A whole school approach ensures a cohesive response to diverse learning needs and consistent practice in a culture of ongoing improvement which sets high expectations, monitors student progress with school-wide analysis and discussion of student achievement data, and supports student learning with quality teaching focused on improving the achievement of every student.
A whole school approach to curriculum provision, using a continuum of support, caters for the learning needs of all students and those learning English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D), or a combination of these. Cultural and linguistic background and socio-economic status contribute to the diversity and complexity of student learning .
Whole school learning environment
Language is the centre of teaching and learning across all subjects and learning areas. While EAL students are learning the curriculum through Standard Australian English, they also need specific teaching approaches to build a language foundation for successful classroom learning. The Australian Curriculum contends that all teachers are responsible for teaching the subject-specific language and literacy of their learning areas. EAL learners’ ability to use language will determine their curriculum success.
The resource EAL Effective Practice Interactive Guide, produced by the Victorian Department of Education and Training, features a series of literacy based video case studies and resources and advocates for a whole school literacy focus and invested and visible leadership of literacy and EAL within the school.
Teachers of all learning areas can identify EAL students’ English Language proficiency using the Language and Literacy Levels which provide focused teaching to meet the particular language learning needs of students.
Factors that contribute to significant EAL learner progress
As part of the annual EAL/D data collection, learner progress is analysed and schools that have a substantial proportion of EAL learners with progress of 2 or more Levels over a 12-month period are invited to identify the main contributing factors. This checklist is a compilation of the most frequently mentioned factors.
The CESA Continuous Improvement Framework (CIF) provides an evidence-based systematic approach for designing, implementing, monitoring and reporting school improvement. It offers schools a tool for self-review and planning which is consistent across the system and able to be externally validated.
The CIF is a key area of focus for Principal Consultants’ work with Principals through a range of activities that enhance review and improvement in their schools. This is a futures-focussed framework which is both school-based and student-centred. It supports partnership and capacity building and continues to develop.
The CIF is organised into nine areas which describe the characteristics of high performing, high quality schools: Catholic identity, focussed vision and goals, strong leadership, high expectations of all, high-quality teaching and learning, effective use of data, orderly and safe learning environments, strong home/school/community engagement and effective administration and resourcing.
The EAL Elaboration to the CIF is aligned to four of the domains – strong leadership, high quality teaching and learning, effective use of data and family & community engagement – in the Continuous Improvement Framework and provides a self assessment tool that supports school improvement priorities in relation to English as an Additional language students. A template for an EAL school improvement annual plan is available here.