How does the literacy progression cater to students for whom English is an additional language or dialect?

The Shape of the Australian Curriculum describes ACARA’s commitment to supporting equity of access to the Australian Curriculum for all students. As part of this commitment, ACARA developed Student diversity advice and the English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D) Learning Progression: Foundation to Year 10

For students who speak a language or dialect other than Standard Australian English, access to language and literacy development is especially important. EAL/D students learn English at the same time as they are learning the content of each learning area through English. For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, their home language is a dialect of English such as Aboriginal English. This means that they learn the English of the school context and of the curriculum as a second dialect. It is important to acknowledge and value the home language, prior knowledge and experiences of these students, and to build on these in developing students’ literacy capabilities in the curriculum.

The EAL/D Learning Progression describes development of English language learning typical of students learning English as an additional language or dialect. Teachers may use the EAL/D Learning Progression to:

  • understand the broad phases of English language learning that EAL/D students are likely to experience
  • identify where their EAL/D students are located on the progression and the nature of their speaking, listening, reading/viewing and writing skills
  • monitor the language progression of their EAL/D students. 

The EAL/D Learning Progression, which shows the interaction of first language or dialect with language and literacy development, can be used with the Literacy progression to assist teachers in meeting the language-learning needs of students for whom English is an additional language or dialect. It is important to note that EAL/D students who do not meet age-related benchmarks when assessed against learning area achievement standards are not necessarily ‘underperforming’, but rather they are achieving at levels commensurate with their phase of English language learning.

Teachers implementing the literacy learning progression with EAL/D students can also refer to the English as an Additional Language or Dialect: Teacher Resource. This resource provides important information about the diversity of EAL/D learners who enter school with a wide range of English language levels and learning needs.