This post focuses on the transition into Stage 6 and questions that haven't fitted into any of the earlier categories.
You can find previous posts on implementation, syllabus content and outcomes, target language use in the classroom, three learner groups, learning across the curriculum content, programming, Program Builder, the role of language and culture, assessment, reporting, school registration and ongoing support by clicking on the 7-10 category on the right hand side of the Languages NSW News page.
Transition into Stage 6
Q: If we’re going to cater for 3 learner groups, will Stage 6 have 3 learner groups in all languages? Interesting that current discussion is on not running some courses in 2019/2020, eg Indonesian in Context.
A: At this stage, there is nothing to indicate that current Stage 6 language courses will change to reflect the learner groups outlined in the K-10 syllabuses. Differentiated Stage 6 courses exist for Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese and Korean.
The decision to suspend the Indonesian in Context course after the 2019 HSC examination is related to low student enrolments (see more information below).
Q: When will new Stage 6 syllabuses be released?
Q: With all these changes in K-10, when will the Stage 6 courses change to align with these new objectives and outcomes?
A: The current Language in Context and Language and Literature courses are being reviewed, and NESA sought feedback in Term 3 2018 through a range of consultation opportunities. Feedback included:
- - the need for the curriculum to cater for the diversity of learners
- - development of skills and capabilities for the future
- - school-based assessment
- - providing opportunities for assessing and reporting student achievement relevant for post-school pathways.
Q: Will the Stage 6 Language in Context (formerly Heritage ) course continue?
A: Stage 6 courses are offered based on student interest. If candidature in a course falls below 15 students in each of three consecutive years, the course is suspended. Please refer to the table on NESA's website for more information.
Q: How do we support Stage 4-5 "heritage" students to prepare for their HSC?
A:The differentiated content for students with prior learning/experience and students with a background in the language supports teachers to provide appropriately challenging content for students who may wish to study Language in Context or Language and Literature courses in Stage 6. Reviewing the examples (dash points) under the intended learning (dot points), will provide guidance on the level of grammar and vocabulary which would be appropriate for students commencing a Stage 6 Language in Context course.
Q: Backward mapping HSC language courses to meet the needs for Language Continuum students K-10?
A: Each Continuers language syllabus has a comprehensive outline of the grammar and structures that will be examined throughout the Stage 6 course. Teachers who are preparing Stage 5 students for the Stage 6 Continuers courses will find all the information they need to guide their teaching in each of the Stage 6 language syllabuses.
Q: Where do the prior learners go in Stage 6 when the Indonesian in Context is not offered anymore?
A: NESA can provide guidance in specific circumstances.
Q: Stage 6 Beginners course eligibility – if a student takes Korean in Year 10, what happens?
A: If the only time they study Korean is in Year 10, for no more than 100 hours, they are eligible for the Stage 6 Beginners course.
Q: How do you effectively differentiate tasks?
A: To assist with the development of differentiated tasks and teaching and learning activities, each language syllabus provides three levels of content for Stages 4 and 5, with examples of intended learning to illustrate differentiation for the three broad learner groups.
Teaching to three broad learner groups is more relevant in some schools than others. If you teach a language in an area where there are significant numbers of students in each of the learner groups, you may like to approach your local area network leader and suggest differentiation as a topic for future professional learning in that forum.
The department is currently reviewing its professional learning in relation to differentiating based on student ability, for re-release in 2019.
Q: With such a focus on speaking the target language in the classroom, and a noticeable decline in the standard of language skills of university graduates, will the universities change their major/minor criteria, for example I have had a practicum student who didn’t study the language (her major) until she started university and her language level is terrible (not because of the course, but because of the hours she has studied the language for)?
A: NESA works with tertiary institutions to develop criteria for initial teacher education courses.
Q: How will I teach languages in an open learning environment?
A: The teaching of languages in combined/open-plan learning spaces is a new challenge for many teachers. Professional networking between colleagues will be invaluable, and the Languages NSW Yammer page would be a good place to start reaching out to colleagues who are also ‘learning by doing’.
Q: How can you influence UAI/ATAR domain that scales down languages and therefore the importance of languages?
A: A student’s ATAR and scaling of courses are managed by the Universities Admission Centre (UAC) – you can find more information on the UAC website.
