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Princes Street Primary School TAS

Princes Street Primary School is located in Sandy Bay, a suburb of Hobart. The school's motto is 'Challenge Thinking. Designing Futures' and its mission is 'nurturing and enriching lives'. Principal Lynne Douglas and her staff are investing heavily to implement Japanese language across the school and developing students to become more culturally aware.

Lynne has only been at the school for a little more than one year and is passionate about supporting the school to become Asia capable. When she started at the school, there was no Asian language programme and little emphasis on studies of Asia. The Asia capability agenda was just not on the staff's radar at that time. However, school community members were crying out for their children to be offered a language other than English.

Princes Street Primary School received funding from the government to offer a second language to years 5 and 6, but the school contributed local funds to include years 3 and 4 in 2013, the first year of implementation. Japanese was selected as the preferred language and the school was fortunate to source a trained teacher who also happened to be a parent from the school community. The school has plans to extend this programme in years Prep–2 by the end of 2014.

Lynne and her staff viewed the introduction of language studies as a vehicle to implement studies of Asia across the school. To this end, staff members have been immersing the school in Japanese language and culture. In Term 3, 2014, a whole-school approach to designing and implementing a unit of work on Japan will be undertaken. Planning has already commenced to ensure that the Australian Curriculum's cross-curriculum priority of Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia receives prominence in this curriculum unit.

Members of the project team have undertaken a carefully considered strategic plan of action, paying particular attention to the intended outcomes and strategies. The project team has clearly outlined the following criteria for achieving its goals:

  • The focus on the teaching of the Japanese language will extend from grades 3–6 through to Kindergarten–Grade 6.
  • A sister school relationship will be developed with a school in Japan and connections will be developed using information and communication technologies such as Skype.
  • Teachers will be authentically linking the Asia priority in learning areas wherever possible.
  • Teacher capacity will be developed through professional learning and cross-cultural engagement.
  • Parents and community members will be involved in supporting studies of Asia in the curriculum.

By articulating these intended outcomes in such a clear manner, it has been possible to accurately measure progress at any point along the improvement journey. In addition, the school has outlined a number of indicators for each of the strategies, which are designed to progress the moral purpose/imperative of:

  • All students to have an understanding of our Asian neighbours with a particular focus on Japan and the Japanese people
  • Students to learn the Japanese language and develop an understanding of the Japanese culture
  • Students to build connections with a sister school in Japan and to interact, share and build relationships with students in Japan
  • Students to engage in learning projects that incorporate the Asia priority
  • Students to develop a strong sense of intercultural understanding and respect for diversity to assist them in living in an interconnected world.

Staff at Princes Street Primary School have engaged in high quality professional learning with Professor Yong Zhao so that their understanding of a moral imperative or purpose has become deeper. The intent is that staff members will embed their new learning, curriculum content and approaches into the fabric of each classroom.

The Asia capability imperative at Princes Street has been driven by the principal, who has ensured a whole school approach, clear planning protocols and expectations, a well-briefed leadership team and the involvement of enthusiastic parents. The school has been listening to, and engaging with, the members of the community who have given the project their full support.

Acknowledgements

Image: Princes Street Primary School logo – Princes Street Primary School

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