Language shapes our understanding of ourselves and our world. It is the primary means by which we relate to others and is central to the intellectual, social and emotional development of all students. In the years of schooling from Kindergarten to Year 10, English is the study and use of the language in its various textual forms. These encompass spoken, written and visual texts of varying complexity through which meaning is shaped, conveyed, interpreted and reflected.
To reinforce its importance, English is the mandatory subject from Kindergarten to Year 12 in the NSW curriculum. Knowledge, understanding, skills, values and attitudes acquired in English are central to learning and development. Developing proficiency in English enables students to take their place as confident communicators, critical and imaginative thinkers, lifelong learners and informed, active participants in Australian society. It supports the development and expression of a system of personal values, based on students' understanding of moral and ethical matters, and gives expression to their hopes and ideals.
The study of English from Kindergarten to Year 10 should develop a love of literature and learning and be challenging and enjoyable. It develops skills to enable students to experiment with ideas and expression, to become active, independent and lifelong learners, to work with each other and to reflect on their learning.
Through responding to and composing texts from Kindergarten to Year 10, students learn about the power, value and art of the English language for communication, knowledge and enjoyment. They explore texts that include widely acknowledged quality literature of past and contemporary societies and engage with the literature and literary heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. By composing and responding with imagination, feeling, logic and conviction, students develop understanding of themselves and of human experience and culture. They develop clear and precise skills in speaking, listening, reading, writing, viewing and representing, and knowledge and understanding of language forms and features and structures of texts.
The study of English in this syllabus is founded on the belief that language learning is recursive and develops through ever-widening contexts. Students learn English through explicit teaching of language and through their engagement with a diverse range of purposeful and increasingly demanding language experiences. The English K–10 Syllabus enables teachers to draw on the methods of different theoretical perspectives and models to assist their students achieve the outcomes at the highest levels. The syllabus is linked to the purpose statement and broad learning outcomes of the K–10 Curriculum Framework.
In their study of English, students continue to develop their critical and imaginative faculties and broaden their capacity for cultural understanding. They examine the contexts of language use to understand the way in which various social factors shape meaning. As students' command of English grows, they can question, assess, challenge and reformulate information and use creative and analytical language to identify and clarify issues and solve problems. They become imaginative and confident users of a range of electronic and digital technologies and understand and reflect on the ongoing impact of these technologies on society. These skills and understandings allow them to develop their control of language in ways that will help them in lifelong learning and their careers.
The aim of English in Years K–10 is to enable students to understand and use language effectively, appreciate, reflect on and enjoy the language and to make meaning in ways that are imaginative, creative, interpretive, critical and powerful.
Objectives provide specific statements of the intention of a syllabus. They amplify the aim and provide direction to teachers on the teaching and learning process emerging from the syllabus. They define, in broad terms, the knowledge, understanding, skills, values and attitudes to be developed through study in the subject. They act as organisers for the intended outcomes.
Knowledge, understanding and skills
Through responding to and composing a wide range of texts and through the close study of texts, students will develop knowledge, understanding and skills in order to:
- communicate through speaking, listening, reading, writing, viewing and representing
- use language to shape and make meaning according to purpose, audience and context
- think in ways that are imaginative, creative, interpretive and critical
- express themselves and their relationships with others and their world
- learn and reflect on their learning.
Values and attitudes
Students will value and appreciate:
- the importance of the English language as a key to learning
- the personal enrichment to be gained from a love of English, literature and learning
- the power of language to explore and express views of themselves as well as the social, cultural, ethical, moral, spiritual and aesthetic dimensions of human experiences
- the power of effective communication using the language modes of speaking, listening, reading, writing, viewing and representing
- the role of language in developing positive interaction and co-operation with others
- the diversity and aesthetics of language through literary and other texts
- the independence gained from thinking imaginatively, creatively, interpretively and critically.