Transcript of Community Languages Program K-6 webinar

Community Languages Program K-6 webinar video (35:41)

Konnie Zagrimanis:

Good afternoon and welcome to the webinar for the Community Languages Program K-6. My name is Konnie Zagrimanis and I am the Primary Languages Advisor. Together with Stephen Nogher, Primary Languages Officer, I will be taking you through an informative tutorial on the program. As we begin, Stephen will give an Acknowledgment of Country.

Stephen Nogher:

I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of all the lands that we're meeting on today. I'm speaking from Bidjigal Country and I would like to pay my respects to Elders past, present and future and extend that respect to any Aboriginal people present today.

At this point, we'll look at some housekeeping notes. Firstly this meeting is being recorded and it will be made available soon for those people who weren't able to make it today. During the webinar, we will use both the chat and the Q&A.

So if you haven't already done so, please write your name and school into the chat. You can find the chat on the... through the speech bubble, the single speech bubble at the bottom of your screen. If you have a question during the webinar, put it into the Q&A by clicking on the double speech bubble. If we don't answer it during the webinar, we will respond as soon as we can after the webinar is finished. At the moment, Konnie and I will turn our cameras off just to avoid any bandwidth issues but we're going to continue.

Konnie Zagrimanis:

Thank you, Stephen. So there are two parts of today's webinar. In the first part, we will outline the history of the Community Languages Program K-6 and we will look at the guidelines and what they mean for schools, supervisors and teachers.

In the second part of today's webinar, we will look at each step in completing the annual languages surveys. The Community Languages Program K-6 guidelines have been sent to you through the chat and I encourage everyone to read them and save a copy for future reference.

To start us off, we will watch a short clip explaining the Community Languages Program K-6.

[upbeat music]


The Community Languages Program K-6 has been operating during school hours in NSW public schools since 1981. The program aims... [video pauses]

[video continues] 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 the multiculturalism, interculturalism 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 the 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 Program K-6 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 or secondary 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 Languages 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.

[upbeat music]

Stephen Nogher:

So please take a moment just to reflect and respond to the video. Is there anything you learned from the clip? Anything surprising? Anything concerning? If you would like to, put any questions you have into the Q&A or your observations into the chat. You can also follow up with us at a later point through the contact details we will share in the final slide.

Konnie Zagrimanis:

The Community Languages Program guidelines provide information on:

· objectives of the program

· diversity of learners

· requirements for teachers

· considerations for supervisors

· suggested timetables and group structure

· dedicated language classroom

· community involvement

There are a number of staffing considerations that both teachers and supervisors of the Community Languages Program should be aware of. Firstly, the allocations can change over time. The reasons for this include fluctuating numbers of background speakers and the availability of qualified teachers. This can be an issue, particularly for emerging languages. If one teacher leaves but cannot be replaced this means... this may leave the school with an unfilled vacancy which could lead to the allocation being redirected.

The second point to emphasise is that teachers are appointed to schools and not to the program. If you are a teacher you will need to ensure you build appropriate skills to offer the school in the event of changing demographics and reduced allocations. Through the PDP process, you can formalise a plan for building skills in areas such as classroom teaching or as an EAL/D specialist. Likewise, principals and supervisors will need to consider building the capacity of the community languages teachers so that the school is prepared in the event of reduced allocations.

Thirdly, the Community Languages Teachers' Test is a language proficiency test developed and administered by Sydney University on behalf of the department. Current community languages teachers seeking a permanent position will need to sit the Community Languages Teachers' Test. unless they have additional tertiary qualifications in the language. Information on registering for the Community Languages Teachers' Test will be shared in the chat.

And lastly, there are multiple means for communicating available positions including SchoolBiz. In addition, the K-6 languages team can support schools in finding language teachers by sharing role information through Yammer, the Languages NSW blog and the language's Statewide Staffroom. If you know a teacher is leaving, please contact the K-6 languages team as soon as possible to ensure the allocation is not left unfilled.

