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NSW Syllabuses


Rationale for English in Stage 6 Curriculum

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 12, English is the study and use of the English language in its various textual forms. These encompass spoken, written, visual and multimodal texts of varying complexity through which meaning is shaped, conveyed, interpreted and reflected. 

In acknowledgement of its role as the national language, 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 the learning and development of students. 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 aspirations and ideals. 

The study of English in Stage 6 develops in students an understanding of literary expression and nurtures an appreciation of aesthetic values. It develops skills to enable students to experiment with ideas and expression, to become innovative, active, independent learners, to collaborate and to reflect on their learning. 

Through responding to and composing texts from Kindergarten to Year 12, students learn about the power, value and art of the English language for communication, knowledge, enjoyment and agency. They engage with and 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 students develop an understanding of themselves and of diverse human experiences and cultures. 

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 literacy, and through their engagement with a diverse range of purposeful and increasingly demanding textual experiences. The English Stage 6 syllabuses enable teachers to draw on various theoretical perspectives and pedagogical models for teaching English to assist their students to achieve the syllabus outcomes at the highest levels. 

In their study of English, students continue to develop their critical and imaginative faculties and broaden their capacity for cultural understanding. They examine various contexts of language usage to understand how making meaning is complex and shaped by a multiplicity of factors. As students' command of English continues to grow, they are provided with opportunities to question, assess, challenge, reformulate information, identify and clarify issues, negotiate and solve problems. They can become creative and confident users of a range of 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 for lifelong learning, in their careers and lives in a global world.

Rationale for English Studies

The English Studies course is designed to provide students with opportunities to become competent, confident and engaged communicators and to study and enjoy a breadth and variety of texts in English. English Studies focuses on supporting students to refine their skills and knowledge in English and consolidate their English literacy skills to enhance their personal, educational, social and vocational lives. 

The course is distinctive in its focus on the development of students’ language, literacy and literary skills. It centres on empowering students to comprehend, interpret and evaluate the ideas, values, language forms, features and structures of texts from a range of everyday, social, cultural, academic, community and workplace contexts. It offers comprehensive and contemporary language experiences in the modes of reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing and representing. Students refine these expressive language skills, responding to and composing a wide variety of oral, written and multimodal texts, including literary, digital and media texts. 

Students strengthen their ability to access and comprehend information, to assess its reliability, and to synthesise knowledge gained from a variety of sources. Through its structured and focused approach to responding to and composing texts, the English Studies course also provides students with opportunities to develop in and to appreciate the imaginative and affective spheres and to recognise how texts convey, interpret and reflect ways of thinking about oneself and the world. 

The English Studies course also provides diverse approaches to texts so that students may become flexible and critical thinkers, capable of engaging with, understanding and appreciating the variety of cultural heritages and differences that make up Australian and global societies. It also encourages the continued development of skills in literacy, individual and collaborative processes and reflective learning. Such skills form the basis of investigation and analysis required for the world of work, as well as post-school training and education.