Senior secondary English subjects

Senior secondary English subjects

The senior secondary Australian Curriculum for English is presented in four subjects that share common features. These include the continuing development of students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in listening, speaking, reading, viewing and writing. Differences between the subjects lie in the emphasis on how knowledge and skills are developed and the contexts in which they are applied. Each of the four senior secondary Australian Curriculum subjects emphasises different aspects of the study of the English learning area.

In all subjects, teachers and students choose from a wide range of fiction and non-fiction (complete texts or extracts) in a range of forms and from a variety of contexts including earlier times, popular culture and different cultures.

  • English is a study of literature, media and language in which students critically and creatively engage with a variety of texts in all language modes. English extends students’ language, literature and literacy skills for a range of purposes and audiences and builds on the knowledge and skills developed in the Foundation to Year 10 curriculum. Students engage in a detailed study of increasingly complex texts and language. They learn how to analyse different interpretations of texts and how to use language modes to achieve specific effects.
  • Essential English is designed to develop students’ literacy skills and for those who wish to undertake a practical English course. Students examine the purpose and language of a range of texts, expanding their ability to understand, evaluate and communicate effectively in and for a range of contexts. Essential English develops and refines students’ language, literature and literacy skills which enable them to interact confidently and effectively with others in everyday, community, social and applied learning contexts.
  • Literature provides students with the opportunity to study literature at an intensive level and aims to engage students in the detailed study of literary texts. It builds on the knowledge and skills developed in the Foundation to Year 10 curriculum. Literature deepens students’ understanding of conventions common to different types of composition, and refines their understanding of the effects of language through shared experience of texts and the creative process. Learning to appreciate literary texts, and to create their own, enriches students’ understanding of human experiences and the capacity for language to communicate those experiences.
  • English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D) is designed to develop students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in Standard Australian English (SAE). Students studying this subject will benefit in all curriculum areas from explicit teaching of the structure, linguistic features and sociolinguistic and sociocultural aspects of SAE. EAL/D provides a variety of language, literature and literacy experiences to accommodate the diverse range of starting points for students learning English as an additional language or dialect. EAL/D focuses on how language and texts can vary in structure and usage depending on cultural and social context, and how language can change according to audience and purpose. One of the key focuses of EAL/D is the development of students’ oral language skills.

EAL/D Units 1–4 are designed for students undertaking a senior secondary program of study and extend students’ language, literature and literacy skills in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audience. Students respond to and create texts in all language modes. EAL/D Unit 4 presents an equivalent level of cognitive challenge to Unit 4 of English.

EAL/D Bridging Units 1–4 are designed for students who are at the emerging phase (or early developing phase) of the Foundation to Year 10 EAL/D Learning Progression. These students may include:

  • students who have had limited exposure to SAE. These students may have recently exited an Intensive English Centre, or be in a rural, remote or very remote setting with limited or no access to EAL/D specialist intervention
  • students who are new to the Australian educational setting or who have had little or no prior formal education.

Students may choose to complete 2, 4, 6 or 8 EAL/D units, and units can be studied sequentially or concurrently.

As EAL/D students may perform at different levels of competence in oral communication skills and written ability, it is advised that all language modes be considered equally for appropriate placement into units.