Stephen Nogher:

The practical implementation of the program is often a source of inquiry from school executive. Let's have a look at a few common models for incorporating community languages into the school timetable.

The first model proposes that whole classes learn the language for two hours per week. The positives of this model include that all students learn a language for a significant time which allows for the development of strong language skills through continuity. The two hours also fits neatly into the class time that teachers get for RFF.

Some challenges associated with this model are that it can require significant differentiation between the learn... of learning between background and non-background speakers. While this may pose a challenge to teaching and learning programs, differentiation of learning is supported by the K-10 syllabuses which include examples to cater for the different levels of learner. In terms of timetabling this model, it's suggested that languages is the only option for RFF.

The second model is that whole classes are taught for one hour at a time while class-size groups of background speakers are withdrawn from the class for an additional hour of language teaching. While this model is beneficial in terms of the fact that it allows every student to learn a language, it can pose challenges due to the fact that students are being withdrawn from other classes and therefore would need to catch up on the learning they miss through other avenues.

In the third model, only background speakers in class-size groups are taught the community language. Just like the second model, challenges can arise from withdrawing students from class. This model is favourable in terms of ability grouping as lower rates of differentiation might be needed.

Please note that for options two and three, as mentioned in the video, when the language teacher is not teaching the whole class, the groups should be as close in number to normal class sizes in the school.

Konnie Zagrimanis:

An ongoing issue that we have come across in regards to the implementation of the Community Languages Program is that supervisors do not always understand the requirements of the program, how to use the languages syllabuses and the different language teaching pedagogies. A link to the language syllabuses has been pasted into the chat. A few schools have addressed this by appointing a language teacher as an Assistant Principal to supervise the language teachers in the school. This is really only an option for larger schools that would have four or more language teachers.

For smaller schools, supervisors should ensure they develop an understanding of the program syllabus and pedagogy. Language teachers need specific support to develop and meet PDP goals. There should be a consideration of whether whole school and stage goals apply. For example, whole-school focus on formative assessment specifically to the language teacher. How is the community languages teacher included and supported in this?

They also need to achieve professional learning goals. Teachers should be informed about and encouraged to participate in professional learning. They can find this information through Yammer and the NSW Modern Language Teachers Association who also offer regular professional learning.

In addition to this, language teachers need support in delivering their teaching and learning programs. Teachers should be supported through observations, constructive feedback and open and reflective communication about pedagogical needs.

And lastly, ensuring that languages teachers are meeting syllabus requirements. Supervisors need to be informed about language syllabuses as well as the guidelines of the program. We will now watch a short video that will explain the languages syllabuses to you.

[upbeat music]


The NSW Languages K-10 Syllabuses were developed by the NSW Education Standards Authority, NESA. The development of these languages syllabuses was guided by three key documents: The Languages K-10 Framework, the Australian Curriculum document for each specific language and the previous NSW Language Syllabuses.

Languages are dynamic and our knowledge about how students learn a language is always developing. The Languages K-10 Syllabuses present a holistic view of language learning and explore deeply the role of language and culture in society. There were a number of important changes made to the languages syllabuses These include the addition of two strands: communicating and understanding.

Objectives sit below these strands. These objectives include interacting, accessing and responding and composing which sit under the communicating strand. Systems of language and the role of language and culture which sit under the understanding strand.

Outcome codes help teachers better identify the language, stage, outcome number and strand of a particular syllabus outcome. In the course content of each syllabus, a section titled 'Content for students with prior learning and or experience' is also included.

The K-10 languages syllabuses can be accessed via the NESA website under the heading 'Kindergarten to Year 10' > 'Learning areas' > 'Languages'. Scrolling down the page, you will see the syllabus for each language presented under the heading 'Board developed courses'. The syllabuses are presented on the right-hand side of the page next to a course description. As an example, we will explore the Indonesian K-10 syllabus by selecting 'Go to syllabus'.

Scrolling down the page, you will find the various sections of the syllabus. It is important that teachers take the time to familiarise themselves with these sections. You can also download a copy of the syllabus as a PDF or Word document if you prefer. We will spend some time exploring the course content section of the Indonesian K-10 Syllabus. We will look at Stage 2 > Communicating Interacting.

