LOTE stands for Languages Other Than English and is an Essential Learning area. Students in grades 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 at Sunnybank Primary learn Chinese Mandarin.
Chinese is one of the four priority languages identified in the Government’s National Asian Languages Studies in Schools Program (NALSSP) in 2009.
‘Mandarin’ refers to Standard Chinese, which is based on the dialect spoken in China’s capital, Beijing. Mandarin is the official spoken language and the language used for education in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan). Mandarin is also one of the four official languages of the Republic of Singapore, and one of the six official languages of the U.N.
In LOTE classes at Sunnybank Primary, students develop knowledge and understanding about the connection between language and culture. For example, they learn how valuing respectful behaviour towards elders has been embedded in respectful forms of address. Students develop their Comprehending Skills through Listening and Reading; they develop their Composing Skills through Speaking and Writing. Through their learning of Chinese, students have the opportunity to develop Intercultural Competence – the ability to communicate appropriately between languages and cultures. Students are also required to reflect on their learning, which gives them the opportunity to identify and improve their language learning strategies. This reflection and development of strategies can be transferred to learning in other curriculum areas.
Students find out how the world’s second largest economy and Australia’s largest trading partner is a land of cultural tradition, change and diversity. Contemporary Chinese society, including modern interpretations of tradition are shown and discussed. For example, how characters are word processed using an alphabet-based (Pinyin) input method, how e-cards have taken over from traditional hard-copy cards and how invitations look when texted. Students examine their own cultural expressions and body language to understand similarities and differences between their home language and culture and that of China. Through this process, students can make informed choices about how to act and respond in another culture. Being able to think and communicate well in another language will assist students to interact meaningfully in today’s global society.