Engaging students with a variety of written and visual texts exposes them to worlds and experiences outside of their own. Within each novel, memoir, play or film, exists a plethora of themes, values and big ideas that each author or director deliberately shares with the reader or viewer. As part of our English classes across Years 7-12, students have the opportunity to analyse the messages conveyed by texts and reflect on concepts from character perspectives and angles they may not have previously considered.
A sample of the rich landscape of themes explored include: courage and perseverance, hardship, forgiveness, migration, survival, fear, isolation versus solitude, what it means to be human, time and memory, redemption, love and connection, forms of control, persecution, disability and difference as well as acceptance and understanding.
Summative assessments in the study area of analysing, creating and comparing texts from Years 7-12 include adapted and skill sequenced variations of the following:
Another arm of our studies is the analysis and presentation of argument and persuasive language; this area of study equips students with the skills necessary to unpack contemporary social issues often debated by the relevant stakeholders in the media. Students discuss the arguments and persuasive language techniques manipulated to position audiences to agree. As future voters and leaders in our community, students build the reading, writing and public speaking skills needed to understand and question the world around them and to have a voice. Part of that voice involves the delivery of persuasive oral presentations during class and the optional participation in the Eisteddfod public speaking competition.
Summative assessments in the study area of argument and persuasive language from Years 7-12 include adapted and skill sequenced variations of the following:
As outlined on the Department of Education and Training website, “Language is foundational to all learning experiences (Vygotsky, 1962), and literacy ability has been directly linked to academic outcomes (Thomson et al., 2017)”. Furthermore, texts of various genres, which form the heart of English, provide students with a ticket to a greater appreciation of the world around them. So if students ask, ‘Why do I need to study English?’, that is the answer we give.