Foreign Language

French is the third language in our curriculum and is taught to all students from Year 5.

"Adding a third language to the school's curriculum is very exciting. Being able to communicate in multiple languages and in that way gaining access to other cultures is at the heart of our school's philosophy. A third language expands these opportunities," says Florian Dehne, Chairman.

The choice of a third language proved to be a difficult one. Florian explains, "When we informally tested preferences for a third language in our community, we discovered a wide range of views. There were arguments for anything from specific European languages to Asian languages and Aboriginal languages. Some European languages are quite prevalent in the school community with a number of children speaking a third language at home. Arguments for Asian languages were largely based on the geographic location of Australia and also the recognition that Asian languages, Chinese in particular, are expected to become more important in business and trade. Finally, there were arguments for the introduction of an Aboriginal language, clearly reflecting our Australian identity."

In the end, French was selected as the third language and was introduced in 2011. A major factor leading to this choice was the need for our school to cater for the requirements of families that move between Germany and Australia or within the network of German International Schools. For these families the specific language taught is very important. "Whilst our school has been primarily set up for 'local' families that are at home in Melbourne, we also want to cater for the internationally mobile. The German school system introduces a third language in year 5. Children who have not studied a third language for 2 years will either not be accepted at the local gymnasium or will have an impossible amount of catch-up to do. Families who are moving into the German system rightly expect that we prepare their children for schooling in Germany and French is by far the most prevalent third language taught there" says Florian. "As the school grows, opportunities to offer further languages will certainly be on the cards." Mais oui!

French is a compulsory foreign language subject at our school (LOTE).

We teach French through specific classes instead of integrating it throughout our curriculum, like we do for German and English.

In this subject, our teachers:

  • Consistently speak French in class, unless they’re clarifying difficult terms or topics
  • Facilitate students’ understanding through gestures, pictures and demonstrations (repeated modelling)
  • Introduce vocabulary that’s important to classroom interactions at the beginning of the subject (allowing students to participate in class using French – and fully immersing them in the learning experience)
  • Introduce topics that are relevant to students to create more speaking opportunities with peers
  • Embrace group and interactive learning through games that reinforce vocabulary and grammar