Don't panic! You can manage AUSVELS English

If you've just assumed the role of English coordinator or you're feeling a little overwhelmed at the prospect of implementing AUSVELS English next year, don't panic! The shift to a more explicit focus on grammar as part of the language strand of the curriculum is new for many teachers and even intimidating for some but there are ways to keep it manageable.

The first thing to remember is that you only need to keep one step ahead of your students in the early days of implementation. It's also useful to think about ways to make connections between grammar and other aspects of the English curriculum because grammar in isolation can seem pretty abstract and meaningless.

Here's a few pointers to get you started:

  1. Keep the grammar in bite sized chunks. Take a look at the curriculum requirements for the year and sort out what aspects of grammar you need to focus on. Are there supporting concepts that need to be in place first?
  2. Make connections to literacy and literature. Whatever aspect of grammar you are working on, think about how you can relate it to reading and writing activities in class. For example, if you're thinking about adjectives, your class could explore which adjectives are used by authors they are reading and experiment with similar strategies in their writing.
  3. Put some foundations in place. Teachable moments are golden. Make sure that your students are ready for them by establishing some good working grammar knowledge. You can't mount a case for checking subject verb agreement while editing if nobody is really sure what the subject is!
  4. Textbooks can't do it all. Educational publishers have responded to recent curriculum changes with a range of new texts. They can be useful tools for establishing foundational knowledge. To really make the most of language learning, teachers will also need to show students how to make connections from grammar to language in use.


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