In NSW high schools, languages is a key learning area.
Language study allows students to develop communication skills, learn about languages as systems and explore the relationship between language and culture. Students engage with the linguistic and cultural diversity of societies and reflect on their understanding of social interactions.
The study of a language is compulsory for 100 hours in one continuous school year from Year 7 to Year 10, but preferably in Years 7 or 8.
In Years 11 and 12, NSW schools offer a wide variety of languages, catering for beginning students to background speakers.
Learning languages opens minds to difference where diversity is seen as a regular part of society. Proficiency in languages provides a resource that encourages more effective engagement with the global community. The study of Languages strengthens essential foundational skills for literacy. It also fosters intellectual and emotional development, and cultural understanding.
Through learning languages, students develop an intercultural capability and an understanding of the role of language and culture in communication, and become more accepting of difference and diversity. They develop understanding of global citizenship, and reflect on their own heritage, values, culture and identity. They also reflect on the culture, beliefs and values of others through language learning. The rich linguistic and cultural diversity of New South Wales provides an educational environment where the study of languages and cultures is valued as a unique and integral part of the curriculum.
Mandatory study of a 100 hour language occurs in Stage 4. Students will then have the option to continue on with learning languages as an elective in Stage 5 (Years 9-10) and Stage 6 (Years 11-12).