Hills students speak many languages

Foreign concepts: The Hills Grammar School's head of languages Belinda Gerometta teaches a Japanese class. Picture: Natalie Roberts

Foreign concepts: The Hills Grammar School's head of languages Belinda Gerometta teaches a Japanese class. Picture: Natalie Roberts

The Hills Grammar School's students have a healthy interest in languages.

The Kenthurst school has 15 per cent of year 11 students enrolled in French or Japanese continuers courses this year, and 41 per cent of year 9 students enrolled in a language elective at a time when the federal government has allocated $1.8 million in the budget to revive foreign language teaching.

The money would fund the development of new curriculums for kindergarten to year 10 to arrest falling involvement in language electives.

The Hills Grammar's head of languages, Belinda Gerometta, said a second language provided more career opportunities, a better grasp of English grammar and deeper understanding of different cultures.

"The awareness that you get from learning about other cultures is important when you go overseas but also living in Australia in a multicultural society," she said.

"You also get the higher order thinking skills and are learning about literacy so your reading improves."

Ms Gerometta, who has taught French, Italian and Japanese for the past 19 years, said students may be deterred by the perceived difficulty of languages or other options.

"There are so many more choices now for the HSC or any elective year group, so you're competing against sport, drama and many other subjects," Ms Gerometta said.

"Languages are quite challenging and they require a lot of patience.

"I think there's a common misconception that if you speak English you're OK when you travel."

Less than 10 per cent of students study a language for their HSC, a Board of Studies review has found. Read more here.

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