“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right…. Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.” – Kofi Annan, seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations
The teaching and learning programs developed at Leeming Senior High School are based on the Western Australian Curriculum. They integrate and balance the three interrelated strands of language, literature and literacy. These three strands focus on developing students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in listening, reading, viewing, speaking, writing and creating. Each program of study includes aspects of the General Capabilities, with particular emphasis on Critical and Creative Thinking; Intercultural Understanding; Ethical Understanding and Personal and Social Capability. Student learning in English builds on concepts, skills and processes developed in their primary school years and teachers adapt their programs to develop and strengthen these skills and understandings as needed.
Our intention is that students engage with a variety of texts for enjoyment and critical literacy. They listen to, read and view spoken, written and multimodal texts in which the primary purpose is to entertain, as well as some texts designed to inform. These include novels, picture books, traditional oral texts, various types of stories, rhyming verse, poetry, non-fiction, film and multimodal texts. We ensure that students participate in shared reading, viewing and storytelling using a range of literary texts, and learn to recognise the entertaining nature of literature.
Our primary focus is to develop an understanding of Australian identity and to do so we utilise Australian literature and the contemporary literature of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, along with classic and contemporary world literature, including texts from and about Asia. These foci in text selection allow us to meet the requirements of the Cross Curriculum Priorities of the West Australian Curriculum of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures; Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia; and Sustainability.
Our English programs are designed to encourage student production. Students will create a range of imaginative, informative and persuasive texts including short stories, mindmaps, hybrid texts, storyboards, pictorial representations, short statements, speeches, blog entries, performances, recounts and poetry. In order to develop critical and creative thinking, our teachers use philosophical inquiry and are trained in the use of the Lipman Model of Community Inquiry. Lipman, a leading educator and philosopher, proposes that such inquiry processes in the classroom sponsors “questioning, reasoning, connecting, deliberating, challenging, and developing problem-solving techniques.” (Lipman, 2003, pp. 20–21)
“The study of English is central to the learning and development of all young Australians. It helps create confident communicators, imaginative thinkers and informed citizens. It is through the study of English that individuals learn to analyse, understand, communicate with and build relationships with others and with the world around them. The study of English helps young people develop the knowledge and skills needed for education, training and the workplace. It helps them become ethical, thoughtful, informed and active members of society. In this light it is clear that the Australian Curriculum: English plays an important part in developing the understanding, attitudes and capabilities of those who will take responsibility for Australia’s future.” [SCSA Website: http://k10outline.scsa.wa.edu.au/home/p-10-curriculum/curriculum-browser/english-v8/overview/rationale]
The English Department syllabi are prepared from the Western Australian Curriculum available on the SCSA website. We assess according to the Scope and Sequence documents also provided by SCSA.
Our teachers prepare common assessment outlines across all courses, and many of the tasks are CATs or common assessment tasks, undertaken by all students in a particular course and cross-marked by the teaching team to ensure comparability. Teachers work together closely to prepare and distribute resources, mark work and support student learning. Our focus is rigour, balanced with reading pleasure, vigorous debate, philosophical discussion and enjoyment. It is very important to us that students appreciate the joy of language and are offered the wealth of our literary cultural heritage.
English teachers within our department are regular users of Connect, the Department of Education communication website. This ensures that our students have access to handouts, resources [such as additional readings], examination preparation materials and that they are able to participate in academic discussions.
Our teaching faculty is highly experienced, with strengths in supporting Students at Educational Risk, Gifted and Talented Education and English as a Second Language. We constantly strive for ‘best practice’ using our comfortable and well-resourced English Department spaces.
Teacher Development School for English
In 2016, our English Department was appointed as a TDS and has been very proactive in sharing our experience and resources with other English teachers across the State. Working in close partnership with Perth Modern School and Karratha Senior High School, the other TDS English schools, we work to share our expertise and source experts to provide information and support to English teachers.
“Frederick Douglass taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path.” – Carl Sagan
Subject Choices ( Click on the link for the corresponding year directory)