An alternative title for the English subject could be the ‘Art of communication’ as it is this that underpins our teaching of language and literature. We endeavour to foster the art of clear and fluent communication in written and spoken forms. To foster these fundamental academic and life skills and continue improving upon them, we must endeavour to become excellent readers and listeners. The best writers are first good listeners. They listen before they speak and then engage in the process of writing and crafting. Everything we do is a craft and art.
The VCE EAL English course aims to foster in students an understanding of the English language and develop the ability to successfully communicate using written and oral language for a range of purposes. The course contributes to the development of critical and creative thinking and also develops students’ ability to create and analyse texts, moving from interpretation to reflection and critical analysis.
Through engagement with texts from Australia and from other cultures, English helps equip students for participation in a democratic society and the global community.
Structure and VCAA EAL Requirements
- The study is made up of four units
- Each unit contains two areas of study
- EAL students need to meet the VCAA criteria for enrolment in VCE EAL
Aims of the Course to develop:
- The ability to speak, listen, read, view, and write with enjoyment, purpose, effect, and confidence in a wide range of contexts
- Knowledge of the ways in which language varies according to context, purpose, audience and content, and the capacity to apply this knowledge
- Knowledge of the linguistic patterns used to construct different texts, and the capacity to apply this knowledge, especially in writing
- A broad knowledge of a range of texts and a capacity to relate this to aspects of contemporary society and personal experience
- The capacity to discuss and analyse texts and language critically
- An awareness of the ways textual interpretation and understanding may vary according to culture, social and personal differences, and the capacity to develop reasoned arguments about interpretation and meaning
- Area of Study 1: Reading and exploring texts in a personal analytical written response. In the first Area of study students read and explore the play 12 Angry Men by Reginal Rose
- Area of study 2: Crafting Texts requires a creative response to Mentor texts studied in class.
Semester 1 Examination: Students are required to sit a two-hour end of semester examination related to their Unit 1 studies.
Area of Study 1: Reading and exploring texts. A text response essay to the set text. The text for study is the film The Life of Pi.
- Area of Study 2: Exploring Argument requires the analysis of the ways argument and language can be used to position an audience and then build on the skills of applying argument in appoint of view delivered in an oral presentation to an audience.
Semester 2 Examination: Students are required to sit an end of semester two-hour examination related to their Unit 2 studies. The two exams in year 11 help students build stamina, resilience, and practice for the Unit 3 & 4 examinations in the following year. These are also important in building their confidence in applying their knowledge, critical thinking and writing skills.
- Area of Study 1 Reading and responding to texts requires an analytical response to a text in the form of a text response essay.
- Area of Study 2 Creating Texts is a new focus of the study design and helps students understand and engage in the process of crafting texts and making deliberate language choices in line with selected form, purpose, and audience. Students study mentor texts under a framework and utilise these as inspiration to create two responses in different forms. Students write a commentary to explain their authorial decisions.
Students can explore a variety of textual forms as appropriate to classroom programs and preference. Textual forms can include but are not limited to short stories, speeches, or monologues (with transcripts), essays (comment, opinion, reflective, personal), podcasts (with transcripts), poetry/songs, feature articles (including a series of blog or social media postings) and memoirs and biography.
*EAL Students are also assessed for their active listening skills on comprehension of unfamiliar spoken text/s.
- Area of Study 1: Reading and responding to texts in the form of text response essay. Students consolidate these skills from Units 1, 2 and 3 and prepare for this analytical assessment in the end of year examination.
- Area of Study 2: Analysing Argument: The final focus of the unit consists of understanding argument and persuasive rhetoric. Students examine diverse perspective on a contemporary issue. In 2023 students explored the issue of AI Technology. Importantly, they learn to not only read and interpret a text but also to critically analyse its purpose and the way in which it is designed to impact the viewer or reader. As consumers of news students become more aware of the narratives in written and multimedia sources as well as visual modes of presentation such as political cartoons.
Unit 3 & 4 English Assessment
Unit 3 will contribute 25% to the final assessment
Unit 4 will contribute 25% to the final assessment
Exam will contribute 50% to the final assessment
Student Point of View
What key skills are required for success?
For success in English learners need to apply metacognition, organised note-taking skills, critical analytical thinking, and crafting writing in various forms. Each Area of Study outlines key knowledge and skills specific to the area of focus.
What are the learning activities in this subject like?
In the EAL classroom students will achieve their best outcomes when they engage in discussions, commit to listening practice, use graphic organisers to synthesis learning and practice their speaking and communication skills. Repeated language practice and being open to making errors, correcting, and seeing these as necessary steps in language acquisition and mastery is essential.
What advice would you give to a student about to embark on this subject?
This subject is for students who qualify for EAL through VCAA. The best way to achieve success is through regular practice, openness to new ideas, sharing with others and reading and writing regularly. At VCE level students will further benefit by consistent and open communication with their English teacher.
This study enables students to:
- Extend their English language skills through thinking, listening, speaking, reading, viewing, and writing
- Enhance their understanding, enjoyment, and appreciation of the English language in its written, spoken, and multimodal forms
- Analyse and discuss a range of texts from different periods, styles, genres, and contexts
- Understand how culture, values and context underpin the construction of texts and how this can affect meaning and interpretation
- Understand how ideas are presented by analysing form, purpose, context, structure, and language
- Analyse their own and others’ texts, and make relevant connections to themselves, their community, and the world
- Convey ideas, feelings, observations, and information effectively in written, spoken and multimodal forms to a range of audiences
- Recognise the role of language in thinking and expression of ideas
- Demonstrate in the creation of their own written, spoken, and multimodal texts
- An ability to make informed choices about the construction of texts in relation to purpose, audience, and context
- Think critically and pose interrogative question on texts and issues
- Extend their use of the conventions of Standard Australian English with assurance, precision, vitality, and confidence in a variety of contexts, including for further study, the workplace and their own needs and interests
- Extend their competence in planning, creating, reviewing, and editing their texts for precision and clarity, tone, and stylistic effect.