Learning language by celebrating culture

Immersion and interaction with food, clothing and culture has become the new way of teaching languages.

Holy Innocents Catholic Primary School Croydon held a Rosetta Stone Day to showcase its news way of teaching languages with a series of mini language classes by parents, a feast of food from all around the world, art activities and cultural games.

Adding to the celebration students and teachers – and some parents – dressed to reflect the language they’re learning – or teaching.

Offering 24 languages, the Rosetta Stone program at the school is taught in a staged method of progression through five levels with four units per level.

Activities cover speaking, writing, listening, reading grammar, pronunciation and review.

Year 1 to Year 6 students spend 60 minutes per week on the new program and study a language chosen by themselves and their parents as part of the English syllabus. Kindergarten students spend the same time on English only to cover the basics.


Mr Ronald Smith

Ronald Smith from the Catholic Education Office Sydney’s Innovation and Development team said the CEO had bought 5,000 licences and piloted the program in 17 Archdiocese schools in the Inner West.

“This is the demographic where there’s the highest number of children from different language backgrounds,” said Mr Smith.

He said the pilot would be reviewed at the end of the year and has the potential to be offered across the Archdiocese.

“There’s no replacing teachers, it is part of an enrichment,” said Mr Smith.

“Problem solving is always the biggest problem we’ve got, children on the autism spectrum loved this because they‘re controlling the response,” he said.

He said the fact that it was digital technology meant that students found it easy to use. Students also learned at different rates and the program catered for that.

“This is positive globalisation, we can go anywhere and learn with a device and run with it,” he said.

“Everything the student does is recorded back into the database,” said Mr Smith.

Principal Deborah Bestulic said the program fitted in with contemporary teaching methods.IMG_0585

“When you use Rosetta Stone it’s the experience you buy – we’re trying from a contemporary pedagogy to encourage problem solving and independent thinking,” she said.

Parent Michele Boudan-Stanic, who speaks French, is mother of Olivier in Year 3 and said she was very impressed with the program.

“He’s learned so much – he now speaks French at home,” said Mrs Boudan-Stanic.

Troy Klep, Business Development of Yellow Edge (the company that markets the Rosetta Stone program) said the program can also be articulated to an adult level and was used by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Federal Police.

He said the school could use two levels of the program – language lessons and games and activities, the third level is live tutoring, which is offered to adults.

“It’s innovative, available on all devices and online – so it’s travel accessible,” said Mr Klep.

“It remembers your level, is interactive and covers all learning styles,” he said.

A major benefit if the program is that the student’s results are collated and their progress and history is recorded while they are registered.

“So they can take it with them,” said Mr Klep.

There are 7 million users of Rosetta Stone internationally and 20,000 educational institutions using the program for their students.

“Rosetta Stone is focused on foundation learning, it is intuitive, and the program can also be edited by the teacher where content is required to be tailored to select students

Teachers can get reports of the time the students spend on a language, the number of attempts they make and their scores.

“The self-paced side of Rosetta Stone works perfectly,” said Mr Klep.

Karina Settineri, schools Coordinator of Rosetta Stone, said the program was giving students choice in what they want to learn.

“Having the opportunity for students to choose their language is the big thing for me,” she said.

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