The study of a second language is a requisite part of the Western Australian Curriculum, and from 2023, Helena College is delighted to be introducing Auslan as our language offering in the  Junior School.  Auslan is short for Australian sign language – a language developed by, and for, Australians who are deaf or hearing impaired. It is a visual form of communication that uses hand, arm and body movements to convey meaning – and one that is the primary form of communication for our hearing impaired.

While we will teach Auslan in our Junior School, Indonesian and French will remain the languages offered at the Senior School.  From 2024, as students enter Year 6, they will participate in an introductory language immersion programme – undertaking one semester of Indonesian, and one of French, before making a decision to continue with one language from Year 7 onwards.

In Years 11-12, students may choose to continue with French or Indonesian as one of their Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) courses. Taking a language for their WACE entitles students to a 10 per cent bonus in the calculation of their Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) and can help them gain entry to their preferred university course. As well, many employers including the Australian Defence Force and the Australian Public Service, offer a financial bonus to employees who speak another language.

Language Studies

Learning a language is about far more than developing the word knowledge and grammatical understandings – although both are still important.

Modern language studies cultivate the students’ intercultural and personal understandings, develop their critical and analytical thinking, and improve problem-solving and communications skills.

There are language-specific careers, such as interpreting and translating, language teaching, and travel and tourism. But there are many other areas where a language gives you an edge: diplomacy, national security and strategy, trade, defence, journalism, development and many other fields. University Languages Portal Australia

Why Auslan in the Junior School?

Auslan was recognised as an official language by the Australian Government in 1987 – and there are numerous benefits in learning sign language. Auslan is very well-suited to primary school teaching and learning programmes due to the inherent interactive nature, its practical applications and engaging delivery. Auslan will also provide the cognitive development (both neural pathways and processes) for students in learning this language – which will prepare them well for Year 6 and beyond.

Why Indonesian?

  • Indonesia is regionally important to Australia for trade, business, defence, and tourism.
  • The College has already established links with the John Fawcett Foundation in Bali.
  • Gamelan is part of our music and cultural programme.
  • Indonesia is one of our closest neighbours.
  • Introduces students to a diverse range of cultural groups throughout the archipelago.
  • The College has student exchange links with Bali.

Why French?

  • French is a principal European language.
  • French is spoken across the world in many African and Pacific Rim countries and parts of Canada.
  • French culture is part of our cultural and historical landscape.

Helena College prides itself on the collaborative approach to teaching and learning another language. We believe that strong language pathways are essential to maintaining a progressive and challenging language programme, throughout a child’s education.

Language is integral to exploring and sustaining personal development and cultural identity and provides an intellectual framework to support conceptual development.

For further information about Languages at Helena please contact Ibu Horne, Head of Department – Languages.

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