Teachers at Collingwood English Language School gradually introduce students to the different styles of teaching and learning used in Victorian schools. Students are encouraged to actively participate in their learning and are expected to: work in pairs or small groups, research a topic using library resources, present a prepared talk to the class, and dramatise situations. As computers, ipads and netbooks are widely used in Victorian classrooms, students at Collingwood English Language School are taught basic computer skills.
Students First Program
In the first program the main emphasis is on developing the skills and language the students need for everyday use at CELS and in the community. Teachers focus on developing students’ listening, speaking, reading and writing skills around a number of topics including personal identification and family everyday maths, daily routine, health and medicine and Melbourne. At the same time students’ study skills are developed.
In the final term although English for everyday communication is still an important part of the curriculum, teachers concentrate more on preparing students for mainstream school by selecting topics from the secondary curriculum. The emphasis is on students learning some of the language and concepts of domains (subjects) such as science, mathematics, geography and history, as well as the skills necessary for participating in mainstream classes e.g. using dictionaries and atlases, completing a project, studying a novel, writing a scientific report and extracting information from a TV broadcast.
Preparation for School
As an important part of their preparation for secondary schools, students learn about the way Victoria schools are organised. They learn how to find their way around a school, how to read a timetable and plan of the school. Where possible students visit secondary schools including the school they will attend, observe lessons and interact with students at the schools.
Domains (Subject) Areas
As well as English as an Additional Language, all students have timetabled lessons in the Language of Maths or Numeracy, Art, Sports and the Community Connections program, Information and Communication Technologies and Library.
Literacy and Numeracy Programs
If students have had severely disrupted or no schooling in their home country, they may have limited literacy skills in their first language and minimal mathematical concepts. For these students the program concentrates on developing their initial reading and writing skills, as well as all other aspects of English, and developing their mathematical concepts. The program includes activity based learning, excursions and the development of study skills.
Teachers set homework regularly and students are expected to complete it. Students should revise each day’s work and spend some time reading.
Camps and Excursions
During their time at Collingwood English Language School, students generally have the opportunity to go on one camp, and to attend several excursions and participate in the sports and activities programs. Classroom work, projects and research activities done prior to, during and following excursions and camps all form a part of the students’ language program.
Educational research into second language learning has shown that learners need to learn the new language in both formal and informal situations. Classroom work is formal and the activities/sports, excursions and camp programs are informal. Our own experience has shown that the research is correct.