Developing Confident, Literate and Cultured Citizens for the Future
The English learning Area provides opportunities for students to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values essential to their becoming active and literate citizens in a rapidly changing world.
The overall objective of the English learning Area is to develop students’ knowledge of English language, literature and literacy that can be successfully applied in authentic and increasingly complex settings.
The Lower School English programs for Years 7-10 are based on the three interrelated strands of the Australian Curriculum: English.
Strands and Sub-strands
The strands of language, literature and literacy are grouped into sub-strands as indicated in the table below:-
|Language variation and change||Literature and context||Texts in context|
|Language for interaction||Responding to literature||Interacting with others|
|Text structure and organisation||Examining literature||Interpreting, analysing and evaluating|
|Expressing and developing ideas||Creating literature||Creating texts|
Language variation and change:
Students learn that languages and dialects are constantly evolving due to historical, social and cultural changes, demographic movements and technological innovations. They come to understand that these factors, along with new virtual communities and environments, continue to affect the nature and spread of English.
Language for interaction:
Students learn that the language used by individuals varies according to their social setting and the relationships between the participants. They learn that accents and styles of speech and idiom are part of the creation and expression of personal and social identities.
Text structure and organisation:
Students learn how texts are structured to achieve particular purposes; how language is used to create texts that are cohesive and coherent; how texts about more specialised topics contain more complex language patterns and features; and how the author guides the reader/viewer through the text through effective use of resources at the level of the whole text, the paragraph and the sentence.
Expressing and developing ideas:
Students learn how, in a text, effective authors control and use an increasingly differentiated range of clause structures, words and word groups, as well as combinations of sound, image, movement, verbal elements and layout. They learn that the conventions, patterns and generalisations that relate to English spelling involve the origins of words, word endings, Greek and Latin roots, base words and affixes.
Literature and context
Students learn how ideas and viewpoints about events, issues and characters that are expressed by authors in texts are drawn from and shaped by different historical, social and cultural contexts.
Responding to literature:
Students learn to identify personal ideas, experiences and opinions about literary texts and discuss them with others. They learn how to recognise areas of agreement and difference, and how to develop and refine their interpretations through discussion and argument.
Students learn how to explain and analyse the ways in which stories, characters, settings and experiences are reflected in particular literary genres, and how to discuss the appeal of these genres. They learn how to compare and appraise the ways authors use language and literary techniques and devices to influence readers. They also learn to understand, interpret, discuss and evaluate how certain stylistic choices can create multiple layers of interpretation and effect.
Students learn how to use personal knowledge and literary texts as starting points to create imaginative writing in different forms and genres and for particular audiences. Using print, digital and online media, students develop skills that allow them to convey meaning, address significant issues and heighten engagement and impact.
Texts in context:
Students learn that texts from different cultures or historical periods may reveal different patterns in how they go about narrating, informing and persuading.
Interacting with others:
Students learn how individuals and groups use language patterns to express ideas and key concepts to develop and defend arguments. They learn how to promote a point of view by designing, rehearsing and delivering spoken and written presentations and by appropriately selecting and sequencing linguistic and multimodal elements.
Interpreting, analysing, evaluating:
Students learn to comprehend what they read and view by applying growing contextual, semantic, grammatical and phonic knowledge. They develop more sophisticated processes for interpreting, analysing, evaluating and critiquing ideas, information and issues from a variety of sources. They explore the ways conventions and structures are used in written, digital, multimedia and cinematic texts to entertain, inform and persuade audiences, and they use their growing knowledge of textual features to explain how texts make an impact on different audiences.
Students apply knowledge they have developed in other strands and sub-strands to create with clarity, authority and novelty a range of spoken, written and multimodal texts that entertain, inform and persuade audiences. They do so by strategically selecting key aspects of a topic as well as language, visual and audio features. They learn how to edit for enhanced meaning and effect by refining ideas, reordering sentences, adding or substituting words for clarity, and removing repetition. They develop and consolidate a handwriting style that is legible, fluent and automatic, and that supports sustained writing. They learn to use a range of software programs including word processing software, selecting purposefully from a range of functions to communicate and create clear, effective, informative and innovative texts.
Students demonstrate their knowledge and skills through achievement in four interrelated language modes that relate to:-
- Listening and Speaking
Within each language mode, content descriptions describe what learners are expected to know, understand and do.
Listening and Speaking
This strand refers to the various formal and informal ways spoken language is used to convey and receive meaning. It involves the development and demonstration of knowledge about the appropriate spoken language for particular audiences and occasions, including body language and voice. It also involves the development of active listening strategies and an understanding of the conventions of different spoken texts.
This strand involves learners understanding, interpreting, critically analysing, reflecting upon and enjoying written texts. It encompasses reading a wide range of texts.. Reading involves active engagement with texts and the development of knowledge about the relationship between texts and the contexts in which they are created. It also involves the development and application of knowledge about a range of strategies for reading.
This strand involves learners actively conceiving, planning, composing, editing and publishing a range of texts including writing for print and electronic media and performance. Writing involves using appropriate language for particular purposes or occasions, both formal and informal, to express and represent ideas, issues, arguments, events, experience, character, emotion and information and to reflect on such ideas. It involves the development and application of knowledge about strategies for writing and the conventions of Standard Australian English.
