From the beginning of 2018, WA schools were required to implement at least one foreign language from year 3-6. Languages, is one of the 8 learning areas and with such a rich and vibrant Italian culture in the Fremantle area, Italian was chosen as a fitting language to be taught. As of 2018, the focus on the Languages WA Curriculum is on the written and oral communication skills of students, with the assessed strands being communicating and understanding. Each of these two areas is further broken down into the sub-strands, which include socialising, informing, translating, reflecting and the role of language and culture. 

In Year 3, students learn about themselves and their families. Students participate in the exchange of routine instructions and everyday happenings in the classroom and in the home. Simple descriptive and modelled language is used repetitively, along with the use of various common gestures and sayings. Students learn numbers, colours and greetings and gain a basic understanding of formulating simple sentences using nouns, verbs, adjectives, definite articles and indefinite articles, and recognising singular and plural nouns and the masculine and feminine pattern to follow when constructing simple phrases. Italian culture is also referred to, with children learning about various festivities and common practices of the Italian people in Italy and abroad.

In Year 4, students learn about the world they live in…their hobbies/interests, their friends, their family, their school, their home…and much, much more! Topics such as mathematics, numbers, days of the week, their likes/dislikes, their weekend activities, and learning how to formulate simple sentences to communicate something of relevance, is covered to a certain degree in this programme. The use of modelled and repetitive language is still very much a focus with students in this year group. Students translate simple texts and gain understanding of the Italian language through the use of verbs, nouns, adjectives, definite articles, indefinite articles and conjunctions, and recognising singular and plural nouns and the masculine and feminine pattern to follow when constructing simple phrases. Students gain basic experience formulating simple role plays and creating simple phrases using modelled vocabulary, bi-lingual dictionaries and digital technology.

In Year 5, students discover where they live, in relation to everything around them. Family, friends and their local community around them is the prime focus. Their homes (vocabulary), the weather in each season, salutations and examples of community occupations are some of the topics covered. Students experiment with the use of verbs, nouns, adjectives, possessive nouns, definite/indefinite articles and conjunctions to further enhance their knowledge of the Italian language and to formulate simple, yet descriptive phrases. Students apply the rules of singular and plural nouns and the masculine and feminine pattern to follow when constructing simple phrases. To aid with this, students have regular use of bi-lingual dictionaries, digital technology and teacher influence.

In Year 6, students focus on themselves and their friends. Students work more independently than in previous years. Focus is on the written aspect of the language and on routine exchanges that often occur in the classroom. Examples include; simple commands, simple instructions and the use of gestures. Students work collaboratively and co-operatively on various tasks, whilst being responsible for their own work ethics in the classroom. Common vocabulary is used frequently in class and sometimes even heard on the playground! Translations of texts, gathering and sorting of information and the use of intonation and pronunciation are aspects of the written and verbal component of the course. Students delve more deeply into the use of verbs, nouns, adjectives, conjunctions and possessive nouns. Students apply the rules of singular and plural nouns and the masculine and feminine pattern to follow when constructing simple phrases and other grammatical points. Students understand that the Italian language is constantly evolving and changing due to the influences of other cultures, the English language and the use of digital technology.

Cultural understandings and the social aspects of Italian are covered to various extents, according to year level. Students discover how similar or different schooling in Italy is and how different the way of life is compared to here in Australia. Throughout the year, the emphasis is on learning/understanding common expressions, exclamations and commands. Using simple descriptive or expressive modelled language, students learn how to exchange and understand information about aspects of their personal worlds, daily routines at home and school, and how to communicate their interests to others.

The emphasis on repetition is the key to any language learning, and in the case of Italian, expressive modelled language and gestures are communicated frequently in our 45 minute long lessons (1 hour lessons for year 3’s). Students, whilst continuing on their journey of language learning, acknowledge and note differences between Italian, Australian and other cultures’ practices and language similarities, whilst embracing them all!