The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

As part of my recent sabbatical, I made the decision to enrol in a language school in Malaga, Spain. I did so with a realistic view about how much Spanish acquisition one could achieve in three weeks of intensive language. My driving rationale was that as a Headmaster of a College with an international outreach, I wanted to role model just how important we see the acquisition of a second language. It was also a great chance to put myself in the place of one of our boys, and experience learning a language from a zero base; not to mention the experience of what it is like to face five hours of lessons each and every day.

Within the Australian context, offering and maintaining a strong second language focus is challenging. Last year our Executive debated whether or not languages should be made optional. The outcome of our deliberations was that if a college such as Scotch College does not see second language acquisition as central, then what hope is there? As such, exposure to some form of language programme at a suitable academic and cultural level, will be offered for each student up to and including Year 10. After Year 10, students can then make a decision whether or not to pursue a second language.

In coming to the conclusion to continue to prioritise second language acquisition, we revisited relevant parts of the statements (see below) that put the line in the sand for what we are trying to achieve for each boy at Scotch College.

Scotch Mission

To develop young men with strength of character, self-understanding, a passion for sustained learning and spiritual inquiry who will become active members of the global community.

IB Philosophy

International Baccalaureate Organisation aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

Round Square

These IDEALS encourage our students to think of their education in the broadest terms and to recognise the value of the breadth of opportunities offered at the College.

As part of the College's strategy to become known as a leading centre for second languages, we will commence offering some new conversational classes in 2018 for parents and the wider community. Further information about this initiative can be found here.

Returning to our day to day challenges, our Year 12s appear to be happy with their final examinations. It will come as no surprise that this term is slipping past very quickly. The challenge across all sub-schools and all year levels, is to ensure our boys maintain their focus in each subject right up to their final day. After then there is plenty of time to relax and switch off.

Have a great fortnight

Dr A J O'Connell