The Western Australian Curriculum: English Pre-primary to Year 10 is organised into three interrelated strands that support students' growing understanding and use of Standard Australian English (English). Together the three strands focus on developing students' knowledge, understanding and skills in listening, reading, viewing, speaking and writing. The three strands are:
- Language: knowing about the English language
- Literature: understanding, appreciating, responding to, analysing and creating literature
- Literacy: expanding the repertoire of English usage.
Strands and sub-strands
Content descriptions in each strand are grouped into sub-strands that, across the year levels, present a sequence of development of knowledge, understanding and skills. The sub-strands are:
|Language variation and change||Literature and context||Texts in context|
|Language for interaction||Responding to literature||Interacting with others|
|Text structure and organisation||Examining literature||Interpreting, analysing and evaluating|
|Expressing and developing ideas||Creating literature||Creating texts|
|Sound and letter knowledge|
Texts provide the means for communication. They can be written, spoken or multimodal, and in print or digital/online forms. Multimodal texts combine language with other means of communication such as visual images, soundtrack or spoken word, as in film or computer presentation media. Texts provide important opportunities for learning about aspects of human experience and about aesthetic value. Many of the tasks that students undertake in and out of school involve understanding and producing imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, media texts, everyday texts and workplace texts.
The term 'literature' refers to past and present texts across a range of cultural contexts that are valued for their form and style and are recognised as having enduring or artistic value. While the nature of what constitutes literary texts is dynamic and evolving, they are seen as having personal, social, cultural and aesthetic value and potential for enriching students' scope of experience. Literature includes a broad range of forms such as novels, poetry, short stories and plays; fiction for young adults and children, multimodal texts such as film, and a variety of non-fiction. Literary texts also include excerpts from longer texts. This enables a range of literary texts to be included within any one year level for close study or comparative purposes.
English educators use many ways of categorising texts. The descriptions of texts used in the Western Australian Curriculum: English are based on practical as well as conceptual considerations. The specific designation of a strand labelled 'literature' is aimed at encouraging teachers working at all year levels not only to use texts conventionally understood as 'literary', but also to engage students in examining, evaluating and discussing texts in increasingly sophisticated and informed 'literary' ways.
The usefulness of distinctions among types of texts relates largely to how clearly at each year level these distinctions can guide the selection of materials for students to listen to, read, view, write and create, and the kinds of purposeful activities that can be organised around these materials.
The language modes
The processes of listening, speaking, reading, viewing and writing, also known as language modes, are interrelated and the learning of one often supports and extends learning of the others. To acknowledge these interrelationships, content descriptions in each strand of the Western Australian Curriculum: English incorporate the processes of listening, speaking, reading, viewing and writing in an integrated and interdependent way.
Classroom contexts that address particular content descriptions will necessarily draw from more than one of these processes in order to support students' effective learning. For example, students will learn new vocabulary through listening and reading and apply their knowledge and understanding in their speaking and writing as well as in their comprehension of both spoken and written texts.
Content descriptions can also be viewed by these processes or language modes. In this aspect, each content description has been placed in the mode in which a major focus of its learning occurs. Content descriptions can be filtered to identify all relevant processes or language modes.
Year level descriptions
Year level descriptions have three functions. First, they emphasise the interrelated nature of the three strands and the expectation that planning an English program will involve integration of content from the strands. Second, they provide information about the learning contexts that are appropriate at each year for learning across the Language, Literature and Literacy strands. Third, they provide an overview of the range of texts to be studied and an indication of their complexity and key features. They also describe differences in the texts that students create. In the early years, development in reading and writing is rapid and clear distinctions in text complexity can be made so descriptions are written for each year at Pre-primary, 1 and 2. In Years 3–10, the two-year description provides for greater flexibility.
The Western Australian Curriculum: English includes content descriptions at each year level. These describe the knowledge, understanding, skills and processes that teachers are expected to teach and students are expected to learn, but do not prescribe approaches to teaching. Learning in English is recursive and cumulative, and builds on concepts, skills and processes developed in earlier years. Nevertheless, the content descriptions have been written to ensure that learning is appropriately ordered and that unnecessary repetition is avoided. However, a concept or skill introduced at one year level may be revisited, strengthened and extended at later year levels as needed.
Content elaborations are provided for Pre-primary to Year 10 to illustrate and exemplify content and assist teachers in developing a common understanding of the content descriptions. They are not intended to be comprehensive content points that all students need to be taught.
A glossary is provided to support a common understanding of key terms in the content descriptions.