Identify syllabus outcomes and concepts

Identify syllabus outcomes and concepts (What do I want my students to learn?)

Conceptual programming

    Conceptual programming in English connects syllabus content through concepts–those significant, enduring, transferable ‘big ideas’ which are the core of any subject–to define what is critical for students to learn in the subject of English.

    The conceptual programming approach in English is grounded in the principles of Quality Teaching.

    When translating NSW syllabuses into specific classroom programs, lessons and learning activities, the first thing teachers will need to do is select and organise the essential knowledge, understandings, skills and values from the syllabus around central concepts or ideas.

    Once lessons are focused on these concepts or ideas, the main task of teachers in those lessons is one of developing the students’ deep understanding of the selected knowledge, understandings, skills and values and of the connections among them.

    • are embedded in the syllabus aims, rationale, objectives, outcomes and content

    • shape the content as organising ideas

    • integrate the knowledge by establishing relationships with other concepts

    • connect the content for learners to create meaning

    • drive learning and assessment

    • form bridges between prior learning, new learning and potential future learning.

    Planning with concepts ensures that students are engaged with the deep knowledge of the subject. It means students are able to establish relationships between other key concepts or ideas.

    Planning with concepts allows teachers to cater for multistage settings.

    Concepts and themes

    It is very easy to confuse a concept with a theme, particularly in English.

    Themes are major issues or subjects which become prominent when reading a text, and are dependent upon the beliefs and practices of the reader. A thematic unit of learning usually involves several texts which have the same central theme. With this approach students may gain a deep understanding of the theme but not a deep understanding of a key concept in English.

    Work through the tabs above which illustrate this important difference.

    Girl with books thinking '?'

    A thematic unit

    Unit theme: Sustainability

    Texts: several texts with the theme of sustainability

    Girl holding books saying: 'By the end of our unit I had learned all about the importance of sustainability.'

    A key concept unit

    Unit key concept: persuasion (advocacy)

    Texts: a range of digital texts that advocate change and encourage advocacy on a number of contemporary issues

    Girl holding booksmaking two statements. For text version see below.

    This graphic shows a secondary school girl holding books making the two statements:

    Statement 1:

    'By the end of the persuasion unit I learned that language is powerful and the internet can be used ethically to raise awareness of issues important to the whole of humankind'

    Statement 2:

    'I learned how to communicate my beliefs and how to sustain people’s interest in them.'

    A K–6 example

    Primary students making statements. See text version below image.

    This graphic shows two primary girls making the two statements:

    Statement 1 (a thematic Unit):

    ‘We read Rosie’s walk and we learned about the things you would find on a farm.’

    Statement 2 (a key concept unit):

    ‘We read Rosie's walk and we learned how words and pictures can work together to tell a story.’

    Build your knowledge of the syllabus

    Conceptual programming requires a depth of knowledge about the intent of the syllabus as well as detailed knowledge of syllabus content and outcomes. The process outlined in these tabs will help you build this knowledge.

    Rationale: The study of English from Kindergarten to Year 10 should develop a love of literature and learning and be challenging and enjoyable. It develops skills to enable students to experiment with ideas and expression, to become active, independent and lifelong learners, to work with each other and to reflect on their learning.

    Aim: The aim of English in Years K-10 is to enable students to understand and use language effectively, appreciate, reflect on and enjoy the English language and to make meaning in ways that are imaginative, creative, critical and powerful.

    Objectives: Provide direction to teachers on the teaching and learning process emerging from the syllabus.  They define, in broad terms, the knowledge, understanding, skills, values and attitudes to be developed in the subject.

    Outcomes: What students are to learn about and are expected to know and be able to do to achieve the aims and objectives of the syllabus.

    Content: The content expresses in more detail how the outcomes are to be interpreted and used.  Embedded in this content are the concepts central to the discipline and our understanding of what subject English is.

    Step 1: Analyse the content for concepts

    In each of the examples below one syllabus content point is analysed for significant English concepts. View the example relevant to you.

