ESL Standards and Learning Focus Statements
A Stages: Lower Primary – Years Prep to 2
As students work towards the achievement of Stage A1 standards in ESL, they begin to learn the basic oral English needed to manage learning in the English-speaking classroom, and as the basis for beginning literacy learning. Through supportive activities and approaches, such as language experience, new English is modelled, taught and recycled. Activities encourage students to use their emerging English resources creatively, adapting them to respond appropriately to new communicative and functional demands. As they work and play with others, students learn that different situations call for the use of different styles of English or non-verbal language. They learn common courtesy phrases, following clear models and through activities such as role-play. Through games, songs, repetitive stories and word play, students begin to become familiar with patterns in the sounds, intonation, rhythm, grammar and meaning of English. Strategies such as scaffolding, expanding and restating students’ English in conventional forms ensures they are supported as they communicate in English. They learn basic strategies to assist them to sustain and enhance their communication in the classroom and playground.
Students begin to learn to read in English, and are introduced to basic classroom and social purposes for reading. They learn about the functions of texts. They read and complete simple activities around repetitive, culturally appropriate and well-illustrated texts that contain predictable English. Texts such as signs and labels, and shared class texts are also used as the basis for early literacy activities designed to introduce students to the way the writing system of English works. Through activities such as alphabet and phonemic awareness games, and word and sentence matching, students begin to learn sound–letter relationships. Activities also focus on spelling and pronunciation patterns, which are recorded on word lists, sound charts, and personal dictionaries. Students are explicitly introduced to the basic purposes of texts, and they discuss in simple terms why they were written. With assistance, they choose appropriate reading texts. They learn about the purposes of illustrations, and the way these provide contextual clues. They listen to texts read aloud, listening for basic information, key phrases, repetition, and intonation.
Students participate in early writing experiences in English. They learn to compose their own short, simple texts, writing and drawing about personal, shared or imaginative experiences. They contribute to simple shared writing activities, innovate on known reading texts, and record basic observations. They learn that drawings and other non-written features expand on texts. Students build basic understandings of the purposes of classroom and personal texts, and how they are commonly presented. They are encouraged to write and share messages in their first language. Activities such as alphabet and phonemic awareness activities help students as they start to learn the alphabet, and the sounds that letters commonly represent. Students are encouraged to experiment with spelling new words. They use word lists, sound charts, or personal dictionaries as resources when they write. They learn how to form letters and place text appropriately. They are introduced to a range of writing and drawing materials and to basic computer applications for writing, presenting or illustrating their texts.
Speaking and listening
At Stage A1, students communicate in basic English in routine, familiar, social and classroom situations. They follow and give simple instructions, exchange basic personal information and negotiate well-known, predictable activities and contexts. They begin to modify their responses and manner of interaction to match the responses of others, and to the context. They use simple learned formulas and patterns, and create original utterances by substituting words. Their utterances are characterised by a short ‘telegraphic’ structure, simple subject/verb/object construction and overgeneralisation of rules. They use some basic communication and learning strategies to participate in and sustain interaction in English. They recognise that intonation carries meaning, and they listen for key words and for repetition of words and phrases. They use comprehensible pronunciation, stress and intonation. They use classroom resources such as pictures to help them communicate.
At Stage A1, students read and engage with a wide range of short, simple repetitive texts, including shared recounts, fictional and everyday texts. They read some familiar words, phrases, logos, numbers, and signs in context. They complete simple, structured activities such as sequencing sentences and pictures. They show early understanding that texts are written and structured for a variety of purposes. They recognise some common letters and letter patterns. They name some letters of the alphabet and know the sounds some letters and letter groups commonly make. They recognise some basic features of texts, including text and page directionality, and understand the function of titles and illustrations. They handle books appropriately. When listening to texts read aloud, they listen for key words and for repetition of words and phrases. They focus on illustrations and other non-print features that assist them to understand texts.
At Stage A1, students communicate their ideas and experiences simply through drawings, copied writing, dictated texts and their own basic writing, showing evidence of a developing understanding about the writing process. They contribute to shared writing activities. They demonstrate an early awareness that written texts in English are presented through conventions which change according to context and purpose. They write and draw for a particular audience, and, with support, produce simple descriptions, recounts, and procedures. Students’ writing reflects their oral structures, and they link ideas using basic conjunctions. They show awareness of the need for basic punctuation. They demonstrate knowledge of some sound–letter relationships, and show evidence of some basic planning. They model their writing on shared writing activities and published texts, often copying words or phrases from books or word lists. They form letters and place text appropriately on the page.
