At Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Primary School, we believe that in an increasingly multicultural, multifaith and multilingual world, it is essential that every young person has access to quality Language learning as a core component of their education.
Scientifically based research has widely recognised that language learning is an integral part of a broad and balanced education for all learners. The study of languages offers students cultural, intellectual and linguistic advantages and the opportunity to gain important cognitive skills and meta-linguistic awareness (Lo Bianco, 2009; Bialystok, 2001). It also promotes positive cross-cultural relationships and opportunities for students to thrive and engage as global citizens (Lo Bianco, 2009).
Pope Francis has urged Catholic schools and educators to make a great contribution to the mission of the Church by practising a ‘grammar of dialogue’ which acknowledges the multiplicity of voices and perspectives in our world. Dialogue, the Pope suggests, is constructive when it takes place in an atmosphere of esteem, appreciation and sincere listening, without the need to blur or mitigate one’s identity. Therefore, learning languages fosters and nurtures respectful understanding of linguistic and cultural diversity, helping build bridges and ‘find new answers to the many challenges of our time’ (Congregation for Catholic Education, 2017).
The Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV, 2019) claims that languages are an essential part of the curriculum. Catholic Education Melbourne (CEM, 2016) recognises the unique potential that Languages education offers students to embrace difference and respect diversity. It does this by encouraging: 1) dialogue and encounter with the ‘other’ and self; 2) intercultural interfaith dialogue so as to foster a peaceful society; 3) and openness to diverse views and beliefs in a globally connected world.
The Department of Education and Training Victoria (DETV, 2007) acknowledges that Italian is a relatively easy language to learn because of its similarity to English. The two languages share a similar sentence structure and Italian is written in Roman script as is English. Studying Italian provides the opportunity to learn about the customs and traditions of one of the largest ethnic groups living in Victoria that has had a significant impact on the contemporary Australian culture.
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception acknowledges that learning a language is a sequential and cumulative process. Students learn more effectively through regular lessons and over an extended period of time as frequency and continuity of language learning will contribute significantly to gain proficiency in the language. Our Italian program is part of a planned pathway for Italian learning, which is currently the only common language being offered amongst all the surrounding secondary schools.
Our Language program is taught by a qualified teacher and Italian native speaker. It is strongly supported by the school community, including the school staff, administration, parents and students.
The Italian program aims to:
At Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Primary School, our goal is to involve people from the wider, local and global community to participate in our students’ learning experience. Parents/Carers are invited to contact the Italian teacher and arrange a meeting with him to discuss the Italian program and to talk about the learning achievement of their children in Italian. Also, photos of Italian learning activities will be uploaded onto Seesaw to engage parents/carers and show their children Italian learning.