ESL Standards and Learning Focus Statements
B Stages: Middle/Upper Primary – Years 3 to 6
As students work towards the achievement of Stage BL standards in ESL, they learn the basic English needed to manage routine classroom life and learning, and for basic social interactions. They learn about school, about reading and writing, and begin to learn in all areas in their curriculum program, through simple English. Through taking part in a wide range of learning experiences, students learn that different situations call for the use of different styles of English or non-verbal language. Students are encouraged to be creative with their basic English and non-verbal resources and to adapt them to respond appropriately to new communicative and functional demands. Classroom activities such as language experience provide frequent opportunities for recycling, repetition and imitation. Students’ spoken texts are used as the basis for beginning reading and writing activities. Students learn basic communication strategies, and through activities, learn to become purposeful listeners, listening for key words and intonation, and focusing on the context of interactions. The wide use of concrete and visual aids assists students as they learn English.
Students begin to learn to read in English, and are introduced to basic classroom and social purposes for reading. They read and complete simple activities around repetitive, culturally appropriate and well-illustrated published texts that contain predictable English. Everyday texts such as signs and labels, and shared class texts area also used as the basis for early literacy activities designed to introduce students to the way the writing system of English works. Activities such as alphabet games, phonemic awareness, and word and sentence matching, assist students to begin to learn the sound–letter relationships of English writing. Activities also focus on spelling and pronunciation patterns, which are recorded on word lists, sound charts, or personal dictionaries, and used for reference. Students are explicitly introduced to the purposes of a wide range of basic texts, and discuss simply why they were written. Strategies that assist students to read, understand and choose appropriate reading texts are modelled and encouraged. Students begin to learn about the purposes of illustrations and diagrams, and the way these provide contextual clues to meaning. They listen to texts read aloud, listening for basic information, key phrases, repetition, and intonation.
Students engage in many different classroom and individual writing activities and early experiences in writing in English that help them to develop understanding about the writing process. They write or dictate a range of texts. They compose their own simple texts, writing about shared or personal experiences. Shared writing activities, such as recounts or recording basic observations, show students how to plan and revise their writing. Students’ texts are used as the basis for activities such as word and sentence matching, or sequencing pictures. Activities show students how to embellish their texts by labelling or drawing, and to present them for a range of basic purposes. Students learn about English letters, their names and the sounds they commonly represent. They learn some basic strategies for spelling words, experimenting with representing new words phonically, and recording them on simple personal or class lists and dictionaries. They learn how to form letters and place text appropriately on the page. They use a range of writing and drawing materials and some basic computer applications for presenting or illustrating their texts.
Speaking and listening
At Stage BL, students communicate simply but effectively in familiar, basic social and classroom contexts, using simple formulaic and creative structures. They learn through English, well supported by context. They contribute relatively complex ideas through simple English, and use simple English to respond to the ideas of others. Students’ English is characterised by varying grammatical accuracy, a short ‘telegraphic’ structure, simple subject/verb/object construction and overgeneralisation of rules. They use common adjectives to describe or add emphasis. They use repetitive grammar patterns copied from stories, songs, rhymes or the media. Students’ pronunciation, stress and intonation are comprehensible, but carry elements of first language pronunciation. They use some basic communication strategies, asking for repetition, and questioning to check understanding, clarify or confirm. They use some basic strategies to initiate and sustain simple conversations in English, restating, repeating or re-pronouncing as appropriate.
At Stage BL, students read a wide range of familiar, short, simple, repetitive, fictional and everyday texts, and complete simple, structured activities based on them. They retell a simple familiar story, and sequence a simple familiar process with sentences and pictures. They show early understanding that texts are written for a variety of purposes. They show beginning understanding of the sound/symbol relationships of English. They read some familiar words and phrases in context, and recognise, can name, and know the sounds some common letters and letter groups usually make. They recognise that meaning is carried by intonation, and they listen for key words and for repetition of words and phrases in texts read aloud. They focus on illustrations and other non-print features when reading. They use word lists and personal dictionaries to assist them to read new words.
At Stage BL, students communicate their ideas and experiences simply through writing, drawing, copied or dictated texts. They contribute to whole-class or small-group shared writing activities. They demonstrate an early awareness that written texts in English are presented according to certain conventions which change according to context and purpose. They write simple sequenced descriptions, recounts, and procedures, following models. They write or draw for specific audiences. Students’ writing reflects their oral structures. They link ideas using common conjunctions and show awareness of the need for basic punctuation. They demonstrate knowledge of some sound–letter relationships, and show evidence of some planning. They model their writing on shared writing activities and published texts, and use some basic strategies, such as copying words or phrases from lists, using illustrations, and asking how to write a word. They begin to form letters and place text appropriately.
