English

The study of English is central to the learning and development of students in NSW and is
a mandatory subject. The importance of English in the curriculum is a recognition of its role as the national language and increasingly as the language of international communication. Proficiency in English enables students to take their place as confident, articulate communicators, critical and imaginative thinkers and active participants in society.

English involves the study and use of language in its various textual forms, encompassing
written, spoken and visual texts of varying complexity, including the language systems of
English through which meaning is conveyed, interpreted and reflected.

The study of English enables students to recognise and use a diversity of approaches and
texts to meet the growing array of literacy demands, including higher-order social, aesthetic
and cultural literacy. This study is designed to promote a sound knowledge of the structure
and function of the English language and to develop effective English communication
skills. The English courses develop in students an understanding of literary expression and nurture an appreciation of aesthetic values. Through reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing and representing experience, ideas and values, students are encouraged to adopt a critical approach to all texts and to distinguish the qualities of texts. Students also develop English language skills to support their study at Stage 6 and beyond.

In Stage 6, students come to understand the complexity of meaning, to compose and
respond to texts according to their form, content, purpose and audience, and to appreciate
the personal, social, historical, cultural and workplace contexts that produce and value
them. Students reflect on their reading and learning and understand that these processes
are shaped by the contexts in which they respond to and compose texts.

The study of English enables students to make sense of, and to enrich, their lives in
personal, social and professional situations and to deal effectively with change. Students
develop a strong sense of themselves as autonomous, reflective and creative learners. The
English syllabus is designed to develop in students the faculty to perceive and understand their world from a variety of perspectives, and it enables them to appreciate the
richness of Australia’s cultural diversity.

The syllabus is designed to develop enjoyment of English and an appreciation of its value
and role in learning.

Support for Literacy Skills

Reading

Reading every day is an easy way of supporting the English skills needed for independent learning in the classroom. Encouraging use of the school and town library for books as well as magazines is a cost effective way of bringing more reading material into your home.

And reading isn’t just about novels: in our digital world, visual literacy is just as important as following a character in a print novel. Graphic novels and manga are a different way of interacting with fiction and can be one way to getting a reluctant reader hooked on reading. Another way of supporting students in their reading is modelling reading yourself; children learn from observation and seeing others read may encourage more of an interest to pick up a book themselves. Conversations about what is being read in the home generates its own publicity.

Research shows that even ten minutes of reading a day can make a difference in improving comprehension, building vocabulary and expressing themselves in a more fluent manner in their critical and imaginative writing. And that’s not to mention the enjoyment students have when reading!

Writing

Encouraging writing in a journal fosters the skills needed for reflective writing, a skill which becomes increasingly important as students move through to the senior school.

Reading through the day’s class work

Spending a few minutes reading through the class work completed that day gives students another chance to understand the content and skills discussed, making them more confident to exercise these skills in future lessons. It also gives them a chance to catch up on work not completed during class time. Asking, ‘teach me what you learnt in English today?’ (or any subject for that matter) also gives students a chance to go over their work.

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