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We celebrated Global Diversity week at Wenona by inviting three of our parents, who speak a language other than English as their mother tongue, into our classrooms.
On Monday, Mrs Houstone, mother of Hanako (Year 9), Mrs Holland, mother of Louise and Valentina (Year 9), and Mr Fouter, father of Charlotte (Year 7), Zoe (Year 9) and Isabelle (Year 11) attended several of our Stage 5 and 6 Japanese and French classes.
The parents shared their individual cultural and linguistic experiences as speakers of Japanese (Mrs Houstone) and French (Mrs Holland and Mr Fouter), and their thoughts on the importance of learning a foreign language and celebrating the diversity that this includes.
Our wonderful visitors spoke with the girls entirely in their respective languages, which allowed for an incredibly authentic and real-life use of Japanese and French. In addition, the parents participated in each lesson and held discussions.
In our French classes, discussions centred around current affairs such as Brexit and the yellow vest movement, whilst in Japanese classes, the girls delighted in examining the subtle but noticeable differences in daily life and customs between Japan and Australia. The girls then had an opportunity to break out into smaller groups with the parents to work on their pronunciation and conversation skills, which proved to be a great confidence boost for them all.
The experience was highly valuable for both staff and students, and the parents themselves thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to be involved in the students’ learning and to share their diverse cultural experiences. The girls were very motivated in the lead up to the visit and they all participated in the discussions and activities with enthusiasm, relishing the chance to have genuine, authentic conversations with native speakers.
Overall, the parent visit was an excellent way to encourage our wider community to be involved with School life and teaching practices and it was deemed to be a huge success by all. This is the first year we have organised such an event, but we will most certainly be looking to expand the scope of languages for next year.
Arigatou and merci to Mrs Houstone, Mrs Holland and Mr Fouter for sharing their time, skills and knowledge with our students.