As students work towards the achievement of Stage B1 standards in ESL, they begin to learn the basic English necessary to manage routine classroom life and learning through a variety of structured activities. They also begin to learn through English across the curriculum. Activities continually recycle English in new contexts, and students are encouraged to adapt their developing English resources to new communicative and functional demands. Students experiment with the sounds, intonation, rhythm, grammar and meaning of English through rhymes, repetitive stories and word play, and in activities that assist them to perceive patterns at the grammatical and phonological levels. By taking part in purposeful activities, students learn to adapt their basic oral English repertoire and non-verbal resources to respond appropriately to different situations, learning common courtesy phrases and conversational markers. Students learn simple strategies to sustain communication at a basic level, through activities such as small-group discussions, dialogues and role-plays. These activities also assist them to negotiate meaning, as they learn to clarify and restate. They learn some basic strategies to organise their learning, such as writing simple pronunciation guides or sound dictionaries.
Students read and listen to a varied range of basic, repetitive, illustrated texts, both published and class-made. Texts studied include simple factual and fictional texts, and shared and modelled texts based on classroom topics and experiences. These become the basis for activities such as vocabulary development, sound–letter matching, matching sentences to illustrations, sequencing processes or events, and simple comprehension or cloze exercises. Students learn to use basic syntactic, semantic and sound–letter cues when reading. Activities such as alphabet games and collecting word families assist students to learn to read words with common letter patterns. Activities such as reconstructing shared texts focus them on basic cohesive devices, such as common conjunctions, and simple pronoun reference. Students begin to learn that the organisation of texts reflects their purpose and audience, through talking about the purposes of the texts they are reading. They listen to texts read aloud, listening for key words, patterns or repetitions. Contextual clues which enhance meaning, such as illustrations or diagrams, are brought to students’ attention.
Students engage in many basic writing activities as part of everyday classroom activities. They write simple informational and imaginative texts, and record basic observations in written and graphic formats. They write about their classroom learning, activities, personal interests and opinions. Through taking part in shared writing activities, students are supported to plan and write their own texts, and to rewrite their texts to improve some aspects such as accuracy of grammar, content, meaning or spelling. Students experiment with the appropriate presentation of texts, using some of the basic features of the published texts they read. Students are introduced to appropriate models for a range of common basic text types, such as narratives, recounts and reports. They practise strategies for spelling new words, such as keeping spelling dictionaries or collections of theme words.
Speaking and listening
At Stage B1, students communicate verbally and non-verbally in routine social and classroom situations, understanding controlled English, supported by its immediate context. They use formulas, well-rehearsed and common sentence patterns and short, simple, telegraphic utterances to contribute relatively complex ideas, usually concerning concrete subject matter. They follow simple instructions, answer predictable questions, make basic requests and express basic needs. Students show initial understanding that English changes according to context and audience, and modify their English in response to a range of familiar classroom and social purposes. They use appropriate social formulas and non verbal language. Students’ utterances are characterised by varying grammatical accuracy. They use common adjectives to describe or add emphasis. Students use basic communication strategies, asking for repetition, and questioning to clarify and confirm. They restate simply, repeat or re-pronounce when necessary.
At Stage B1, students read short, well known texts, based on simple language structures and features, well known vocabulary and familiar contexts. They retell simply, predict likely outcomes, and complete basic comprehension activities. They show understanding of the basic purposes of texts, and choose texts appropriately for a range of simple purposes. With support, they read and gather basic information from simple, accessible texts. They combine their basic knowledge of English sound-symbol relationships, their developing sight and oral vocabulary, their beginning knowledge of the conventions of print and text organisation, and their emerging knowledge of English grammar as they read. They use appropriate intonation and phrasing when reading aloud known texts, showing an understanding of the text’s meaning and the function of basic punctuation. Students show a beginning understanding of the purposes of headings, labels, diagrams and contents pages.
At Stage B1, students write and present simple texts for a variety of basic classroom and personal purposes. With support, they communicate familiar ideas, events and experiences, writing simple narratives, recounts, descriptions and reports. They use some of the basic structures and features common to these text types, demonstrating their beginning awareness that purpose influences the way texts are written and presented. Their texts incorporate the basic grammatical features of their spoken English. They spell some common words correctly and their attempts at spelling show a beginning understanding of the patterns of English sound-symbol relationships. They use some simple strategies for spelling words, checking word lists or books. They use the basic features of software to write and present their texts. With support students plan and edit their texts, providing additional information through illustrations and diagrams.
