Language Students Become Teachers

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A new program is helping university and high school students learn a language.

By Judith Aisthorpe

James Cook University and Kirwan State High School have teamed up to create a collaborative foreign language program that allows students to teach and learn.

The volunteer program lets language students of any level and year at university partake in teaching activities in a weekly high school class.

Running the Class: University students have the opportunity to run activities for the class.

Running the Class: University students have the opportunity to run activities for the class.

JCU Language Coordinator Florence Boulard says the program is designed to help both university and high school students with retention.

“We hope that by having JCU language students coming in to the school that this will improve retention within the school but also at university,” Florence says.

The program has only been running for 5 weeks but there are grand plans to incorporate more schools into the program.

“We are currently in contact with other schools in the region within Townsville, the Burdekin and in Cairns as well,” Florence says.

One on One Help: A Kirwan High school student receives help.

One on One Help: A Kirwan State High School student receives help.

“We are hoping to expand this program with other high schools as well so all the students can participate.

“The Italian, German, Japanese and French students will be able to go there and share their passion and knowledge for languages.”

Kirwan High School Acting Head of Department for Humanities and Languages Rebecca Stanton-Cook says she also hopes the program will take off.

“It’s still in development,” Rebecca says.

“I’d like it to reach more of our students at the school, but I think it’s definitely in a positive and upwards trend.”

With the university students regularly attending the classes it means students are getting more one-on-one help.

“Yeah I think they get a little bit more time one-on-one with someone who knows that aspect of the language,” Rebecca says.

“So if they are a bit lost or confused they can get a little bit more assistance than if it’s just one teacher in the classroom with 30 students.”

Students from grades 9-12 are currently taking part in the program with many excited and inspired to have the extra help and knowledge available.

Volunteers: Some of the language students taking part in the program.

Volunteers: Some of the language students taking part in the program.

Year 10 Japanese student Jack Struthers is enjoying the university student visits.

“It is good, but it does get loud at times, just the excitement,” Jack says.

“It does help because sometimes there’s too many people for our teacher and it’s good to have more people around that can help.”

With a shortage of language teachers in Australia it is also hoped that the volunteering university students will be inspired to consider a career in language teaching.

Class: The collaborative program is designed to help both high school and university students.

Class: The collaborative program is designed to help both high school and university students.

French university student Summer Murdock who has been participating in the program says it is helping her to fulfil her dream of one day teaching.

“It’s really fun,” Summer says.

“I’m actually studying to become a teacher at the moment so it’s a good opportunity to practice my teaching skills as well as my French skills.”

If language students would like to participate contact your language lecturer to find out more.