Hope and Challenge in the Australian Curriculum: Implications for ESL students and their teachers

ALEA Australian Literacy Education Association
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Journal Article
Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 2012, 35 (1), pp. 223 - 240
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My purpose in this paper is to address the place of English as a Second Language (EAL) students in The Austrlian Curriculum. Given the signifiicant numbers of EAL students in schools, I argue that overall responsibility for education of EAL students is a mainstream, rather than minority, issue and that it is therefore legitimate to ask to what extent and how AL students are positioned in the Curriculum. I begin the paper by addressing the needs of EAL students and the domains of knowledge required of mainstream teachers who work with such students in their classes. i suggest that these domains, while most obviously including extensive knowledge of language, literacy and language development, also include in-depth curriculum knowledge and knowledge of how to plan and implement programs characterised by high intellectual challenge and high support. I ask to what extent these domains of knowledge are acknowledged in The Australian Curricumn, and what guidance and support are provided for teachers in relation to them. I argue that within the constraints of what is possible in a national curriculum, developments to date offer considerable hope for EAL students and the teachers who work with such students, but they also present some challenges. i conclude by offering some suggestions of how these challenges may be addressed
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