    In this example, the concepts of appreciation and aestheticism are apparent, with rhetoric being the concept related to the ‘power of language’.

    Syllabus outcome EN4-1A A student responds to and composes texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis, imaginative expression and pleasure

    Students engage personally with texts

    • explore and appreciate the aesthetic qualities in their own and other texts and the power of language to communicate information, ideas, feelings and viewpoints.

    In this example, the concept of representation is indicated by the words ‘effects of some language devices’ and the concept of appreciation by the words the ‘reader’s reaction’.

    Outcome

    Content

    Syllabus outcome EN2-8B: identifies and compares different kinds of texts when reading and viewing and shows an understanding of purpose, audience and subject matter.

    Students respond to, read and view texts

    • discuss the nature and effects of some language devices used to enhance meaning and shape the reader's reaction, including rhythm and onomatopoeia in poetry and prose.

    Step 2: What concept is important for your students to learn about now?

    Your scope and sequence or Stage overview may indicate that your students need to:

    • learn about the power of spoken language to persuade

    • value their own opinion about texts and their aesthetic qualities, or

    • develop their own sense of taste and style.

    Your decision about which concept you address will inform how to organise the rest of the content and what outcomes you will formally assess.

    Step 3: Use your identified concept to connect the content

    View the example relevant to you.

    Assume you have identified the concept of aestheticism and your students need to learn about texts having artistic value. The content listed below could be used as a basis for your unit of learning. Remember, other outcomes or content may also apply, depending on the assessment, texts and learning you have identified as appropriate for your students.

    Outcome

    Content

    Syllabus outcome EN4-1A: A student responds to and composes texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis, imaginative expression and pleasure

    • identify and discuss main ideas, concepts and point of view in spoken texts to evaluate qualities, for example the strength of an argument or the lyrical power of a poetic rendition

    • understand how language is used to evaluate texts and how evaluations about a text can be substantiated by reference to the text and other sources

    • understand, interpret and discuss how language is compressed to produce a dramatic effect in film or drama, and to create layers of meaning in poetry, for example in haiku, tankas, couplets, free verse and verse novels

    Syllabus Outcome EN4-2A: A student effectively uses a widening range of processes, skills, strategies and knowledge for responding to and composing texts in different media and technologies

    • develop a sense of personal style and taste in composition and response

    Syllabus outcome EN4-5C: A student thinks imaginatively, creatively, interpretively and critically about information, ideas and arguments to respond to and compose texts

    • describe and explain the quality of language in their own and others’ texts that contribute to the enjoyment that can be experienced in responding to and composing texts

    • explore the ways individual interpretations of texts are influenced by students’ own knowledge, values and cultural assumptions

    • critically consider the ways in which meaning is shaped by context, purpose, form, structure, style, content, language choices and their own personal perspective

    • discuss aspects of text, for example their aesthetic and social value, using relevant and appropriate metalanguage

    Syllabus outcome EN4-6C: A student identifies and explains connections between and among texts.

    • recognise, explain and analyse the ways literary texts draw on readers’ knowledge of other texts and enable new understanding and appreciation of aesthetic qualities

    • investigate and explain appropriations into English from a range of other cultures and times

    Syllabus outcome EN4-7D: A student demonstrate understanding of how texts can express aspects of their broadening world and their relationships within it.

    • explore and analyse the ways in which personal experiences and perspectives shape their responses to texts

    • draw on experience to consider the ways in the ‘real world’ is represented in the imaginary worlds of texts, including imaginative literature, film, media and multimedia texts

    Syllabus outcome EN4-8D: A student identifies, considers and appreciates cultural expression in texts.

    • consider the ways culture and personal experience position readers and viewers and influence responses to and composition of texts

    • respond to and compose texts in a range of different modes and media, recognising and appreciating cultural factors, including cultural background and perspectives

    • explore and appreciate the ways different cultural stories, icons, Aboriginal images and significant Australians are depicted in texts

    Consider the concept of appreciation. In K-6, students learn what it is to appreciate texts for their value, quality and personal enjoyment. This is a building block of the more nuanced concept of aestheticism which is explored in the Stage 4 example above.

