French Immersion Programme - Stage de Tahiti, 2019
Ia ora na, kia ora, bonjour!
The 2019 Stage de Tahiti took place during the Term 3 holidays from 30 September to 12 October. It was an excellent opportunity to offer an immersion trip to Tahiti in French Polynesia. It was an amazing opportunity for ten French teachers from all over New Zealand (Invercargill, Christchurch, Wellington, Napier, the Waikato, Auckland, Kaipara and Whangarei) to use and communicate in French. We were able to establish meaningful links between our shared histories, cultures, and identities as Oceanic people in a stunningly beautiful part of the Pacific.
We participated in French language classes and numerous cultural activities organised by Horizons Francophones. This is a school which organises language and cultural trips for students and schools from around the world. Cultural activities included trips to museums, an introduction to the traditional Indigenous Polynesian way of life, Tahitian dance and language classes, a trip to the Académie Tahitienne, learning to paddle a 12 person Va’a (vaka/waka), a class in traditional Tahitian weaving, and time spent swimming and exploring the beautiful lagoon surrounding Moorea Island.
In addition, we were able to visit schools, meet Tahitian teachers, and establish potential connections for future school trips to Tahiti. All teachers embraced the immersion experience with French very much the language of communication during the entire two weeks, to the extent that it was very strange speaking to each other in English at the end of the trip.
I would like to thank the French Embassy of New Zealand, particularly Pascale Seignolles and Hazel Ryan, the Ministry of Education, and the team at Future Learning Solutions for the funding and work that goes into organising this séjour linguistique et culturel. Also, I would like to acknowledge the homestay families, the amazing team at Horizons Francophones, and lastly the ten participating teachers who made this trip so memorable and enjoyable.
Māuruuru, kia ora, merci, thank you!
Juliet Kennedy, Professional Expert - Centre for Languages, Future Learning Solutions
Mes réflexions générales
Je suis très reconnaissante de l’expérience à laquelle j’ai eu l’occasion de participer. Comme stagiaire, dés le moment où on se lève à 5h du matin, jusqu’ à 9h du soir, on était plongé dans la langue française, et aussi dans la culture tahitienne. La nécessité de parler en français était prévue et m’a poussée dans tous les sens. J’ai apprécié et bien profité de la chance d’être l’étudiante pendant deux semaines, entourée de gens prêts à me corriger- non seulement pendant les cours à l’école bilingue mais aussi avec ma famille d’accueil si chaleureuse.
En fait, je dois admettre que ce stage m’a vraiment ouvert les yeux à la culture polynésienne. Comme professeur de français en Nouvelle Zélande, ce que j’ai trouvé être le plus pertinent était de comprendre qu’on est frère et sœur avec eux, faisant partie d’une culture qui comprend les Maoris. Après avoir réfléchi, je vois les effets positifs pour les deux cultures si nous pouvions travailler ensemble à un niveau plus élargi que biculturel. Il est évident qu’il existe plein de similitudes entre toutes les îles de l’Océanie comme la langue, l’importance de la danse, les racines d’honneur dans la pratique du tatouage et aussi l’approche de la vie. Je suis devenue optimiste et accueillante de toutes les conséquences qui nous attendent.
Papia Rowe, St Peter’s School, Cambridge
Based in 'Ārue, our group learned about the importance of va'a in the Tahitian culture from its use for sailing so people could settle in more remote areas to its use for fishing. There is also the sport of racing which has become more and more popular.
Comprising of many different sizes, our group of 12 went out in a double rigger - six on each side. It was a great experience to paddle together and become more confident in a new activity.
Christine Black, James Hargest College, Invercargill
Organising future school trips
One of my objectives to apply for this immersion award was to make contact with a school in Tahiti hoping to take the first steps on the way of establishing an exchange. I was keen to meet people and find out more about school in Tahiti to develop a clearer idea of what would suit my students and what would be possible.
Therefore, I was most grateful that school visits were, in fact, part of the programme. Horizon Francophone, our language school, and Future Learning Solutions had kindly organised a group visit of three colleges and lycées in and around Papeete. We were welcomed with open arms and the interest in meeting us teachers from NZ and potentially our students from Aotearoa was heart-warming.
The first visit was interesting and successful for some, but I hadn't found my ideal exchange school yet. Thanks to Juliet Kennedy's help and the fast and flexible communication with Christine Batch from the Tahitian Ministry of Education, I could make contact with another lycée. Within one day I met the Head of faculty and the director, both of whom are very interested in starting a project. To be continued...
Stefanie Hossbach, St Margaret’s College, Christchurch
Re-connecting with friends
As a 16-year-old student, I took part in a six-week exchange to Tahiti. My exchange partner, Thierry Sicard, has recently returned to Tahiti so it was wonderful to meet up with him and his family again as we have done many times over the years both in France and in New Zealand. When offered the chance to visit the school I attended with him, I jumped at the opportunity.
Staff from the vice-rectorat facilitated the visit with a view to forging future exchanges between New Zealand and Tahitian schools. When we arrived at the reception, a class accompanied by the ‘directrice’ and their English teacher gathered to greet me. A young man with a crown of leaves stepped forward and began the welcome with an elegantly choreographed speech in Tahitian similar to ones we are used to hearing in Maori. I recognised similarities in speech form and language as he referred to fare, fenua and aro'a.
Then the class sang the New Zealand national anthem in Maori and in English before lining up to give me necklaces of sweet tiare (Tahitian flowers) and shells. I was really touched. I found it difficult not to cry. After that wonderful welcome I followed the students to their class for introductions and questions. Two more classes followed. The students were particularly interested in our NCEA system as the baccalauréat has changed recently with large components of internal assessment over the final two years of school and much more subject choice.
The warmth of the entire visit was moving. It would be great if something similar to the old FAPELEC student exchanges could be revived again. I must honour my old friend, Rob Grant, who sustained the exchange for many years. I hope there's a young and enthusiastic French teacher out there who is inspired to facilitate these exchanges once again. My exchange as a 16-year-old really did change the direction of my life.
Anne Moir Scott, Epsom Girls’ Grammar, Auckland
We advertise places on the French immersion programmes once per year. Programme Dates for 2020 are Monday 13 April to Saturday 25 April, 2020.
2019 Auckland French Speech Competition
On Thursday 29 August 2019, Auckland Normal Intermediate hosted the 2019 Auckland French Speeches Competition. This was a great opportunity to get together to celebrate the teaching and learning of French.
Participating schools were Baradene College, St Kentigern Boys’ Primary, St Cuthbert’s College, St Kentigern College, Epsom Girls Grammar School, Auckland Grammar School and Auckland Normal Intermediate.
Students were grouped in different categories: Year 7 Year 8, Year 9, Year 10 with a subcategory in each group for native speakers. Student’s presentations were of high standard and teachers and judges were impressed by what they heard. A huge Thanks to Jasmine Hanawy who organised this event
Nathalie Bourneville, Professional Expert – Centre for Languages