Top tips and key dates for Primary language learning

Language learning in the Primary years is off and running, with homework set to build skills every evening.

Daily homework is an important part of learning languages, and this week, students in Years 2 to 6 have received languages homework.

The routine of completing homework promotes self-management, planning and organisational skills over time. Key words and language information are introduced, reviewed or reinforced each week, while students practise their newly learnt skills.

Vocabulary is essential in all communication. Language learners encounter vocabulary every day and must be able to acquire and retain it.

Research shows:
• Learners need to encounter the words in a variety of rich contexts (often up to 16 different ways).
• Learners remember the words when they have manipulated them in different ways, so variety is essential for vocabulary learning and teaching.
• Learners forget words within the first 24 hours, so reinforcement of vocabulary that recycles the words is important.

“Most people know the theory, but it’s important to put it into practice,” said IGS Head of Primary Languages Vilma Rotellini.

“These strategies do make a difference. While Kindergarten and Year 1 students will not receive homework, a time limit should be set and adhered to for older students. 

“Consistency is the key. Reminders and time limits help students focus.”

Homework guidelines and top tips:
• Years 2 and 3: 10 to 15 minutes a night
• Years 4 and 5: 15 to 20 minutes a night 
• Year 6: Up to 25 minutes a night.

“A little bit of homework is a good thing in languages, and a little bit every night is better than doing it all at once.

“It’s okay if your child needs some wind down time before beginning homework, and it’s really important to establish a homework routine that works for you and your child, a structure, with all stationery requirements at your fingertips.”

“Homework should be a positive experience. Provide a supporting learning environment. Organise a quiet, well lit, space, and turn off the television and music. Make sure a good dictionary is at hand, (Japanese: Katakana and Hiragana sheet) and encourage your child to use it. 

“Don’t interfere too much. Support and encourage your child to take initiative towards his/her work by asking the teacher for clarification the next day if necessary, before homework is due.

“Encourage your child to read words and read texts out loud. Check the end result. Encourage good quality and pride in work.

“Please sign the homework, write a note to teacher if it’s not completed, and remind your child to return the work to their bag every night ready for the next day.”

This year, we welcome new staff to the Primary languages team, including Cecile Michels, Sabrina Casu, Jutta Busche, Helen Simic and Linda Gu who, is teaching our first ever Kindergarten Chinese class. 

Diary dates: 
14 February, 6pm: Stage 3 (Years 5 and 6) languages evening (help build and maintain your links with our teachers) 
21 March: Harmony Day: Students dress in their national costume or the colour orange
3 to 5 April: Years 4 to 6 Language camp 
Performance Assemblies – an email will be sent advising of performance dates
2 August: International Day

“So let’s begin our IGS year of language learning by joining in the celebrations for the Year of the Pig Chinese New Year celebrations, then watch out for the French Film Festival coming up in March!”