SoA Term 3 Update 2006-2007

Debating in the chamber of the European Parliament in Strasbourg`, speaking Spanish in sunny Barcelona, or sumo fighting and sushi in Tokyo; which would you choose?  These are to name but a few examples of the tricky decisions the pupils at St Ninian’s High School have been faced with this year – quelle cauchemar!  Nonetheless, the School of Ambition continues to offer its pupils the opportunity to participate in these highly “ambitious” projects, which are not only fun but share the common goals of creating confident individuals, successful learners, responsible citizens and effective contributors.  The best bit is that the pupils don’t necessarily have to narrow it down to just one venture/experience, iqué alivio! The most recent success was that of the five girls, doing Advanced Higher French, at the European Youth Parliament.  Along with the other 24 pupils from East Dunbartonshire studying for the Advanced Higher, the girls spent a week in Strasbourg preparing for their big day at the parliament.  The preparation included a visit to a school, a tour of the city, and interviewing passers-by in the street with a questionnaire about Europe, all in French, bien sûr!  Furthermore, the girls not only actively participated in the debates in the parliament but they have since used what they learned to create a short news bulletin which has been entered into a competition run by AMOPA.  Find out more about this in News from the Modern Languages Department.

Further to this, each year, the pupils studying Spanish are given the opportunity to go to a summer academy on the beautiful Costa Brava.  Here, they attend Spanish lessons, mingle with locals and sing traditional songs, and visit many of the cultural delights Barcelona has to offer.  Those who have been before have come home, bounding with confidence, and unable to stop talking (in Spanish!) about what a great time they had. The school is also actively pursuing links with schools in France and Japan.  At present, a group of 17 pupils are spending a few lunch hours a week practising their Japanese, learning a little about the culture and sampling some of the local delicacies.  In Japan, they will travel to various cities where they will take part in a very wide range of activities.  They will visit local schools where they will be involved in games and sports as well as take part in Japanese language and culture lessons.  They are also scheduled to take in several museums, churches and temples and enjoy a calligraphy lesson.  Their timing will also permit them to witness the sumo wrestling, sword fighting and traditional dancing of the Sekiyama Festival.

Thirty six S3 pupils will also be visiting Paris in June as part of a French Immersion Break.  Staff from the Modern Languages and IT departments will assist the pupils in setting up a website to communicate with pupils, parents and staff through blogging and podcasting.  The aim is that by the end of the trip, the pupils will feel more confident in using both French and ICT.

ICT is also being used to keep local primary schools in the loop.  Before Christmas a joint S1/Primary 7 venture saw the pupils involved in web-blogging whereby the secondary pupils described some famous people in French and the primary pupils had to guess who it was.  The primary schools will also soon be involved in video-conferencing, the use of which will be expanded to reach link schools in Japan and France. Where to next?  Croatia? Madagascar?  You bet!