Stages of ESL Learning
The ESL Companion is organised into eleven sections, one for each stage of ESL learning. Each stage includes a learning focus statement and a set of standards organised by dimension.
ESL students are a highly diverse group, including those:
- beginning school with minimal or no exposure to English, born overseas or in Australia
- entering school with little or no exposure to English, but with schooling equivalent to that received by their chronological peers in English
- entering school with little or no exposure to English, but with little or no previous formal schooling
- entering school with some exposure to English, spoken and/or written.
The ESL standards accommodate this diversity in student background and the varying points of entry to school, by providing an overview of English language development within three broad bands of schooling. Within each band, stages of ESL learning are described as follows:
|Lower primary||Years Prep to 2||A1||A2|
|Middle/upper primary||Years 3 to 6||B1||B2||B3|
|Secondary||Years 7 to 10||S1||S2||S3||S4|
These stages describe the development of students who are literate in their first language and who have had educational experiences similar to those that would be expected for their age group.
Students with little or no prior literacy learning
Two additional stages are also included to describe the initial learning of older students who have little or no literacy in any language, and who are beginning their schooling in Australia:
BL for middle/upper primary students
SL for secondary students.
Students are likely to move to stages B1 or S1 of the ESL standards after Stages BL or SL. They are likely to make quicker progress in learning to speak English than in learning to read and write it. When considering the progress of such students, teachers must always take into account the student’s language and literacy learning background and any initial levels of literacy in the first language.