As students work towards the achievement of Stage B2 standards in ESL, they continue to develop the oral English language skills needed to participate effectively in the classroom. Through a range of curriculum areas, with teacher and peer support, students listen, talk, and reflect on appropriate ways to communicate orally for a range of purposes and audiences. They learn to listen and respond to spoken texts from a range of contexts, ranging from conversations and presentations, and a range of media, including tapes, videos, television and multimedia. They develop appropriate communication strategies, for example, turn-taking, topic selection and topic change, through participation in role-play, drama, cooperative small-group activities and other interactive situations. With support they talk to explore, clarify and express ideas, using support such as diagrams and drawings. Students learn and use new vocabulary and grammatical features for specific tasks, activities or topics, in authentic classroom contexts. Students are given feedback that helps them to extend and refine their speaking skills. They develop their pronunciation, rhythm, intonation and fluency through practice and activities such as chants and repetitive rhymes.
Students listen to and are supported to read and respond to a wide variety of factual and fictional texts, at their interest and skill level. They participate in group activities that introduce and revise new vocabulary and develop reading strategies, including creating concept maps and word webs, and matching words and pictures or definitions. Modelled and shared reading activities support students to become familiar with the literacy demands of unfamiliar texts. Students begin to develop a simple metalanguage to discuss the structure, features and organisation of texts. Activities such as grouping words or simple sentences under headings, assist students to develop understanding about how texts such as reports are organised and sequenced. Students learn the function of common conjunctions and connectives. Students explore English sentence structure and letter–sound relationships through activities based on well known texts. Through modelled and shared activities they begin to develop strategies for choosing texts.
Students use their developing vocabulary and control of English language features to write a variety of simple texts for different purposes, including recounting, describing, instructing or reflecting on personal or shared classroom experiences. Explicit teaching about how texts work in modelled and shared writing sessions provide support for students to plan, write and edit simple texts. Understanding of the writing process is developed, from initial drafts where meaning is most important to subsequent drafts where accuracy of spelling and punctuation is refined. Through modelled writing activities students learn ways of linking simple sentences and sequencing them, using connectives. Scaffolds for writing, for example, through questioning and expanding students’ talk, clarify the content of the writing task. Frameworks, such as guiding questions or headings, provide additional support. Students create charts of spelling patterns, topic word lists and simple dictionaries to use when spelling words.
Speaking and listening
At Stage B2, students communicate and learn English in predictable social and learning situations, understanding some decontextualised English and expressing simple messages in basic English. They negotiate simple transactions and ask and answer basic questions on familiar topics, using familiar structures. They identify and describe people, places and things using simple vocabulary. They describe a series of events or actions using some detail. They initiate and manage interaction appropriately in a range of familiar contexts. They understand instructions, recounts and explanations when supported by clear contexts. They use simplified English, with varying grammatical accuracy, combining known formulas, learned grammatical features and new vocabulary to construct new utterances. They use basic time markers, common prepositions, some common contracted and simple negative forms. They use verb endings with some consistency. They use some of the terminology of new topics. They pronounce familiar words comprehensibly. They employ basic strategies to sustain and enhance communication in English.
At Stage B2, students read familiar texts, and with support, unfamiliar texts containing predictable structures and familiar vocabulary. They follow simple written instructions and questions. They identify the basic purposes of simple texts, and recognise the basic stages of common text types. They use their developing vocabulary, knowledge of sentence structure and sound–letter relationships to predict and self-correct. They modify intonation to differentiate questions, exclamations or dialogue when reading aloud. They follow simple time and logical relationships between events and ideas expressed by common cohesive devices. They sequence sentences from known texts or a text on a familiar topic or experience. Students use simple strategies to assess text difficulty and to choose new texts to read.
At Stage B2, students write for a range of purposes on familiar topics. They write simple organised texts demonstrating a developing use of specific vocabulary and simple sentence structures. Their writing demonstrates an understanding of purposes of common text types, and their structure and features. Their texts include basic information and detail. They use a number of common conjunctions to link ideas, using pronoun references with some noun/pronoun agreement, simple phrases to express basic comparisons, and some basic punctuation. Their attempts to spell new words are plausible, and based on known sound–letter relationships. They use a range of strategies for spelling words, checking word lists or keeping personal dictionaries. They base new sentences on known sentence structures. Students draw on a developing knowledge of the writing process to plan and write simple texts, and with support, redraft them.
