is a highlight of the year, the language classes are always a lively place, and this can be seen by all the exciting things that are going on throughout the year. Here are just a few highlights:
Te reo Māori
In term three Te reo Māori saw our Yr 7 and 8 students heavily involved with learning a range of waiata for the recent Polynesian festival. This was an enjoyable experience by all those who were involved where an appreciation for Māori waiata was gained, and soloists for future kapa haka performances were identified.
Most recently these same students have been keeping themselves busy by researching their family tree in order to describe the members of their family in te reo Māori. They did a fantastic job of using the Māori translation in a full sentence alongside an image from every member of their immediate and wider family.
The Yr 10 students have been busy learning all about the powhiri or welcome process. They have just completed a mock powhiri on the school grounds where each student was given the opportunity to speak as the tangata whenua or as the manuhiri. Our next step is to use this in a more formal setting with actual visitors or manuhiri involved.
Español - Spanish
The Spanish classes have been working hard in their first year as a year 11 NCEA cohort and are now facing their first set of external examinations.
For 18 months now we have been busy working on a Spanish exchange, and for the first time the Year 11 and Year 12 students were given the opportunity to go to Spain for 6-8 weeks at the end of 2017 and immerse themselves in the Spanish culture and language. They will be hosted in host families and go to school for most of their stay. However, they also have the opportunity to attend a cultural week in which they will not only see some sights around Madrid but also learn about the history and culture beyond their city and their host families. We are very much looking forward to hearing about the stories and experiences the boys will come back with and hope that this will encourage more students to go on the Spanish exchange in 2018.
Deutsch - German
The German classes have been busy collecting travel opportunities this year. The first one by Ben Lund in year 11, who won a scholarship by placing very well in the 'Fit für Deutsch' examinations to represent New Zealand at the German Olympics which was for the first time hosted in Thailand. Participants from 10 Asia and Pacific countries spend ten days immersed in the German language, through activities, games, tasks and challenges. Often German was the common language rather than English, which was a very new experience for all participants.
The other successful traveller will be going to Germany after finishing his Level 2 examinations and will spend ten weeks in a small town called Landolfshausen. Ben Mitchell was one of two New Zealanders to win a prestigious Society for New Zealand-German Student Exchange (NZGSE) scholarship this year. This is a huge achievement, and we are looking forward to his experiences, along with the other exchange students, when he comes back in 2018.
As the languages department we wish all our travelling students a safe trip and great experiences, and we look forward to the cultural excitement that will make our classrooms even more lively next year.