Whanganui High School offers courses in three international languages – Spanish, Chinese and French. In addition to developing knowledge and skills in understanding and speaking these languages, students develop an appreciation of different cultures. This knowledge prepares them well for living in a multicultural society, for working in international contexts and for developing their brainpower and ability to understand and get on with people from other cultures.
Courses in Spanish take students from beginning to advanced level over five years. In addition to developing knowledge and skills in listening, speaking, interacting, reading and writing in the language, students develop an appreciation of different Hispanic countries and cultures and are exposed to the food, music, films, sports, regions, festivals, ways of thinking and values of these cultures. Students can participate in local Spanish-themed initiatives (e.g. Hispanic Film Festival, cooking classes, Spanish Week), meet and work with native speakers (teachers, exchange students and visitors), and may take part in national Spanish competitions (speech, video, dance, translation). A junior class once won the National Spanish Video Contest with a presentation on the Rugby World Cup and three times Whanganui High School Spanish students have won the National Secondary Schools Translation Contest. From time to time, staff also coordinate school trips to Peru and Spain.
See this link for a collaboration between our students and Grammy Award-winning Panamanian singer/songwriter Rómulo Castro. Well worth watching!!
Courses in Chinese take students from beginning to intermediate level over five years. In addition to developing knowledge and skills in listening, speaking, interacting, reading and writing in Mandarin Chinese, students develop an appreciation of both ancient and modern Chinese culture and are exposed to the food, music, films, sports, regions, festivals, ways of thinking and values of this culture. Junior students participate in field trips, which involve going to Palmerston North or Wellington for a special day participating in Chinese cooking, arts and sports workshops. Students work and learn from native speakers, including our Confucius School language assistants who come from China each year to assist in the department. Senior students (and sometimes Y10) are often awarded prestigious places at summer camps offered by the Chinese government.
Courses in French take students from beginning to advanced level over five years. In addition to developing knowledge and skills in listening, speaking, interacting, reading and writing in the language, students develop an appreciation of different francophone countries and cultures and are exposed to the food, music, films, sports, regions, festivals, ways of thinking and values of these cultures. Students can participate in local French-themed initiatives (e.g. French camps, cooking classes), meet and work with native speakers (teachers, exchange students and visitors), and take part in national French competitions run by the Alliance Française. Several times our students have won both the regional and national French Speech Competition. Senior students have an opportunity to enrol for DELF exams, which give them an internationally recognised French language qualification. From time to time, staff also coordinate school trips to New Caledonia.
There are a range of exchange opportunities to foreign countries available through various commercial enterprises, as well as through AFS. Students can also apply for Ministry of Education Language Immersion Awards, which grant successful students an all-expenses paid semester or full year exchange in a Spanish or French-speaking country. We have had several students who have spent time in Chile, France, Japan, Argentina and Spain under this scheme. (The current government has not indicated whether this program will run in 2019.)
The Spanish department has a sister school relationship with the Colegio Pestalozzi in Argentina. Between two and six of our senior Spanish students do a one-month exchange each year in Buenos Aires, in return hosting their Argentinian student partners for a month in January. The only costs are the airfare, insurance and spending money.
From time to time, and dependent on Board approval, teachers have coordinated school trips to a range of destinations relevant to Spanish, Chinese and French language studies. In the past ten years, these have included trips to New Caledonia, Peru, China and Japan, and in 2019 we are taking our first trip to Spain.
OFF-TIMETABLE LANGUAGE STUDIES
Capable students who wish to pursue their language studies further can design an individual programme with the Head of Faculty and Department staff, and enter a selection of standards that best meets their needs and time available. This is only an option for students prepared to work independently, outside of class hours. Depending on the skill mix of current teachers and resource teachers/moderators available to the school, standards may also be a possibility in German or Japanese. It is also possible for selected students to enrol in Correspondence School courses in languages.
Last Reviewed: June 28, 2019
WARNING: This post is over a year old. Some of the information this contains may be outdated.
Please email the office to request an updated review.