    For the concept of appreciation, you may decide that your students need to learn to identify why they enjoy a text, what they find valuable, and to analyse how language has been used to enhance enjoyment. The content listed below could be used as a basis for your unit of learning. Remember, other outcomes or content may also apply, depending on the assessment, texts and learning you have identified as appropriate for your students.

    Outcome

    Content

    Syllabus outcome EN2-1A: Speaking and listening 1: a student communicates in a range of informal and formal contexts by adopting a range of roles in group, classroom, school and community contexts.

    • respond appropriately to the reading of texts to demonstrate enjoyment and pleasure

    Syllabus outcome EN2-2A: Writing and representing 1: a student plans, composes and reviews a range of texts that are more demanding in terms of topic, audience and language.

    • identify key elements of planning, composing, reviewing and publishing in order to meet the demands of composing texts on a particular topic for a range of purposes and audiences

    • experiment and share aspects of composing that enhance learning and enjoyment

    • understand, interpret and experiment with a range of devices and deliberate word play in poetry and other literary texts, for example nonsense words, spoonerisms, neologisms and puns

    Syllabus outcome EN2-4A: Reading and viewing 1: a student uses an increasing range of skills, strategies and knowledge to fluently read, view and comprehend a range of texts on increasingly challenging topics in different media and technologies.

    • discuss how a reader's self-selection of texts for enjoyment can be informed by reading experiences

    • recognise how aspects of personal perspective influence responses to texts

    • justify interpretations of a text, including responses to characters, information and ideas

    Syllabus outcome EN2-8B: identifies and compares different kinds of texts when reading and viewing and shows an understanding of purpose, audience and subject matter.

    • explore the effect of choices when framing an image, placement of elements in the image, and salience on composition of still and moving images in a range of types of texts

    • recognise the use of figurative language in texts, eg similes, metaphors, idioms and personification, and discuss their effects

    • discuss how language is used to describe the settings in texts, and explore how the settings shape the events and influence the mood of the narrative

    • discuss personal choices of texts for enjoyment

    • discuss the nature and effects of some language devices used to enhance meaning and shape the reader's reaction, including rhythm and onomatopoeia in poetry and prose

    Syllabus outcome EN2-10C: Thinking imaginatively, creatively and interpretively: a student thinks imaginatively, creatively and interpretively about information, ideas and texts when responding to and composing texts.

    • share responses to a range of texts and identify features which increase reader enjoyment

    • discuss how authors and illustrators make stories exciting, moving and absorbing and hold readers' interest by using various techniques, for example character development and plot tension

    • identify and analyse the different organisational patterns and features to engage their audience

    • identify creative language features in imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that contribute to engagement

    • respond to a range of texts, eg through role-play or drama, for pleasure and enjoyment, and express thoughtful conclusions about those texts

    Syllabus outcome EN2-11D: Expressing themselves: a student responds to and composes a range of texts that express viewpoints of the world similar to and different from their own.

    • recognise how texts draw on a reader's or viewer's experience and knowledge to make meaning and enhance enjoyment

    • recognise how aspects of personal perspective influence responses to texts

    • respond to and appreciate how Dreaming stories form part of an oral tradition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

    • discuss aspects of literature from a range of cultures to explore common experiences and ideas as well as recognising difference

    Syllabus outcome EN2-12E: Reflecting on learning: a student recognises and uses an increasing range of strategies to reflect on their own and others’ learning.

    • appreciate how the reader or viewer can enjoy a range of literary experiences through texts

    • develop criteria for establishing personal preferences for literature

    • reflect on own reading and identify the qualities of texts that have contributed to enjoyment of the text

    Activity 1: Linking outcomes and content

    Activity icon

    In this section you have explored how a concept links content to syllabus outcomes.

    Complete Activity 1: Linking outcomes and content through concepts (.pdf 122kB).