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French (LOTE)

Languages at Cooroy State School.
 
The wholesale adoption of the Histoires en Action (HEA) program for teaching French at Cooroy State School brought about a very significant and immediate improvement in student language learning.
 
In the space of two terms, and having only two 40 minute lessons per week, the vast majority of students in Years 4 to 6 were able to recite or act out the story Les trois petits cochons (The Three Little Pigs) as a play or puppet show. Previously, this kind of achievement would have been accomplished by a small minority, and then with little or no possibility of applying the language ‘memorised’ to any other purpose. Students were also able to sing the related song and perform the related dance. Moreover, they understood exactly what they were saying and as such, were able to act out the play with appropriate expression. All the related activities in the course of instruction, although quite traditional in language learning approaches, were carried out with a level of ease that began to develop a climate of success in language learning.
 
Subsequent and repeated success at the annual MLTAQ Sunshine Coast Speech Contests, also attests to the effectiveness of HEA program. The content of the speeches is vastly different from the content addressed in class, demonstrating that students develop language skills which can be generalised to other contexts. 
 
The methodology behind the Histoires en Action program, the Accelerative Integrated Method (AIM), was developed in Canada by Wendy Maxwell and her associates over some ten years. It has been taken up widely around the world, with some 6,000 Canadian and 600 Australian/New Zealand schools using the program. It integrates the key elements of gestures, pared-down language, stories/plays/music/dance and language manipulation activities in an immersion setting. The effect is to raise students’ knowledge, understanding, fluency and pronunciation to levels that have to be seen to be believed. 
In 2014 our French program was the focus of an Education Department promotional photo shoot and our student repertoire of plays and songs was performed publicly at every opportunity including such venues as the Maison de Provence restaurant in Cooroy, the Noosa-Tewantin U3A and the main stage of the Brisbane French Festival at Southbank.
 
Oj Rugins,
B.Ed. (Leeds)
M.A. (Western Ontario)
Grad. Dip. App. Linguistics (Charles Darwin University)

 

Government Award:

Endeavour Language Teaching Fellowship (2005)

MLTAQ Awards:

50th Anniversary Award - Outstanding Contribution to Languages Education (2009) Inaugural Exemplary Practice Award for Primary Languages Education (2013).