At Wyong Christian Community School, English is the key learning area where students develop knowledge, skills and understanding in English language and literature. It is an area of the curriculum that has great influence. Within this key learning area, values and attitudes as well as knowledge and skills are taught, developed and critically appraised. It is relevant to all other learning areas as thoughts, ideas, concepts and theories need to be expressed for them to be understood, appreciated and developed.
Language is the God-given ability to communicate in spoken and written forms. God, the Creator, gave us language to commune with Him, to think and reason, and to communicate with each other. English is a widely used language throughout the world and the official language of Australia.
English is important in the curriculum because it is the language through which most communication and learning takes place within schools. The ability to communicate through language is God-given. Language is intimately linked to the processes of thought. It is, therefore, integral to personal development and the realisation of God-given gifts and abilities.
Language enables us to know more of God and communicate our understandings of Him; explore and expand our private and public worlds; organise our experience; and form, recognise and reveal our values and attitudes.
Learning for the most part occurs as students use language; and as they speak, listen, read, write, observe and reflect upon the processes of their own learning. Learning best takes place in the context of activities that are enjoyable and appropriate to the student’s needs, interests and capacities. These activities should include every day communication and personal expression, both formal and informal, using literature and the media.
As values are inextricably embedded in language, Christian teachers should recognise that their faith will inevitably disclose itself in all forms of language activity.
Because the English language is our main form of communication, it is important that students develop a command of English in all its forms. The study of English is essential to the student being able to read and understand God’s Word, the Bible. English is not only an area of study in the curriculum but is also a tool that is used across the curriculum through which students learn, express, and are assessed.
What is involved in English at WCCS?
At Wyong Christian Community School, teaching English involves:
- Developing the ability to read and understand God’s Word, ‘rightly handling the Word of Truth’ (2 Timothy 2:15).
- Recognising and developing each student’s gifts and abilities to communicate for the good, not only of the student, but also for his or her community.
- An understanding that the basis for communication will be ‘speaking the truth in love’ (Ephesians 4:15). This implies a consistent regard for the truth, and a consideration for others in what is said.
- Respecting the student and the language he or she has learnt at home, while at the same time guiding and instructing the student to understand and use language that is acceptable and appropriate.
- Developing in the student discernment in reading, speaking, viewing, writing, and listening and helping students to understand that what is being read, heard, and viewed will effect his or her thoughts, words, and actions. The Biblical test should be that of Philippians 4:8: ‘whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.’
- Developing in the student the ability to communicate effectively and creatively in a variety of oral and written forms.
- Encouraging in the students a love of reading and enabling the student to master the skills of reading and to acquire effective reading habits.
At Wyong Christian Community School, English is taught so that we can help children to become effective communicators who are able to read, understand, and respond to God’s Word and to communicate its truth to others.
Teachers need to help children to evaluate spoken, written, and media texts in the light of God’s Word, and to develop discernment in their speaking, listening, reading, writing, and viewing and representing in accordance with the principles given in the Bible (Philippians 4:8).
How do we teach English at WCCS?
At Wyong Christian Community School, English is taught from grades K-12 in four strands
- Talking and Listening
- Viewing and Representing (mainly in Years 7-12)
As required by the Board of Studies we also cover the following types of texts:
- Prose fiction
- Media and multimedia
Students have the opportunity to fully explore their God given ability in English with a number of students completing the Extension 1 and Extension 2 English courses for the HSC.
Examples of some of the texts we teach:
Prose Fiction – Boy Overboard, Holes, The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, The Simple Gift.
Drama – The Crucible, Stories in the Dark, Away.
Films – Girl Rising, Much Ado About Nothing, Tomorrow, When the War Began, Citizen Kane, Grave of the Fireflies.
Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, Hamlet.
Media – Newspapers, Magazines, Advertising, Sitcoms, Radio, Documentaries.
Non-Fiction – Talking To My Country, Go Back To Where You Came From.
Poetry– Bruce Dawe, Wilfred Owen, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and various performance poets.