What does English look like at Ponsonby?
English is the study, use, and enjoyment of the English language and its literature. It is the medium which enables students to use spoken, written and visual language for a range of purposes and audiences across a variety of text forms. Understanding, using and creating oral, written and visual texts of increasing complexity is at the heart of Ponsonby’s 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 do we teach it?
Success in English is fundamental to success across the curriculum. All learning areas at Ponsonby require students to receive, process, and present ideas or information using the English language as a medium.
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.
Students learn to 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.
How do we teach it?
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.
Ponsonby has a carefully constructed set of termly units for each year group which is designed to develop and build on students’ learning as they progress through their two years here. Each unit is designed to allow students to achieve all of the learning progressions within the unit.
- all students have five scheduled 45 minute periods each week
- additionally, all curriculum areas cover reading, viewing, writing, speaking and presenting
- the five periods are roughly structured as 2 reading, 2 writing and 1 spelling, punctuation and grammar session
- students complete weekly homework that is directly related to the learning in the classroom. This includes spelling practise and an expectation to be reading at home
- there are five 15 minute sustained silent reading sessions each week taking place school-wide immediately after lunch
- classes are grouped and are differentiated for
- when grouping students all aspects of the NZ Curriculum principles are taken in consideration
- formative assessment is used throughout teaching sessions with Success Criteria rubrics used for summative assessment at the end of units. These assessments make up part of teachers’ OTJs
Extension and support programmes are established within classes, students receive a mixture of in class support as well attending targeted support programmes through the Learning Centre