Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three. Confucius

17 March 2011

Languages Other Than English (LOTE)

Hi Everyone,

In this post I will be looking at Languages Other than English (LOTE). Regardless of the language experience you choose to share with your child, there are several categories listed with the Education Department to cater for the different entry points (skill levels) of language learners called pathways.

Pathway one refers to children and students with little or no prior knowledge of the target language.

Pathway two refers to children and students with some prior learning and use of the language.

Within each Pathway there are two entry points as follows:

Entry point A refers to students who learn the language from Early to Senior Years Bands (R-12).

Entry point B refers to students who learn the language from Middle to Senior Years Bands (8-12).
It is not necessary for you to be fluent in a second language to support your child in doing LOTE. You can easily learn alongside your child, hire a tutor, or focus on culture rather than actual language learning, all are viable options.

Having clarified this, I'll share with you how we've managed the LOTE component of the curriculum. We've chosen to include Spanish and French as part of our studies because both languages are so widely spoken around the world, and because they are quite similar to English alphabetically.

Alexandra used the Rosetta Stone Language Programmes, which are interactive CD Roms and are as good as any I've seen. At this point, Jay and Freida listen to French and Spanish sing-a-long CDs in the car, and will start the computer based language programme when they're a bit older.

The LOTE requirements for younger children are generally more about cultural awareness than learning a language per se. This may mean preparing and enjoying food from countries other than our own, listening to multi-cultural music, reading about and discussing life in other countries, learning about and performing multi-cultural crafts, customs and songs as well as or instead of learning basic LOTE skills. In the early years, what you focus on is really up to you.

As your child gets older, learning about cultural differences around the world is just as important as memorising a language, and the crossover with Society and Environment (SOSE) is quite significant.

The language resources available online are numerous, and many of them are free of charge. Alternatively, your local library is bound to have a supply of language programmes in book, DVD, CD and CD Rom format. It is not necessary for you to teach up to a certain standard unless your child will wish to join a language programme at an upper secondary advanced level...even then there are ways to catch up.

The lesson I have learned from teaching my kids LOTE is to relax and enjoy the process. Putting too much pressure on yourself as teacher and child as learner can take away from the magic of exposure to the world and it's diversity of people. Celebrate cultural days, cook and share multicultural meals with your homeschool group or as a family, lapbook various countries and make the most of this opportunity to learn alongside your children...and enjoy :)

Talk Soon, Cynthia x