The ability to use a language other than English and move between cultures is important for full participation in the modern world, especially in the context of increasing globalisation and Australia's cultural diversity. Learning a language offers students the opportunity to:
- Use the language to communicate with its speakers.
- Understand how language operates as a system and, through comparison, how other
languages, including English, are structured and function.
- Gain direct insights into the culture or cultures which give the language its life and meaning.
- Consider their own culture, and compare it with the cultures of countries and communities
where the language is spoken.
- Add to their general knowledge.
- Enhance their vocational prospects.
In learning to use the language effectively, students develop an understanding of the cultural contexts in which the language is used, as well as the shared meanings, values and practices of the community as embodied in that language. They learn, for example, about the ways in which speakers change the language they use in different contexts, and the vital role which elements, such as gesture play in communication. Through comparison with their own language and culture, students learn that there are many ways of viewing the world.
At Bonython Primary School, the language studied is Japanese and it aims to develop an awareness and appreciation of another culture through dramatisation, story-telling, dance, songs and cultural activities. The students develop skills in the use of the Japanese language through listening, speaking, reading and writing from P-6.