Farewell 2020 and Happy New Year for 2021

What a year it has been! Because of the pandemic, I have been unable to run any face-to-face workshops since March. Then in November NESA deregistered all workshops across the state. It is with a heavy heart that I have reached the decision to close this business. The website will remain for one further year, to enable all previous workshop participants to access materials. Thank you to everyone who ever worked with me these past 8 years. It has been extremely rewarding to work with dedicated teachers across New South Wales, who are giving children the gifts of speaking another language and increased intercultural understanding. I am looking forward to working full-time in the classroom in 2021 and hope that 2021 brings new adventures and rich learning experiences for you all.

Top 5 languages studied for HSC in 2019

NESA has released the snapshots of HSC study 2019. Do you know what the top 5 languages studied this year are?

Top 5 languages studied for 2019 HSC are Japanese, French, Chinese, Italian Spanish.

You can see all the data for Languages here.

To see other snapshots, take a look at https://educationstandards.nsw.edu.au/wps/portal/nesa/11-12/hsc/about-HSC/HSC-facts-figures

Be inspired by the new syllabus

Hurry – enrolments for the last workshop this year close tomorrow! Join us in Penrith, 7 November, as we learn to understand the intent of the new syllabus to enliven your programs and engage your students. Feel excited about what you are going to teach!

You will leave this workshop:

  • familiar with the content for stage 4 2nd language learners in the new syllabuses
  • equipped with thinking tools to see how programs need to change
  • inspired with new ideas to give an authentic focus to units
  • and with a clear timeline for making changes.

Register now.

Urgently seeking prac placement 

Attn Sydney area teachers. Urgently seeking a prac placement for a masters student from Western Sydney Uni. Need half a load of Japanese and/or Chinese. Student is willing to travel anywhere in greater Sydney area. Prac starts 5 Sept until 28 October, with an induction visit hopefully on 1 or 2 September. Pleasecontact me via my contact form if you can help.

message me if you can help.

What would be your ideal professional learning session?

Teachers are expected to differentiate learning according to the needs and interests of individual students, yet when it comes to their own professional learning, teachers are often taught in an outdated fashion, and sometimes about topics that have little application in their specialty teaching area.

Leanne wants to hear from as many language teachers across Australia as possible. Please share this post far and wide with your language teaching friends.

If you could learn anything you like in a professional development session, what would it be?

Calling my past university students

Dear past students,

Where are you now? What have you been doing since completing your university education courses with me? I am often contacted by schools looking for new teachers. I invite you to keep in touch with me, to build networks. Few students check/ have access to university emails after they leave, so let me know where to contact you!

I look forward to hearing from you,


Would you like a say in what forms NSW K-10 syllabus?

BOSTES is currently seeking feedback on the draft K-10 Languages framework.

This will inform the writing of the draft K – 10 syllabus for Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Modern Greek, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese.

It is important to provide your feedback now, as this affects what you will teach in the future. Visit BOSTES to learn more.

Languages Teacher Education in Australia

AEF’s latest research report, What Works 10,  focusses on the state of languages education in Australia. It identifies 6 key issues:

  1. Shrinking of languages teacher education offerings
  2. Lack of language differentiation in teacher education
  3. Concurrency of language and methodology studies
  4. Nationally consistent and standardised assessments in languages teacher education
  5. The long road to specialisation
  6. Nationally consistent licensing for languages teachers

What Works 10 highlights the urgent need to prioritise a focus on languages teacher education in Australia.

As language teachers, we know the highlights and challenges of learning specific aspects of our languages. Future language teachers who receive tuition on how to teach their specific language certainly are advantaged, compared to those who receive a generic languages methodology instruction. Where tutorials on Japanese method, French method etc. are run, subject specialist tutors can provide students with in-depth learning experiences, built from a wealth of classroom experience. Scripted languages present unique challenges in teaching in our classrooms, and require a specialist focus.

Many language teachers work in isolation in their schools, so ongoing professional development opportunities, and time to network and share with others, online and face to face, is of utmost importance.

What are your thoughts on languages teacher education in Australia? In your experience, what has been really successful in preparing you as a language teacher? What would your number one wish for improvement be?

ACARA Languages update

All Languages teachers should get ready to provide feedback on the draft curriculum Italian F-10 and the draft curriculum Chinese F-10 that are due to be released for consultation from December 2013. This is our opportunity to provide feedback on the issues of the design of Languages curriculum. Read more at: http://www.acara.edu.au/acara_update_06112012.html

Connected classrooms in NSW

Asia Education Foundation (AEF) has released a report on what works to build demand for Asian languages. NSW has successfully stimulated student demand and made language learning possible for students in schools where the language was not previously offered by supporting teachers in delivering languages via video conference and online software sharing. Importantly, it is not just a case of switching on the technology and students will learn! Read more about what made the initiatives successful in the AEF publication: “Connected classrooms” in NSW.

ACARA Australian Curriculum: Languages update

ACARA has released the languages for which Australian Curriculum will be developed by the end of 2013. One language (can you guess which one?) will have all three learner pathways developed (background language learner, first language learner and second language learner). For the other languages listed, only one pathway will be developed by end of 2013 – either a background language learner or second language learner pathway.

Consultation on the draft F-10 curriculum for Chinese and Italian second language learner pathways will occurr from September 2012. Be sure to have your say – the future of language learning in Australia is in your hands.

You can read more at the ACARA website.


fruits in japaneseTagxedo is a word cloud generator. You can load a file, submit a webpage or enter your own text. Change the colour theme, font, orientation, layout and shape. The more times each word is entered, the larger it appears in the word cloud. Tagxedo word clouds are interactive – mouse over each word and the word pops up. Click on the words and a Google search of that word loads. You can save the completed Tagxedo as an image, or get the link to email, or code to embed in your blog. I recommend you embed this or save the link before you leave the site, otherwise you can’t find your created word clouds within the site.


ToonDoo is an online comic-creating tool. You can sign up for free, or pay for an educational version.

To create comics in foreign languages, simply choose the text bubble that looks like this:

Find these and other great manga style characters under the ‘special’ tab (indicated by stars) in the ToonDoo maker.

This site also has the option to create your own cartoon characters, calledTraitR. What a fun way to explore describing what people look like in other languages. Students could create their own characters, then describe what they look like, or create a character from the description the teacher provides. Students could use it for self description too, as you can upload a photo as a reference – I had lots of fun creating a cartoon of myself!