The lan­guages of learn­ing

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE -

BILIN­GUAL 5-year-old Camille Howie has no family ties to France but speaks its lan­guage flu­ently.

The New Zealand-born young­ster is taught in French three days a week at Rich­mond Road School’s L’Archipel unit.

Her re­main­ing lessons are in English.

The school has bilin­gual units in French, Maori and Samoan which all teach the stan­dard New Zealand cur­ricu­lum but in two lan­guages.

‘‘It’s not home­work – they’re not learn­ing French,’’ their mother Ge­or­gia Saxon says.

‘‘Be­ing bilin­gual is a huge gift you can give to your chil­dren with­out them ever real­is­ing you’re giv­ing it to them.’’

L’Archipel was es­tab­lished in 1996 by the FRENZ School In­cor­po­rated As­so­ci­a­tion and is now one of just 30 schools world­wide recog­nised by the French gov­ern­ment for teach­ing a na­tional cur­ricu­lum.

Saxon has been speak­ing French to both her chil­dren since they were born. Nei­ther par­ent has French roots but Saxon speaks it flu­ently hav­ing spent time liv­ing in France and has a masters de­gree in the lan­guage. Most of the DVDs, books and mu­sic the chil­dren are ex­posed to at home are in French.

It’s only when Saxon’s English­s­peak­ing part­ner comes home that the trio goes back to speak­ing English.

Most of the chil­dren who at­tend L’Archipel are bilin­gual when they start school.

Grey Lynn cou­ple Michel and Char­lotte Ge­hin speak only French at home with their chil­dren Louis and So­phie.

‘‘It seems quite nat­u­ral now,’’ Char­lotte Ge­hin says.

‘‘My main de­sire for them was for them to be able to to talk to their grand­par­ents and family in France, it’s part of their iden­tity, and I think with­out the lan­guage you can’t re­late as well,’’ she says.

Michel Ge­hin moved to New Zealand from France more than seven years ago.

He prefers not lan­guages within sen­tence.

‘‘There’s the odd word you can’t help be­cause there’s no equiv­a­lent some­times, but as par­ents I don’t want to speak Franglais to them,’’ he says.

Nearly a quar­ter of the New Zealand pop­u­la­tion is now bilin­gual or doesn’t speak English as a mother tongue ac­cord­ing to the 2013 Cen­sus.

Univer­sity of Auck­land se­nior lec- to mix

the both same turer and bilin­gual­ism ex­pert John McCaffery is study­ing the Rich­mond Road School L’Archipel unit.

He says a bilin­gual ed­u­ca­tion means both lan­guages are used for in­struc­tion across all sub­jects in the teach­ing cur­ricu­lum.

‘‘It’s not about teach­ing your English-speak­ing chil­dren French and vice versa.

‘‘They don’t sit down and learn that ‘la chaise’ means ‘chair’ in English.’’

Aca­demic achieve­ment for bilin­gual chil­dren is typ­i­cally bet­ter than their mono­lin­gual peers, he says.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.