by Judy Maw

Languages Department

Our first few weeks of term in Languages were a bit of a learning curve for all of us, learning how to use Zoom and Google Hangouts, and overcoming the awkwardness that is any online video meeting.

 We persevered and we got there. We found that there were aspects of language learning that were enhanced by online learning, and others which were made more difficult. Our languages assistants - Lydie and Señora Flores - made the most of technology and held weekly speaking classes with the girls in small groups, which was largely enjoyed.

The Te Reo classes with Mr Elwood and Ms Turner continue to engage our students in Te Reo Maori and the rich culture which is an integral part of NZ’s history, present and future. They have been learning about expressing ideas around feelings, place names, and the Marae. Year 10s have been using Te Reo to talk about family.

The year 9 Spanish class continued their learning about talking about school equipment and they made videos of themselves describing what they have in their bag. The year 9 French and Spanish classes have learnt about food in their respective countries and cultures and next term we will do our usual hand over from one language to the other language with our European breakfast. Year 9 French students have made a video about their breakfast and lunch to show the differences in eating habits between NZ and French students. The showed a great deal of creativity and superb French language skills.

The year 10 Spanish class has spent their term learning how to talk about their families, sport and leisure activities, as well as infusing more interest into their language with connectors, superlatives and comparatives and adverbs. Year 10 French students have also been learning about describing families, as well as pets and jobs. They have been studying school subjects, timetables and learnt about French schools and how they differ from NZ schools. They too have learnt to use comparatives and superlatives and some key irregular verbs.

Year 11 Spanish have been exploring the topic of holidays. The girls have been learning to use two different past tenses and the future tense. Year 11 French have completed their topic of daily routine before, during and post Covid-19 Lockdown, and have begun learning about and researching Paris. An part of this term was the challenging task of playing the role of linguists and deciphering the Passé Composé tense from a set of examples, and only being able to ask Madame Holtz Yes or No questions. The rose to the occasion and came up with a grammar for this complex but terribly useful and important tense. They are now well placed for learning any of the tenses composed of an auxiliary verb and past participle. Both Spanish and French students have completed a writing piece for their NCEA Writing portfolios and begun working on their Spoken Presentation standard.

Year 12 Spanish has explored the topics of music, bull fighting and travel to Mallorca while delving into relative pronouns, the subjunctive mood and reviewing some past tenses. Year 12 French students have completed their topic of what holidays will look like post Covid, and how Covid-19 has affected holiday plans for them and those around them. They have begun the topic or Health and Well-Being. They created board games in groups centered around this topic, and now narrow their focus on healthy eating and are about to begin research on various types of diet (lifestyle, not weight loss) for their Spoken Presentation achievement standard. It was a big term for grammar with the girls learning the PluPerfect tense and Present Participles. The year 12 language students have completed a writing piece for their NCEA Writing portfolios and begun working on their Spoken Presentation standard.

Year 13 Spanish have explored the topics of Frida Kahlo, Ecotourism in Cuba, Jobs/Careers after school, and Youth in Spain. They have revised some tenses from previous years and worked on the imperative. Year 13 French extended their Social Media and Technology topic to include ideas around how technology has been beneficial to people around the world during lockdown, and are now comparing and contrasting NZ’s response to Covid to how other countries, including France, have responded. They will be responding critically to what they find and preparing a Spoken Presentation on this. Like the year 11 and 12 language students, our year 13s have completed their first piece for their Writing Portfolio achievement standard. While the French students prepare their Spoken Presentation, the majority of Spanish students have opted to do the Interact standard.

It has been a long and challenging term, but one where perhaps everyone may have learnt a bit about themselves, and others, and gained a new appreciation and gratitude for what we have and where we live.