Transcript of Community Languages Program K-6

Community Languages Program video (4:45)

The Community Languages Program K-6 has been operating during school hours in NSW public schools since 1981. The program aims to help schools engage meaningfully with their local community by supporting students to maintain or develop skills in their background or heritage language.

Through this study of language and culture, students develop an appreciation of multiculturalism, inter-culturalism and multilingualism within their school and community. This resource outlines how the Community Languages Program K-6 operates in NSW public schools and the responsibilities for teachers and supervisors.

So, what is a community language?

The term ‘community language’ can refer to any language other than English used within the Australian community. Community languages are spoken by Australians in their everyday lives and are used for communication within the family and broader community. Participation in the Community Languages Program K-6 provides a number of positive benefits for schools and students.

Schools identify a stronger sense of social cohesion within the school community and an increase in parental involvement in school activities. Students develop communication skills in the target community language, gaining deeper cultural understanding and a greater sense of personal identity and self-esteem.

The Community Languages Program K-6 has grown dramatically in the 40 years since its establishment with student enrolments increasing from 4000 to 44 000. The number of teachers employed by the program has jumped from 37 full-time equivalent positions to 243. The number of available languages offered has risen from 8 to 30 over this time. The Community Languages K-6 Program currently offers a wide variety of languages in NSW public schools. Decisions about the inclusion of new languages are determined by community and school interest and teacher availability.

The Community Languages Program K-6 Guidelines outline the criteria to be met by schools in order to establish the program. The following criteria must be met in order to participate in the program:

  • The target language must be spoken within the local school community
  • The school must demonstrate community and staff support for the program
  • A qualified teacher of the community language must be appointed
  • The school must deliver a minimum of two hours of language teaching per group per week incorporated into the regular school timetable
  • Group sizes must be similar to normal class sizes within the school
  • The school must provide a dedicated classroom to enable the community languages teacher to develop a language learning environment and
  • Schools are responsible for completing an annual online survey.

The Community Languages Program K-6 is delivered by specialist languages teachers with approved NSW Department of Education teaching qualifications. Their role is to design and deliver teaching programs informed by the NSW K-10 language syllabuses and the K-10 languages framework.

Community Languages teachers are employed in addition to normal staffing requirements and should not be used in place of casual teachers or for creating smaller class sizes. Primary teachers who have both language teaching tertiary qualifications and approval to teach in NSW public schools, can be appointed as Community Languages teachers on a permanent basis.

Teachers can demonstrate language proficiency through the Community Language Teachers’ Test (CLTT). This test is available through The University of Sydney in 30 languages and is offered at least twice per year. Teachers with overseas teaching qualifications must also complete an Acceptable English Test in order to participate in the Community Languages Program K-6.

Schools interested in establishing and participating in the program are encouraged to explore the Community Languages K-6 Guidelines on the NSW Department of Education website. For further information, please contact the Languages K-6 team.

Languages K-6 curriculum support

(02) 7814 3762

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