French students from Years 9-11 are abuzz with excitement as they embark on new friendships with French students in schools near Paris and Toulouse via the pen-pal program. Students in some year levels have already received handwritten letters and have written back in a combination of French and English. On receiving the letters from their pen-pals, OLMC students have been delighted by the French style of handwriting, the content (particularly the fascination with dangerous Australian animals!) and the level of English of their pen-pals. Seeing a few mistakes in the French students’ letters has given them confidence to get writing, without overly worrying about being completely accurate. We hope that some of these pen-pal relationships continue into the years to come, as they give our students such a wonderful glimpse into contemporary French culture, school systems, etc.

Meanwhile, students from Years 8 to 10 have been videoing themselves reciting French poetry by memory for the annual Alliance Française Berthe Mouchette French poetry competition. This represents the culmination of several weeks dedicated to learning their chosen poem, both during class time and at home, focusing on authentic pronunciation and appropriate expression to convey meaning. The theme for this year’s poetry competition is Liberté and, alongside the more traditional poems, students could select contemporary ‘slam’ poetry to recite.

Speaking of filming, a selection of students from all three languages (Japanese, Italian and French) have recently been involved in a project called ‘See how we grow in Languages’. Students from Years 7 to 12 presented snippets of spoken language (either by themselves or in groups of two or three). Once the videos have been edited, we will have a snapshot of the growth in speaking that occurs from the first year of high school, when students have very little language, to the final year, when they have developed their skills to the point of being able to undertake a fifteen-minute oral exam in the language. It is quite amazing to see the progress that can occur over six years of learning a language.

Fleur Davison
Languages Learning Leader