With travel, trade and increasing ethnic-diversity bringing Australia much closer to the rest of the world there has never been a more important time for young people to learn foreign languages. Studying a language is about much more than knowing a specific tongue. Language learning develops students' awareness of communication techniques and, vitally, gives them an appreciation of different cultures. These are highly sought-after skills in the modern market place.
The Languages Department of The King's School offers three languages from Year 7 to HSC Extension level, with something for everyone. Students can opt for Mandarin Chinese - particularly useful given Australia's geographical position in the Asia-Pacific region and with China ever more important for trade. Boys who prefer to use an alphabet they already recognise can choose the ever-popular European languages of French or German.
Languages at The King's School are taught by a dedicated and dynamic staff and the programs of study have been developed with the target audience of teenage boys in mind. Teaching is enhanced by facilities including Interactive Whiteboards, a class set of laptop computers and access to online language learning resources. Greater exposure to language and culture is available through excursions to film festivals, events held in alliance with other schools' language departments and the annual school-wide Languages Day.
An important facet of language learning is putting the language to use. The Languages Department has established exchange programs with schools in Bordeaux, France and Bonn, Germany and is seeking a Chinese partner school. There is also a Latin tour of Classical sites in Italy and a junior French tour to New Caledonia. The work of modern languages classes is enhanced by native speaker language assistants, who add authenticity to the language learning experience.
Boys must study a language in Year 7 at The King's School but in the modern world they will want to continue to do so for much longer.