As students work towards the achievement of Stage B3 standards in ESL, they communicate in the full range of classroom contexts, clarifying and sharing ideas. They observe, use and reflect on effective and appropriate ways of using English for different purposes and audiences. They initiate and maintain spoken interaction, in a range of classroom activities, and with appropriate support, create cohesive texts that include some relevant detail. Activities, such as brainstorming, extend their repertoire of vocabulary and expressions, particularly new terminology for new topics. Students practise pronunciation through activities such as role-play and drama. They develop functional skills as they describe, argue, and justify in learning contexts across the curriculum. Students use class developed criteria to monitor effective communication. They develop a metalanguage to discuss the most appropriate and effective way of using English for a particular purpose and audience. When presenting, students learn to use a range of supports, such as visuals, models, cueing cards, or sentence starters. Students are familiarised with the context and purpose of listening activities, and learn to use guiding questions and note-taking frameworks.
Activities support students both before and as they read and listen to a wide variety of accessible texts across the domains, both for enjoyment and academic purposes. Students participate in activities that familiarise them with the content, text structure and language features of new texts, extending their ability to read more demanding texts. Students are assisted to focus critically on the purposes of texts and how texts position them as readers. They explore how and why opinions about texts may vary. They compare and evaluate texts using their knowledge of how texts work. Students find the meanings of unfamiliar words or phrases by using a range of dictionaries or predicting from the context. They discuss their reading choices with others, selecting according to criteria such as content, author or style. They use features such as content pages, index and visual information when selecting books for information.
Students write in a wide variety of authentic contexts and for a range of purposes across the domains. They learn to use language which is increasingly appropriate to the context. With teacher support, they deconstruct texts, identifying characteristics of text structure and language features associated with writing for specific purposes. They develop a metalanguage to talk about texts. With teacher support students plan and talk about their writing, articulating their ideas using language features appropriate for the purpose and audience. Modelling of texts, collaborative writing and use of frameworks are used when students need additional support in unfamiliar or demanding writing tasks. Students learn editing skills, gradually requiring less support to identify and correct errors. In writing conferences, students are focused primarily on meaning and then text structure, text cohesion, language features and surface features such as spelling, punctuation and handwriting. Students are introduced to and use an increasing range of descriptive and specialised vocabulary in their writing.
Speaking and listening
At Stage B3, students generally respond to and use the structures and features of English appropriately in an increasing variety of familiar formal and informal contexts. They demonstrate awareness of the register requirements of spoken English necessary for a variety of purposes. They understand the essential meaning of unfamiliar topics expressed in familiar spoken English, and extract specific information. They use appropriate sequence markers and consistently use most common, irregular past tenses. They provide greater detail through the use of longer noun groups and adverbial phrases. They use comprehensible pronunciation, stress and intonation. They access English from a range of oral and written sources, and extend their oral skills by incorporating this into their own repertoire. They are able to self-correct some errors, reformulate language to convey meaning more clearly, and add essential details.
At Stage B3, students read for a range of purposes and identify main ideas and specific information in classroom texts. They demonstrate understanding of the main storyline and most key information when retelling, paraphrasing and answering questions, and they compare some details in texts. They demonstrate some awareness of how information is organised in English texts. They recognise the cohesive devices connecting ideas and the organisation of information in a text, and use appropriate metalanguage to talk about the structure and features of a text. They recognise how relationships are signalled by increasing range of conjunctions. They integrate a number of strategies to help them read new texts. They use accessible English dictionaries to check the meanings of new words and use contents pages, indexes, glossaries and headings to find information.
At Stage B3, students communicate for a range of purposes on a variety of familiar topics, using a basic repertoire of text types. They write sequenced and ordered factual texts, and narrative texts that maintain a cohesive storyline and characterisation. They demonstrate an awareness of how effective writing is tailored to purpose, the requirements of the topic and the needs of the reader. They gather and present information appropriately in texts. They write texts that demonstrate some overall cohesion and coherence. They combine and sequence simple sentences and paragraphs using common conjunctions and pronouns. They generally maintain appropriate tense throughout their texts. They discuss and reflect on their own writing, incorporating feedback when planning, reviewing or presenting their texts. They revise texts during writing and proofread after a first draft has been written, improving spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure.