Blackburn ELS has well developed and resourced programs of instruction that are both age and English language level appropriate. Programs are developed by highly qualified and experienced teachers and undergo regular review and modification to ensure they are meeting the changing needs of all learner groups.
The English as an Additional Language (EAL) Curriculum is central to the school’s program development and its core focus on students building their capacity to communicate confidently and effectively in English is evident in all the school’s programs.
The school’s programs are designed to strengthen students’ rate of acquisition of the English language and enable active participation in their learning. Programs focus on supporting students’ capacity to use and adapt language according to school-based subjects and other specific learning contexts.
The school’s programs support students to build relationships with their classmates, teachers and the wider community, empowering them to be confident and optimistic learners. Our programs are designed to equip students with the skills to become lifelong learners, critical thinkers, and active and informed citizens. Through targeted programs students develop English language competence in speaking and listening, reading and writing and are provided with a range of opportunities and challenges to expand their English language knowledge and skill.
Students are regularly assessed in two specific areas:
Teachers use the EAL Developmental Continuum to identify each students’ English language level and to plan for effective learning programs that target student need. The EAL Developmental Continuum is a comprehensive assessment tool designed specifically for newly arrived EAL students and provides evidence-based indicators of progress. Student Reports are written that describe each student’s English language and learning progress. These reports are provided to parents/guardians.
When placing a student in a class, consideration is given to the student’s age and sometimes their English language level. Teachers regularly review student placements resulting in some students changing classes throughout their stay. This ensures that students are offered a program that supports their individual learning needs.
Primary students learn English through the study of a range of different subjects. These include;
The focus in each of these areas is on developing the English Language required to study these subjects successfully. Attention is also given to the development of students’ knowledge and skills in each of these areas. Students are also involved in the study of a range of integrated topics such as Australia, Zoo Animals or Me and My Family.
All students take part in a take-home reading program. This involves students borrowing books on a daily basis to read at home, which are specifically suited to their individual reading level. Students also have the opportunity to borrow books from the school library. Specific homework tasks, designed to meet the needs of individual students, are sometimes provided. Teachers will often advise parents/guardians about the various ways in with they can support their child’s English language learning at home.
Excursions provide valuable English language learning experiences for all students. Excursions are a planned and important part of the curriculum and all students are expected to fully participate. When an excursion is being organised, detailed notices will be sent home to inform parents and guardians. Excursions for primary aged children may include a trip to the zoo, a farm or the beach. In term 3 all students participate in a 5 week swimming program.
When placing a student in a class, consideration is given to their age and English language stage. Secondary aged students are given a placement test at enrolment. Teachers regularly review the English knowledge and skills of each student and class placements are revised at the beginning of each term. This ensures that students are offered a program that supports their stage of English language.
Secondary students learn English while studying different subjects.
Below is an example of a sample secondary timetable:
Students are given homework appropriate to their age and English language stage. Students borrow books from the school Library and should read these at home. Students should also revise work done each day and complete any unfinished work. Specific homework tasks are regularly given to students in the advanced language groups.
Excursions provide valuable English language learning experiences for students. Excursions are a planned and important part of the curriculum and all students are expected to fully participate. In term one, all students visit the zoo to support their Science studies and in term three students visit Sovereign Hill as part of the Humanities program. When an excursion is being organised, detailed notices will be sent home to inform parents and guardians.
At the end of the year, the younger secondary students at the Burwood campus and all Maroondah students participate in a three-day residential camp. This camp is fully integrated into the curriculum, with a clear focus on English language and social development. Parents and guardians are notified well in advance and have opportunities to discuss issues and concerns.
The senior secondary students participate in a five-day program in the city of Melbourne once during their program at the school. This program is fully integrated into the curriculum and aims to develop students’ English language skills as well as independence, problem-solving ability, time management and organisational skills. Parents and guardians are notified well in advance and have opportunities to discuss issues and concerns