Learning a second language is a practical and useful skill necessary for participation in today's changing world. Globalisation, increased travel opportunities and improved information and communication technologies have made moving between countries, cultures and languages commonplace.
Learning a language other than English provides opportunities for students to become more accepting of diversity, more respectful of others and more aware of their place in the international community. It has also been linked to improved literacy skills.
In NSW high schools, languages is a key learning area.
Language study allows students to develop communication skills, learn about languages as systems and explore the relationship between language and culture. Students engage with the linguistic and cultural diversity of societies and reflect on their understanding of social interactions.
The study of a language is compulsory for 100 hours in one continuous school year from Year 7 to Year 10, but preferably in Years 7 or 8.
In Years 11 and 12, NSW schools offer a wide variety of languages, catering for beginning students to background speakers.