What is English about?
English is the study, use, and enjoyment of the English language and its literature, communicated orally, visually, and in writing, for a range of purposes and audiences and in a variety of text forms. Learning English encompasses learning the language, learning through the language, and learning about the language.
Understanding, using, and creating oral, written, and visual texts of increasing complexity is at the heart of English teaching and learning. By engaging with text-based activities, students become increasingly skilled and sophisticated speakers and listeners, writers and readers, presenters and viewers.
Why study English?
Literacy in English gives students access to the understanding, knowledge, and skills they need to participate fully in the social, cultural, political, and economic life of New Zealand and the wider world. To be successful participants, they need to be effective oral, written, and visual communicators who are able to think critically and in depth.
By understanding how language works, students are equipped to make appropriate language choices and apply them in a range of contexts. Students learn to deconstruct and critically interrogate texts in order to understand the power of language to enrich and shape their own and others’ lives.
Students appreciate and enjoy texts in all their forms. The study of New Zealand and world literature contributes to students’ developing sense of identity, their awareness of New Zealand’s bicultural heritage, and their understanding of the world.
Success in English is fundamental to success across the curriculum. All learning areas (with the possible exception of languages) require students to receive, process, and present ideas or information using the English language as a medium. English can be studied both as a heritage language and as an additional language.
English presents students with opportunities to engage with and develop the key competencies in diverse contexts.
How is the learning area structured?
English is structured around two interconnected strands, each encompassing the oral, written, and visual forms of the language. The strands differentiate between the modes in which students are primarily:
- making meaning of ideas or information they receive (listening, reading, and viewing)
- creating meaning for themselves or others (speaking, writing, and presenting).
The achievement objectives within each strand suggest progressions through which most students move as they become more effective oral, written, and visual communicators. Using a set of underpinning processes and strategies, students develop knowledge, skills, and understandings related to:
- text purposes and audiences
- ideas within language contexts
- language features that enhance texts
- the structure and organisation of texts.
Students need to practise making meaning and creating meaning at each level of the curriculum. This need is reflected in the way that the achievement objectives are structured. As they progress, students use their skills to engage with tasks and texts that are increasingly sophisticated and challenging, and they do this in increasing depth.