Glossary (Version 8.4)

Convey meaning and communicate with purpose. Some students participate in speaking activities using communication systems and assistive technologies to communicate wants, and needs, and to comment about the world

An integrated experience and use of language, set in a context, accomplishing a purpose, focused on meaning. A task provides an organising structure and context for meaning-focused language learning. Unlike form-focused language activities and exercises, task-based learning involves the achievement of a goal or authentic outcome. Learners draw from existing language resources and seek out unfamiliar resources as needed to complete the task. Scaffolding is provided by the teacher via the task cycle, which includes form-focused teaching. Examples of tasks: researching an issue, sharing ideas and then categorising and presenting results; planning and having a picnic; designing and publishing an online newsletter.

An orientation to language teaching and learning, which focuses on the use of the language in meaningful and ‘life-like’ tasks and activities. The completion of the task is not an end in itself, as tasks are part of the overall learning and using of the language, providing a context and purpose for developing language competence and a means of assessing and evaluating learning outcomes. Learners work independently and/or collaboratively, draw on existing language resources, generate solutions to communicative problems, seek out additional or new language and other resources needed to complete the task. Focused language work, such as grammar knowledge, vocabulary building, social and cultural competence, is integrated with task preparation and completion processes. Tasks provide opportunities to integrate the four modes of language use, to develop fluency, complexity and problem-solving capacity, as well as including work on accuracy and focus on form. A task has limits as a one-off learning event, but is used as a meaningful component of learners’ overall learning progression.

An identified stretch of language, used as a means for communication or the focus of learning and investigation. Text forms and conventions have developed to support communication with a variety of audiences for a range of purposes. Texts can be written, spoken or multimodal and in print or digital/online forms. Multimodal texts combine language with other systems for communication, such as print text, visual images, soundtrack and spoken word, as in film or computer presentation media.

Strategies learners use to decode and understand text. These involve drawing on contextual, semantic, grammatical and phonic knowledge in systematic ways to work out what a text says. They include predicting, recognising words and working out unknown words, monitoring comprehension, identifying and correcting errors, reading on and re-reading.

Ways in which information is organised in different types of texts (for example, chapter headings, subheadings, tables of contents, indexes and glossaries, overviews, introductory and concluding paragraphs, sequencing, topic sentences, taxonomies, cause and effect). Choices in text structures and language features together define a text type and shape its meaning. Different languages/cultures structure texts differently in many instances.

Categories of text, classified according to the particular purposes they are designed to achieve, which influence the features the texts employ. For example, texts may be imaginative, informative or persuasive; or can belong to more than one category. Text types vary significantly in terms of structure and language features across different languages and cultural contexts. For example, a business letter in French will be more elaborated than a similar text in English; a request or an offer of hospitality will be differently expressed in Japanese or German.

Structural components and elements that combine to construct meaning and achieve purpose, and are recognisable as characterising particular text types (see language features).

A use of pitch and contour in spoken language to nuance words and, in some languages, to distinguish lexical or grammatical meaning. In Chinese, for example, the tones are distinguished by their pitch range (register), duration and contour (shape). All Chinese syllables have a set tone, which distinguishes it and its meaning from another syllable. However, in certain environments tones can change or be modified, while in rapid spoken Chinese a great many unstressed syllables carry no tone at all.

A process of translating words/text from one language into another, recognising that the process involves movement of meanings and attention to cultural context as well as the transposition of individual words.

Writing a letter or word using the closest corresponding letter or word from a different language or alphabet.