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Japanese Immersion at St Anthony's Catholic College

10 May 2022 | Posted in Learning and Teaching

Japanese Immersion at St Anthony's Catholic College

Yuki Kotani

By Yuki Kotani

Classroom Teacher / Curriculum Leader (P-12)- Languages

St Anthony's Catholic College, Deeragun

St Anthony’s Catholic College is the only school in Townsville to offer a Bilingual program. This unique approach to education is shown to strengthen the learner’s ability to process information, which prepares them for higher-level thinking skills and enhances brain development.

Led by Japanese teacher, Kotani Yuki sensei, the Bilingual (Japanese Immersion) program was introduced at St Anthony’s Catholic College in 2020 to Year 1 students where Students study the Australian curriculum in Japanese and English. They spend a half day in the Japanese program and the other half in the English program. For example, Year 1 students study Geography in Japanese and Science in English. When teaching the Japanese program, there is no English used at all, however many hands-on and game-based activities are provided for students to enjoy and understand their learning. Literacy development takes place in English and later literacy skills will transfer to Japanese.

Some benefits of the Bilingual program include problem solving skills, intercultural competence, critical analysis, independent thinking and resilience. The program motivates students to work together in teams, develop their brain development and communication skills, and encourages them to take initiative.

“The students have adapted so quickly to this new learning environment, and it has been wonderful to watch their confidence increase when having conversations in Japanese,” Kotani sensei said.

The College now has three year levels in the program and it has been amazing to see how much students have learned, and how much they progress every day.

Parents are provided with a vast amount of resources to enable them to support their child at home with their learning, with many parents enjoying learning Japanese alongside their child. Parents are also invited to attend support meetings to exchange ideas on assisting their children and listen to advice from parents who have children in higher bilingual program year levels. Teachers provide overviews of the program and video clips that were used in class each week, and regularly provide updates and photos of their children so parents can see their progress.

The Japanese and English teachers who are a part of this bilingual program meet weekly to plan lessons collaboratively, and the program’s admin staff provide a great supportive environment, which contributes to the success of the program.

St Anthony’s Catholic College has seen amazing results, and positions in the program are highly competitive. If you’re interested, applications for the program open in Term 3 of the student’s Prep year.

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