By TRACEY ROXBURGH
It gave new meaning to thinking globally but acting locally.
In the normal course of events, language teachers from all over New Zealand would have spent the recent school holidays overseas, being immersed in the various languages they teach.
Instead, 70 French, Japanese, Chinese, German and Spanish primary,
secondary and distance learning teachers spent part of their school holidays being immersed in their languages here.
Future Learning Solutions national French advisor, Queenstowner Guillaume Charton, says teachers were split into their language groups and spent their entire time in the resort making the most of all the activities and attractions on offer, but only speaking in that language.
‘‘It’s been really successful, having teachers from all over NZ coming to Queenstown to actually make Queenstown an overseas town and using
those different languages.
‘‘Usually we take those teachers overseas — we’d take them to Tahiti, to
China, to Japan, to other locations overseas … we go away and be immersed.
‘‘This is the first time ever we [stayed locally] — we had to readapt the programmes to allow those teachers to still develop their language while
staying in NZ.’’
Charton says the feedback from the teachers had been brilliant and he
hasn’t ruled out keeping it local again in the future.
‘‘They [the teachers] were surprised we could do [this].
‘‘They’ve had good laughter and banter, but they’re still progressing their language skills and discovered the French culture while still being in Queenstown, so it’s been really, really fun.’’
St Hilda’s teacher Nadia Ruiz says the week she spent here was ‘‘amazing’’,
while Whakatane High teacher Sheryl Everitt says she probably spoke more
French in Queenstown than she had in New Caldedonia on a previous
‘‘In New Caledonia we got to get the culture of the country, definitely, staying with families there.
‘‘We don’t have that here but … as a group we are talking French all the
time so it’s wonderful for our professional development and we’re learning
activities we can take back to our towns in NZ, doing the same kind of thing
we’re doing here in Whakatane, Dunedin.