A wise MLTAT legend once told me “No other learning area has to justify its existence like Languages do.”

These words have been very true. Part of being a Languages teacher is constantly justifying your learning area. Advocacy becomes a part of the role, and it can sometimes be tricky to manage when you are between multiple schools and age levels. Please note, the idea of this list is to generate some useful tips, don’t try and do them all. No-one needs burn-out! 


Meet the community

I know one language colleague who volunteered as the teacher representative for their school association. She said it was a great way to promote language learning in their school. This might not be possible if you are across schools or have children at home. In one school we sent out specialist letters to all families at the start of the year, including our name, who we were and what our program looks like on a weekly basis. I took this opportunity to also share why learning a language is an important skill to learn. Popping in and making an appearance at the ‘Welcome Back Barbeque’ or even helping service food or drinks also helps put a name to the face. 


A display board

I requested exclusive use of one of the notice boards at our front office for my last school’s French program. I used it to share information about the benefits of language learning and examples of student work. Display boards can be a lot of work. I ended up printing a header that stayed up all year. I also laminated sheets of coloured A3 cardboard that I stapled to the display board. The laminate became a beautiful ‘border’ to back student work, but it also served another purpose. Thanks to the laminate I could quickly blu-tak up pieces of work without having to beg someone to lend me a staple gun. 



Singing is wonderful, it teaches pronunciation, intonation and vocabulary. Don’t worry if you can’t sing (one student very honestly told me, Madame you sing like a bogan), because if it's repetitive it will be sung outside of the classroom too. The last school I taught in had a lot of students with parents working in the school as staff. I knew language was going home when I heard stories from colleagues  “Sam was singing the Bonjour song while doing his hair this morning” or “Susie was rehearsing her French poem all afternoon.” 


Celebrate events

Depending on the school setting, celebrating milestones such as birthdays in the target language also can build excitement. Singing “Happy Birthday” in the target language with birthday stickers or bookmarks gets students talking around the school and at home.  


Label up the school

Work with students to label up their school and classroom. Make signs using language for the library, music room, hall, and for items in their classroom. As a courtesy, I’ve always checked with the school community first.


Find language champions within the school

At my last school, the office staff were wonderfully supportive of languages. One frustrating situation at my last school turned into a gem. I had to do attendance but didn’t have the ability to enter it into the Department’s Edupoint system. Our Early Childhood Classrooms were also way too far away for students to run down with a note. As a solution, we’d call through the attendance, but did it on speaker phone and in language. Students would greet the office staff each week by politely saying hello, asking how they were and then sharing who was away. This was a situation that sort of happened organically, but blossomed into something wonderful. Our school business manager (who I was concerned it might annoy), actually confided that it was something she looked forward to on a Thursday morning because it brought something different to her routine. 


Three things I learnt today

A stash of sticky notes, or strips of recycled photocopy paper can be great for students to jot down three things they learnt in the lesson. Laminated strips are also great for using up the waste pieces after trimming. Encourage students to place the paper in their bag to take home and share with the people they live with. 


Send work samples home

It can be tempting to have students stick every little thing they do away in an exercise book to go home at the end of the year. In some contexts and schools it can be useful to have students make something using the language to keep at home, such as number posters, colour charts, or little books.


The newsletter and social media page

This can be time consuming, but updates in school communications do build a profile of what happens in the Languages classroom and that this is a learning area to be celebrated. There might even be some students in years 5 and 6 who would love the challenge to write an article to share what is happening in their lessons. 



Again, this one can be a challenge if you are split between schools. Sometimes I’ve worked with music teachers who were happy to help support an assembly item or song in the target language. It doesn’t have to be massive: number raps, nursery rhymes, simple songs all share the joy of language learning. If assembly isn’t on a day you are at the school, the wonders of technology also allow things to be pre-recorded and celebrated too. 



This one is hard, but I have learnt over the years that it doesn’t need to be fancy! Early on in my career I would exhaust myself trying to cook French crepes or Indonesian martabak from scratch with students once a year. It became too much of a challenge when I was then in 5 different schools spread across a 100km radius. I then learnt that quick and easy still brings excitement and learning. 


You will need to check allergies with the office or class teacher but most things these days can be worked around. When in doubt, I’ve contacted families with known dietary requirements and discussed any allergies or modifications that I can make for students. Some examples that have tried:  

  • When 5/6 classes at one of my schools were studying microbiology, I decided on a cheese tasting. Students were given small sample trays, aluminum patty pans, and were invited to try samples of European cheeses. We discussed which ones were French or popular in France. The cheeses weren’t fancy, but Coles brand camembert, brie, blue vein and a few others did the job. We used language to make requests and discuss what we liked and disliked. I had a lot of parental feedback about how this one was really enjoyed! 
  • I’ve also had a paint and snack, where older students served younger students baguettes and croissants with French jams. For gluten free students I served crepes (frozen gluten free variety) and jam.  
  • At Christmas I have purchased Swiss rolls at the supermarket and purchased sprinkles, condiments etc to make French Christmas log cakes. 


Send them to the principal 

Send them to the principal to celebrate the WINS. If you’re in a school with a supportive principal, ask when a good time would be for a student to pop in and share what they are doing.



If you are tech savvy and have a list of student permissions, podcasting can be a great way to share songs and pronunciation at home. At my last school we had a podcast called “Kinder Radio” for our Kinder students. This podcast was run completely through an app on one of the school’s iPads. Once I got the hang of it, it didn’t take long to edit the podcast after school. Our Kinder teacher would share it as part of the See-Saw app posts that went home. 


Language competitions

Some of our single language associations in Tasmania run a language competition.Entering these competitions are a great way to promote languages in a school and give language learning the same profile as inter-school sports activities or performance Eisteddfods. Language competitions are run by the following SLA’s in Tasmania:

  • Alliance Française 


Do you have any other great tips for advocacy? We would love to hear them! 




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