At Cape Clear Primary School students from Grade 2-6 are taught Japanese. The program consists of teaching and learning tasks involving writing, listening to, speaking, responding and reading the Japanese scripts, engaging in Japanese cultural activities and festivals and learning about customs and the traditional culture of Japan. Learning tasks are hands on, fun based activities that engage the students in deep learning tasks. Cape Clear Primary School has a trained Japanese educator. Japanese is the official language of Japan, a nation of islands located in the East Asia region. The Japanese language is also widely used by communities of speakers in Hawaii, Peru and Brazil, and learnt as an additional language by large numbers of students in the Republic of Korea, China, Indonesia and Australia. Japanese is the language used by the Japanese for various purposes, including education, business and media communication. Some dialect variations are used in spoken interactions in different regions of the country. Japanese is a phonetic language. Pronunciation is predictable, and new words can be pronounced easily upon mastery of hiragana characters. Japanese uses three scripts for writing: hiragana, the basic phonetic script representing the sounds of Japanese; katakana, the companion phonetic script that is largely used for loan words; and kanji, Chinese characters that represent meaning rather than sound (ideographs). The three scripts are used interdependently. Hiragana is typically the first script learnt, with katakana and kanji first introduced in context then taught systematically, contributing to script knowledge and competence. The many loan words from other languages expressed through katakana reflect the impact of globalisation, technology and popular culture on Japanese language and culture.
Students acquire communication skills in Japanese. They develop understanding about the role of language and culture in communication. Their reflections on language use and language learning are applied in other learning contexts. Learning languages broadens students’ horizons about the personal, social, cultural and employment opportunities that are available in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world. The interdependence of countries and communities requires people to negotiate experiences and meanings across languages and cultures. A bilingual or plurilingual capability is the norm in most parts of the world. Learning languages:
contributes to the strengthening of the community’s social, economic and international development capabilities
extends literacy repertoires and the capacity to communicate; strengthens understanding of the nature of language, of culture, and of the processes of communication
develops intercultural capability, including understanding of and respect for diversity and difference, and an openness to different experiences and perspectives
develops understanding of how culture shapes and extends learners’ understanding of themselves, their own heritage, values, beliefs, culture and identity
strengthens intellectual, analytical and reflective capabilities, and enhances creative and critical thinking.
Aims The Languages curriculum aims to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to ensure that students:
communicate in the language they are learning
understand the relationship between language, culture and learning