At the top of the page, you will notice the strand, communicating, and the objective, interacting, are clearly defined. Listed below this heading are the outcomes which are mandated by NESA. Derived from the syllabus objectives, these outcomes act as key reference points for decisions about student learning, progress and achievement. These outcomes also indicate the knowledge, understanding and skills that are expected to be developed by most students by the end of a stage.

This particular course content has only one outcome: Interacts with others to share information and participate in classroom activities in Indonesian. The outcome code is also listed to the right of the outcome. Below the outcomes, you will find content dot points and dash points related to each outcome. These content dot points describe the intended learning appropriate for the selected stage.

The content dash points below provide suggested teaching and learning opportunities that might be used in the classroom to develop the knowledge understanding and skills of the curriculum area. It is important to note that schools have flexibility to make decisions about these content dash points, including the selection of content and any adjustments that might be required.

Scrolling down, you will see a section of course content titled 'Content for students with prior learning and or experience'. This section allows teachers to more effectively differentiate their teaching and learning experiences to meet the needs of students who already have some familiarity with the language.

At the bottom of each course content page, you will also find a selection of support materials including samples scope and sequences. These resources can vary between languages so teachers are encouraged to explore resources from other languages and adapt for their own purposes.

The Early Stage 1 to Stage 3 languages page on the NSW Department of Education website contains additional support materials for languages teachers including units of work, programming resources and scope and sequences. If you require additional information about the Languages K-10 syllabuses, please contact the languages curriculum support team.

[upbeat music]

Stephen Nogher:

Hopefully that video gave you some insightful tips on how to read and implement the languages syllabuses. If you would like to watch or re-watch the video or share it with colleagues a link to the video has been posted in the chat.

We'll now turn our attention to the community languages survey and we'll spend the rest of this session focusing on the survey. The Community Languages Survey 2021 runs from May 10 to May 21 which is Weeks 4 and 5, starting next week. It can only be completed in school through the data collections website and some sections need to be completed by teachers and others by supervisors.

Any request to change an allocation must be made by the principal. A SchoolBiz article notifying schools about the survey came out last week and that will support schools in completing the survey. You can also find detailed instructions on completing the survey on the data collections website. The article and instructions have been shared with you in the chat.

From this year, schools in the Bilingual Schools Program will also complete the CLP survey. So we would like to welcome our colleagues from the bilingual schools who are with us here today. So to complete the survey teachers will need their timetables, class lists and information about professional learning. You can find records of your professional learning on MyPL and on your NESA eTAMS page. On the topic of professional learning, it's worth pointing out that a number of changes to professional learning were announced by NESA at the end of 2020.

PL will no longer be categorised as registered or teacher identified. The new labels are accredited and elective. Details about this new PL system and how teacher accreditation will be impacted, are expected from NESA in the middle of this year. If your maintenance of accreditation is due in the coming months please, seek advice from your supervisor.

Konnie Zagrimanis:

Thank you, Stephen. Each May schools must complete a languages survey. The survey is completed through the data collection website which is also used for EAL/D and LBOTE surveys. The principal or school administration manager will give you access to the survey with your school's unique password. All primary schools must complete a languages survey.

If the school is not a Community Languages School or one of the four schools in the Bilingual Schools Program, they complete the other primary languages survey which is PLOTE that is Primary Languages Other Than English survey. If no language at all is taught, they still complete this survey with a nil response.

Schools that offer both community languages and PLOTE complete both surveys. The community languages survey is more detailed than the PLOTE survey and asks for information that shows schools are meeting The Community Languages Program Guidelines. We will walk you through now on how to complete the survey.

For most schools, there are five steps though some schools have the six (steps) you can see on the screen. We will look at the screenshots from each step. The school background information tab includes details of the total Community Languages Program allocations, the total enrolments at the school and information from the LBOTE survey which is held prior to the Community Languages Program survey. This LBOTE information is considered when redistributing allocations.