This strand involves learners in understanding, interpreting, critically analysing, reflecting upon and enjoying visual and non-print texts. It encompasses reading and viewing a wide range of texts and media. Viewing involves active engagement with visual texts and the development of knowledge about the relationship between such texts and the contexts in which they are created. It also involves the development and application of knowledge about a range of strategies for reading.
Learners become more confident in using appropriate terminology to discuss language conventions and use.
The English Area describes expected standards in three ways:-
- Demonstration of achievement within each strand and sub-strand by examples of annotated evidence of learning in each student’s portfolio of work
- Formal assessment of achievement in Reading, Writing and Viewing in semester tests
- Links to the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) achievement bands for writing and reading.
Lower School English Programs
Most students participate in mainstream Lower School Programs that implement the English syllabus appropriate to a specific year level from the Western Australian Curriculum and Assessment Outline. It is a coherent and comprehensive course that is designed to prepare students for all Year 11 and 12 courses, for post-secondary study, further training and/or employment, and for participation in Australian society.
Year 7 students who demonstrate superior achievement in Semester 1 are nominated by their class teacher to join the extension program which runs after school in Semester 2. Years 8, 9 and Year 10 English Extension classes are formed based upon the number of students who demonstrate superior achievement in the previous year. Typically, students receive enrichment and extension opportunities, and may also complete the Mainstream Program at a faster rate. Because places are limited and it is a competitive selection process, some students do not retain a place in the extension program from one year to the next.
From time to time, depending upon student numbers and the availability of staff, students may be selected for the Accelerated Program, in Year 9 or Year 10. Like the Extension Program, students receive enrichment and extension opportunities. Students are selected based upon their potential for success in English in upper school. This program is designed to fill gaps in student achievement and uses innovative approaches to engage students and enable students to achieve their potential. While this is a challenging course which requires commitment from students, students are often well-prepared for the academic rigour of upper school English and Literature courses.
Focus English Program
Selected students whose literacy skills are impacting upon their overall academic progress receive intensive literacy support through the Focus English Program. This is a modified English course. Some students are selected for short term individual assistance in a smaller class and then return to the Mainstream Program, while other students benefit from longer term assistance. Students who complete the Focus English course receive ongoing support to give them the best opportunity to achieve literacy benchmarks for NAPLAN (Year 7 and Year 9) and OLNA (Year 10), essential for completing the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE), awarded to senior students.
English as a Second Language Program
Students with a second or multiple language background may be placed in specialised classes with teachers and programs particularly focussed on multiple language learning. Enrolment is normally discussed on enrolment at the School where all students born outside of Australia or those who have studied overseas are interviewed. Students in the program follow courses similar to mainstream classes but benefit from smaller class size. They sit NAPLAN in the same way as in the mainstream classes.
Students at Years 11 and 12 must demonstrate eligibility according to the precise requirements of the School Curriculum and Standards Authority (https://senior-secondary.scsa.wa.edu.au/syllabus-and-support-materials/english/english-as-an-additional-language-or-dialect). ATAR students sit an exam involving both a written and a practical (oral) component which is evaluated on an equal footing with English and English Literature as a prerequisite for university entrance.
Upper School English Courses
ATAR English – Year 11
Year 11 students studying ATAR English will develop analytical, creative, critical-thinking and communication skills in all language modes. The course encourages students to critically engage with texts of different types from different contexts. Students on this course are given opportunities to create their own imaginative, interpretive, persuasive and analytical responses. In 2016, the ATAR English Year 12 course will continue to develop these skills through comparing texts, analysing perspectives, and creating their own texts. The ATAR courses replace the Stage 2 and 3 WACE courses. Students enrolled in this course will sit examinations and have the opportunity to work towards university entry depending upon their results.
General English – Year 11
Year 11 students enrolled in the General English course consolidate and refine the skills and knowledge needed to become competent, confident and engaged users of English in a variety of contexts. The General course is designed to provide students with the skills that will empower them to succeed in a wide range of post-secondary pathways. The course develops students’ language, literacy and literary skills to enable them to communicate successfully both orally and in writing and to enjoy and value using language for both imaginative and practical purposes. Students continuing on this pathway into Year 12 in 2016 will learn how the interaction of structure, language, audience and context helps to shape how the audience makes meaning.
Foundation English – Year 11
Year 11 students who have not demonstrated the minimum standards in Literacy in the OLNA testing may enrol in Foundation courses. The English units in Year 11 are designed to support students in developing their understanding of literacy concepts through texts. Students will study a variety of modules across four contexts.
ATAR Literature – Year 11
The Literature ATAR course explores how literary texts construct representations, shape perceptions of the world and enable us to enter other worlds of the imagination. In this subject, students actively participate in the dialogue of literary analysis and the creation of imaginative and analytical texts in a range of modes, media and forms. Students enjoy and respond creatively and critically to literary texts drawn from the past and present and from Australian and other cultures. The ATAR courses replace the Stage 2 and 3 WACE courses. Students enrolled in this course will sit examinations and have the opportunity to work towards university entry depending upon their results.