Q: How does NESA only acknowledge K-10 syllabus, when many students only start learning language in Year 7?
A: Instead of offering two pathways like the Australian curriculum: Languages, the NSW K-10 syllabuses acknowledge that there are multiple entry points for students learning a language – some students enter Kindergarten already speaking the language, others have their first encounter in Stage 4. The continuum of learning ensures that language learning is age- and Stage-appropriate, and that students can engage with the language in ways appropriate to their cognitive ability and previous experiences at every Stage of learning. Outcomes are broad enough to support teachers in planning appropriate teaching and learning activities, regardless of a student’s entry point.
Q: How heavily mandated will it be for teachers trained in a language to deliver all classes?
A: Staffing is a school-based decision. There is no mandate for a teacher trained in a specific language to deliver all lessons for that particular language course. However, as mentioned at the workshops, languages have been identified as a priority area by NESA, and quality language teaching is best delivered by language teachers wherever possible.
Q: How can regional and rural non-language trained teachers gain skills to teach a language and the new syllabus? Are there qualified teachers to support? Intensive holiday courses? Weekend courses? Ongoing courses? Semester 3 unit start courses with NESA accreditation?
A: The Languages and Culture team supports teachers to maintain and develop their language skills by offering funding support to attend immersion opportunities offered by foreign government agencies, for example:
- - Goethe-Institut’s Sommerschule
- - Alliance Française’s Carnet de vacances
- - Japan Foundation’s intensive seminar.
Some universities and foreign government agencies run distance education courses in a range of languages.
In addition, the Languages and Culture team offers a mentoring program for early career language teachers called the Virtual Languages Mentoring Network (VLMN). This program matches early career language teachers with an experienced, language-specific mentor for two years. The VLMN will be recruiting new ‘mentees’ for 2019-20 in Term 4 through an EOI process which will be advertised on languagesnsw.com.
Q; What PL is available for actual language learning to teach languages, especially in rural schools?
A: See above.
Q: In running this “roadshow”, have you noticed any differences or patterns that emerge as issues in regional schools?
A: We had expected significant differences between the experiences of teachers in metropolitan and regional schools. Contexts vary so much across schools in both metropolitan areas and regional areas, that sometimes teachers have more in common with schools located in a very different geographical area than one located in the same city. One difference we were expecting was that regional schools would have more Stage-based classes (for example Years 7 and 8 in one class), but we found this happens quite often in metropolitan schools too. Language teachers face many of the same challenges regardless of their location.
Q: Do you suggest trying choices of learning tasks to fit with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles? How much variation of a learning task is a good idea?
A: UDL is a framework for instruction based on three guiding principles:
- - representation – giving learners different ways of acquiring information, knowledge and skills
- - action and expression – encouraging students to use different ways of demonstrating what they know
- - engagement – tapping into learners' interests, challenging and motivating them to learn (Rose & Meyer, 2002).
Q: When and how can we include Life Skills outcomes in our own teaching programs?
A: For some students with special education needs who are not able to access the mainstream curriculum, particularly those with an intellectual disability, Life Skills outcomes and content can provide relevant and meaningful learning experiences. The relevant outcomes and content for Life Skills students can be found in the syllabus after the content for Stage 5. It is important to remember that the decision about whether a student should follow a Life Skills program is a collaborative one, taken by a number of different stakeholders including the principal, the learning and support team, teachers, the student and the student’s family. Teachers cannot decide independently to teach Life Skills outcomes .
NESA’s website has a section on Collaborative Curriculum Planning which may be helpful when considering differentiation for students with special learning needs.
Q: If we have international students arriving in Year 9 or 10, do they have to do a mandatory 100 hours language course to qualify for the RoSA? If so, can we do that in Stage 5?
A: Students transferring from overseas into Stage 5 don’t have to do the mandatory 100 hours of language learning to be eligible for the RoSA. Principals have delegated authority from the Board to deem that the mandatory requirements in all key learning areas have been met. Please visit the NESA website for more information.
That's the final instalment of our Languages K-10 syllabus questions and answers! Remember to get in touch with the Languages and Culture team if you need any further information about any of the above, or come up with more questions.