Highlights from 2021 were:
Sister School Exchange Online
Throughout 2021, students of Japanese at Warners Bay High School participated in an online exchange with Japanese students in our Sister School, Suginami Gakuin communicating by sending cards, videos and presentations to Suginami.
Year 10 Students improved their linguistic and cultural understanding of Japanese through sharing their 'home and family' presentations to make comparisons about daily routines for Australian and Japanese high school students. Year 10 students also made cards they wrote in Japanese.
Year 7 students of Japanese posted New Year cards to our Sister School students, written in Japanese and decorated with representations of Australian and Japanese cultural celebrations at New Year time. 2021 has marked 30 years of strong friendship in our bilateral relationship with Suginami Gakuin. We can’t wait until international school travel is allowed again!
The National Languages Competition
The Language Perfect Competition Winners at our school reached Elite and Gold levels and were awarded certificates, were given a Pizza Party and a Favourites boxes. Language Perfect sent official certificates for all students who achieved a high level. Well done to our high performing Language students. The WBHS Language Championship saw prizes of a voucher $40 for 1st in the school, a Favourites Box Choccies, a Pizza Party lunch, certificates and commendations! By day 5 we had 224,964 questions answered, 72,170 points earned, 358 hours spent online.
French Cultural Incursions and Excursions
Year 7 French classes finished their unit about cafe culture by sampling ‘pain au chocolat’, ‘croissant’ and ‘grenadine’. Students learnt how to order food in French at the counter to prepare them for future travel experiences and Crepe Day. The local ‘’French Counter” market stall attended WBHS for a one day event that invited all French classes to taste the famous ‘crêpe’ cooked in the true French style. ‘Crêpe au chocolat’ ou ‘sucre et citron’ made freshly on site by Guillaume from French Counter. In total nearly 200 crepes were savoured and our students made us proud using their French to order their special treat. What a delicious way to celebrate the end of a very fun but productive term in the French Classroom.
Year 8 French celebrated Christmas in July the French way, honouring traditions by decorating a Buche de Noel (Yule Christmas log). This term they have also studied Bastille Day and Le Tour de France. Students enjoyed learning about these cultural events and will be learning about the Gallette des Rois next (King's Cake tradition). C'est magnifique !
On Saturday 29th May, Year 12 French Continuers students went to Sydney University for a four-hour workshop organised by the NSW National Association of French Teachers to attend a workshop lead by senior markers of the HSC who shared their most valuable tips and tricks ahead of the HSC French Continuers writing and speaking exams. It was a very enjoyable and successful day and we had lots of fun along the way.
Japanese Cultural Incursions and Excursions
Students studying Japanese engaged in professional Japanese Taiko Drumming lessons. Year 7 enjoyed a 'Taiko Experience' while Japanese elective students were immersed in 'Taiko Workshops'. The feedback received from students was positive and we would all like to thank Kiyomi Sensei and the @eEZ Japanese company for a spectacular day!! ありがとうございました！
Traditional Japanese chef Dekura Sensei visited Years 7,8,9,10 Japanese students today teaching them to create beautiful Makizushi display platters. As author of 18 books, we felt honoured to learn from his expertise. He also gifted us a signed copy of his book 'Eat With Your Hands'.
Gyoza Day highlights included the amazing Year 7, 8, 9, 10 students speaking Japanese to order their pork or vegetarian dumplings. Every student gave ordering in Japanese their best go and really enjoyed the dumplings served up by @NagisaJapaneseRestaurant and @Susuru . On a chilly day, warm dumplings hit the spot! Oishii!
Cinema Anime: Year 8, 9 & 10 Japanese students watched Josee, the Tiger and the Fish at Kotara Cinemas. They also enjoyed a Japanese drink and burger from Another Burger Joint Kotara. Arigatou to our students for such a great day and the teachers who organised!
Students from Years 8 and 10 Japanese also participated in an excursion to Sydney. After an early morning train from Cardiff station to Kirawee, they headed towards the Taken Centre. There, students were encouraged to speak only Japanese and played games using vocabulary about Japanese houses, self introductions and more finishing with a Japanese boxed lunch (obentō). The next stops were exploring Daiso (a Japanese dollar store), Kinokuniya (a Japanese book store) and ate ramen at Ichiban Boshi. Arigatou gozaimasu to Tier Sensei and Wagner Sensei for such a fun day immersed in Japanese language and culture!
Year 8 also learnt about Shodō (Japanese tea ceremonies). After learning the 8-step process, students tried traditional bitter Matcha and compared it to the sweet, popularised version. They then chose a sweet mochi (rice) ball to complement the bitterness of the tea. The flavours they tried were: chocolate, Yuzu, bubble milk or red bean. Students washed their hands, bowed, kneeled as they whisked the green tea and turned their bowls 180degrees before slurping away!
Strong Numbers for Languages Study
Warners Bay High School can pride itself as the only Public High School in the Hunter Region to offer French and Japanese Continuers class. This is a testament to the school community and the strong value it holds towards studying a language in Stage 6.
Senior students were invited to enrol in a weekly speaking workshop where a native speaker comes to the school and engages in conversation with our students, discussing their world and future aspirations. The response was overwhelmingly high and students are already reaping the benefits of gaining confidence with their speaking skills in both French and Japanese.
The Languages staff are already planning remote and face-to-face tutorials with organisations in Sydney such as the Alliance Française and Sydney University to better help our students prepare for the HSC by refining their skills for both the Continuers exams. Our senior students are congratulated for their outstanding achievement and passion for Languages.
The strong academic outcomes for these students are evidence of high motivation and a commitment to reinforcing concepts at home and throughout lockdown. Quality teaching and learning is also happening in Senior French with Year 11 French Continuers and Year 12 Continuers and Extension French.
Linguist of the Month
To recognise the great work being done by committed students studying Languages, Linguists of the Month of both French and Japanese were identified and awarded with certificates and prizes. Admirable linguists from Years 7-12 were showcased for their skills in verb conjugation, vocabulary memorisation, outstanding ongoing effort in lessons and creating original texts using learnt grammatical topics. Well done to the Linguists of the Months of 2021!
Professional Development of Languages Staff
The Language teachers have a strong commitment to being lifelong learners and attended numerous professional learning events including Warners Bay High School’s own Best Practice Teams. Rebeca Tamas learned about Critical Thinking Tools. Bronwyn Tier applied expertise to Japanese programs. Karen Poole attended multiple professional learning workshops for senior French. The Languages staff are highly collaborative and engaged in Statewide Staffroom Zoom’s throughout lockdown and the regular Hunter Language Teachers’ Network meetings. With an awareness to constantly improve their classroom practice, it is the students who benefit directly from the latest practices whether learning online or face to face.