Japanese storytelling

On Friday 19 May, Year 7 Japanese students explored the Japanese folk story-telling and puppet show ‘Urashima the fisherman’. The highly animated show featured a miniature underwater world, presented by artist, Claire Teisen. The highly imaginative underwater world was created from origami figures, painted paper and pop up structures to bring to life the tales of the legendary fisherman’s adventures at the Sea King’s palace. After the show, the students discussed the meaning of the story and the differences between Japanese and Western folk stories. It was great to see the students recognised the depth of the story that led to the Zen philosophy. In addition, the students thoroughly enjoyed creating their own character of the story, princes’ doll, with colourful washi paper. Each doll created being so unique and beautifully decorated.

Dragon Boat Festival- 端(duān) 午(wǔ) 节(jié)

Students studying Chinese at St Catherine’s celebrated ‘Duan wujie’ [Field]午(wǔ)节(jié)  which was on 5 May of the lunar calendar, by eating some“ 粽(zòng)子(zi)”,  sticky rice with fillings wrapped in bamboo leaves.

‘Duan wujie’ is celebrated to commemorate the patriotic poet Qu Yuan who drowned himself in the Miluo River in the 4th century. Qu Yuan was a loyal and honest official banished by the King of Chu who refused to follow his advice. He was so disheartened that he tied himself to a rock and drowned himself in the Miluo River. After discovering his death, people sailed to Miluo River and threw rice into the river hoping that the fish would eat the rice instead of his body. The custom of dragon boat racing and eating 粽(zòng)子(zi) are believed to have originated to commemorate his death as well as his spirit of loyalty, dedication and honesty.

VCE Conversation

Year 12 students undertake a 15-minute oral examination as part of their final LOTE exam. All students studying a language in VCE receive additional classroom support through conversation with a native speaker of the language.This opportunity enables them to practise speaking in a targeted and individualised manner. To ensure optimal performance regular speaking is essential. Staff encourage students to have a ‘conversation buddy’ and to make the most of incidental opportunities to converse. The train station or by the lockers are as valuable as the formal classroom setting in building confidence and fluency. Year 12 students are reminded that preparation for the oral exam is incremental and commitment must be sustained over several months.

Tours and exchanges

Students are currently planning for the immersion challenges which await them in the coming months. We congratulate Sarah Steven (Year 11) and Lucy Porter (Year 11) who have been successful in applying to participate in a French exchange in December 2017/January 2018. Their exchange will be based in Toulon, near Marseille at our Sister School, Cours Fénélon. Meanwhile 11 students of Japanese will be participating in the Japanese Language Tour in December 2017. Planning is also underway for an all new itinerary for the 2018 France Tour. The itinerary will focus on regional centres, with time spent at the Cours Fénélon. An information evening about this and other tours offered by the School will take place in July. More information to come.

Year 7 transition for parents

An important consideration for parents and their daughter is the choice of languages which girls will study in the Senior School. Students will study two languages from French, Japanese and Chinese during Years 7 and 8. While most Barbreck students choose to continue with their study of French, parents should discuss with their daughters the benefit of taking on a new challenge and the importance of Australians studying languages from our Asian region.

Ms Anna Pianezze, Head of Languages