English Curriculum (Victorian Curriculum)
The study of English is central to the learning and development of all young Australians. It helps create confident communicators, imaginative thinkers and informed citizens. It is through the study of English that individuals learn to analyse, understand, communicate and build relationships with others and with the world around them. The study of English helps young people develop the knowledge and skills needed for education, training and the workplace. It helps them become ethical, thoughtful, informed and active members of society and plays an important part in developing the understanding, attitudes and capabilities of those who will take responsibility for Australia’s future.
Although Australia is a linguistically and culturally diverse country, participation in many aspects of Australian life depends on effective communication in Standard Australian English. In addition, proficiency in English is invaluable globally. The English curriculum contributes both to nation-building and to internationalisation, including Australia’s links to Asia.
English also helps students to engage imaginatively and critically with literature to expand the scope of their experience. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have contributed to Australian society and to its contemporary literature and literary heritage through their distinctive ways of representing and communicating knowledge, traditions and experience.
At Berwick Chase Primary School, we implement the Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop Models.
Reading and Viewing involves students understanding, interpreting, critically analysing, reflecting upon, and enjoying written and visual, print and non-print texts. It encompasses reading and viewing a wide range of texts and media, including literary texts. Reading involves active engagement with texts and the development of knowledge about the relationship between them and the contexts in which they are created. It also involves the development of knowledge about a range of strategies for reading.
The Reader’s Workshop is a teaching method in which the goal is to teach students strategies for reading and comprehension. The workshop model allows teachers to differentiate and meet the needs of all their students. Reader’s Workshop helps to foster a love of reading and gives students chances to practise reading strategies independently and with guidance. This workshop model is similar to the Writer’s Workshop.
Reader’s Workshop is based on principles of time, choice, response, and community. It is a workshop format which allows for in-depth teaching and learning flexibility, differentiation, and ultimately independence.
- Time to practise
- Time to write about what they read
- Opportunity to talk about what they have read
Writing involves students in the active process of conceiving, planning, composing, editing and publishing a range of texts. Writing involves using appropriate language for particular purposes or occasions, both formal and informal, to express and represent ideas and experiences, and to reflect on these aspects. It involves the development of knowledge about strategies for writing and the conventions of Standard Australian English. Students develop a metalanguage to discuss language conventions and use.
The Writer’s Workshop is similar to the Reader’s Workshop, as it is a method of teaching writing using a workshop model. Students are given opportunities to write in a variety of genres and helps to foster a love of writing. The Writer’s Workshop allows teachers to meet the needs of their students by differentiating their instruction and gearing instruction based on information gathered throughout the workshop.
This method of instruction focuses on the goal of fostering lifelong writers. It is based upon four principles: students will write about their own lives, they will use a consistent writing process, they will work in authentic ways, and they will develop independence as writers.
Writer’s Workshop is designed for use in all grade levels. Each grade level has specific requirements tailored to meet developmental and curricular needs. Students have a large amount of choice in their topic and style of writing. The teacher acts as a mentor author, modelling writing techniques and conferring with students as they move through the writing process.
Speaking and Listening
Speaking and Listening refers to the various formal and informal ways oral language is used to convey and receive meaning. It involves the development and demonstration of knowledge about the appropriate oral 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.
Oral language is the ability to speak and listen. The development of thinking and reading abilities is closely linked to the development of oral language. “Speaking to learn” is the vehicle for increasing and deepening knowledge. Language is how we think. It’s how we process information and remember. Classrooms are filled with talk, given that we want them to be filled with thinking. Talk plays a central role in learning; in learning how to think and in talking our way into meaning.
We teach Speaking and Listening explicitly and through a variety of ways including; Maths, Social Interactions, Play, Sensory Motor, English, Show and Share, Inquiry based activities, Language Experiences and through content of all Learning Areas.
Spelling is a complex process as well as an individual process. Spelling strategies are explicitly taught and students have individualised spelling words. Children are given many opportunities to write for various purposes and audiences and in different genres. This gives them a chance to try out unknown words, figuring out ways to spell them and how to use various resources for finding words and checking spelling, and to practise new spelling words they have learned.
In the Early Years, phonics is explicitly taught. The teaching of spelling and phonics is contained within the reading and writing experiences which occur in the classrooms. The children are taught the 44 letter sounds through a variety of activities such as songs, cued articulation, multi-sensory activities, rhyming, blending, segmenting sounds and alliteration.