Parklands Primary School in Albany is bursting with creative energy, especially in its Italian program for young learners.
Barbara Watson shares her talents for using games, music and puppetry as she teaches Italian:
I have taught Italian at Parklands School in Albany since it was first established in 1998. The program is funded through the IAWCC (Italo-Australian Cultural and Welfare Centre Inc.) based in Perth. Since 2004 I have also been one of two lecturers delivering the Certificates in Applied Language (Italian) at the Great Southern Institute of Technology.
I use a wide variety of activities and resources with both primary and adult students, encouraging them to leave their seats, interact, and try to speak the language from the outset.
A regular feature of our Parklands courses has been student performances of short plays and skits at school assemblies and graduation evenings. Preparing for these performances requires considerable repetition and memorisation of dialogues, but in an atmosphere of fun and creativity. I have found that children are eager to be involved, and every child always finds something in the process to engage him or her.
I also involve children in the production of language DVDs. This is an ideal mechanism for engaging boys in particular because they are interested in the technology, they are keen to be involved, and learning the language featured becomes an almost inevitable by-product of the process.
Over the year I have teamed up with several videographers to produce language DVDs for our Parklands classes as well as my adult TAFE students. Being in-house productions multiple copies can be made for individual use in class and for students to take home.
I maintain a file full of ideas for games, language activities, plays and DVDs that I am hoping one day to find the time to produce.
Meanwhile, you can watch the video and download the song sheet for one of the songs the children sing on the video.