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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:

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.



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