As students work towards the achievement of Stage A2 standards in ESL, they listen, talk and learn in English in an expanding range of contexts and purposes and for different audiences. Through structured work and play in the classroom, students are given opportunities to practise grammatical features and new vocabulary, to observe and reflect on how English is used in different situations, and how word choices can affect meaning. As students use English to learn across the domains, they are given opportunities to talk about events that have occurred in other places and times. Activities ensure that they practise, initially in familiar, and then in new contexts. Through targeted practice and through songs, rhymes and poetry students develop pronunciation that increasingly approximates that of the English they hear around them. They learn the appropriate interpersonal and functional language (such as for taking turns and clarifying) needed to work with others in a range of classroom contexts, including in pairs and small groups.
Students increase their participation in whole-class reading activities, listening to and engaging with a wide range of factual and fictional texts, including their own and class-produced texts. With scaffolding, students respond to texts through discussion, drawing and writing. Discussions and visuals assist students to predict and relate new information to their prior experiences. They also begin to develop a simple vocabulary to talk about the structure and features of texts read for different purposes. Students are prepared for reading through strategies such as concept mapping, bundling words or pictures, and the use of visuals and objects. Working in targeted activities, students study the letter-sound relationships and patterns of the vocabulary in the texts they are reading. The grammatical patterns of texts are also focused on, and through activities such as choral reading, students begin to develop fluency. Extra time and opportunities are provided for students to revisit texts, and to discuss and clarify their understandings about them.
Students write short, simple texts that communicate their ideas for a range of purposes, for example, keeping simple diaries, writing letters and stories, making plans, writing reports and procedural texts. A focus on the features of cohesive texts, for example the way in which simple conjunctions sequence texts, and adverbs and adjectives provide details, assists them to write their own texts. Modelled and shared writing activities support students to notice how texts change according to their purpose, and frameworks assist them to plan and write texts for different purposes. Through activities such as grouping words in their spelling and pronunciation patterns, students continue to develop their understanding of the letter–sound relationships and patterns of English. Through shared writing activities and conferences they start to learn the terminology to talk about elements of their writing. Students begin to develop strategies that enable them to extend their writing vocabulary, for example, using class topic word lists. With support, students carry out simple editing of their own writing, including on-screen editing.
Speaking and listening
At Stage A2, students communicate in an expanding range of predictable social and learning situations. They express ideas and identify key points of information in classroom discussions about familiar topics, and in new topics when they are well supported by visual material, appropriate pace of delivery, and discussion which links their prior knowledge to the new context. They follow a short sequence of instructions related to classroom procedures and learning activities. They negotiate familiar social and learning situations, using English appropriate to the situation. They adjust their speech choices in response to audience and topic. They combine known conversational formulas and vocabulary, including features of texts read in class, and apply some grammatical rules to make original utterances, of varying grammatical accuracy. They sustain communication by negotiating turn-taking, and by using strategies such as asking a speaker to repeat or to speak slowly, or asking what a word means.
At Stage A2, students read and respond to a wide range of familiar texts. They predict, ask questions, retell and talk about texts read and viewed in class. With support, they read a range of topic-related classroom texts. They can read well known texts with some fluency. They read back their own writing or sentences scribed by another. They use texts purposefully, following simple procedural texts, and finding basic information in texts. They discuss simply the events in texts and characters’ feelings and actions. They identify the purposes of familiar texts, including catalogues, guides, simple stories and factual texts. They use their developing knowledge of context, letter–sound relationships, word patterns and text structure to read familiar texts and simple unfamiliar texts. They interpret simple diagrams and identify the layout of a range of text types.
At Stage A2, students communicate ideas, events and experiences through simple texts based on familiar spoken and written language. They write for a variety of personal and classroom purposes, using known and modelled structures and features. They write everyday texts and simple stories, recounts and factual texts based on their own and shared class experiences. They use their developing oral base and reading repertoire when writing their own texts. They write texts using simple but coherently linked sentences, basic structures and well-known vocabulary. They use some common irregular past tense verbs correctly, and link clauses using basic conjunctions and connectives. They attempt to spell new words, based on known spelling patterns and base words. They use vocabulary lists, modelled texts and familiar books to find how to write new words. They write letters legibly and make some changes to their texts when editing.