Stephen Nogher:

The program summary page has detailed instructions for each teacher to complete including how to update teacher details and upload timetables. The sections teachers need to complete on this page are; their name, languages taught (FTE or full-time equivalent) allocation taught and if they have a dedicated classroom. They then click on both teacher details and groups taught.

If your school currently has an unfilled vacancy you will not be able to continue in the survey. If this is the case, please contact the Languages Advisor, Konnie (Konstantia Zagrimanis) or Languages Officer, myself (Stephen Nogher).

It is important that schools do not add false information to make the sign-off easier. All teachers involved in the program need to complete the teacher details page. Teachers are required to provide details about their language teaching qualifications and professional learning.

Konnie Zagrimanis:

As you can see, this image shows the load of a full-time community languages teacher. The teacher teaches 11 full classes for 2 hours per week and a small group for an additional hour making a total of 23 language teaching hours per week. Full-time teachers must teach language for a minimum of 20 hours per week and have two hours RFF.

The remaining time can be used to support background students in-class or attend assemblies or sport etcetera. Schools can change the name of each group to reflect the names of classes if they choose. The table shown on your screen is from the Community Languages Program Guideline and not the survey. It shows how teaching time should be allocated. Basically, at least 80% of community languages teachers' teaching time must be dedicated to face-to-face language teaching.

Stephen Nogher:

Step 3 reflects a recent change. In 2021, schools that have a new or increased allocation will have to outline their expenditure of a resource allocation grant. Each new or increased 1.0 full-time equivalent allocation is given a grant of $1000 to spend on resources.

While a school with an increase of 0.2 FTE will receive a grant of $200 to support the program. This grant is paid as a budget adjustment usually in Term 4 after the following year's allocations have been confirmed. Until this year, this information was sent to the department shortly after the survey was completed.

Only schools that have a new or increased allocation in 2021 will be able to access this step, which will need to be completed before the survey is finalised.

Konnie Zagrimanis:

Step 4 is optional. Request to vary allocation. If your school would like to increase, reduce or add a new allocation, it must be done by the principal through this section of the survey. Phone calls and emails may support your application but they won't be taken into consideration if it's not done through this section.

Please note, that this school has asked for two increased allocations in Chinese and Korean. It has also requested two new allocations for Urdu and Hindi. Incidentally, Urdu is one of a number of languages with a growing population of students that have very few available teachers who are suitably qualified.

These languages also include Assyrian and Nepali. The Community Languages Program has a fixed number of allocations. Only 243.8 FTE teachers can teach in the program at any one time. Any new or extended allocation needs a school to give up or have an allocation removed.

There are many more requests for a new or extended allocation than for a reduced allocation. Which means that most requests are unfortunately unsuccessful. In saying that, if your school meets the criteria for a new or increased allocation you are encouraged to apply through this section.

Step 5 is the sign off this. This can be completed by the Community Languages Program supervisor, however, there is a declaration to confirm that the principal has cited the data submitted and approves any request to vary allocation.

If the survey does not allow the school to sign off, the supervisor is advised to contact the languages advisor or officer. After this point, the final step is step six, to continue to the PLOTE survey. Instructions on completing the PLOTE survey have also been posted into the chat.

Thank you very much for joining us today for today's webinar. We hope that this short presentation provided you with some useful insight into the program and some informative ideas about how it might be implemented at your school.

Our contact details are on the screen if you require support, guidance or assistance. Thank you also for your questions and your participation in the Q&A. We will respond to your questions in the coming days. Before you go, whether you are watching live or later through the recording, we would like to ask you to complete a short evaluation survey of this webinar. You can access it by clicking on the QR code on the next slide.

Stephen Nogher:

Actually, Konnie before we move on there was one question I think we can answer from the Q&A. And the question was regarding temp (temporary) teachers filling some unfilled vacancies. So, yes, please put that information into the survey. So, obviously, that temp teacher is teaching language. If there are any notes around that, that the school would like to there is a 'notes' section as well near the sign-off screen which we probably should have pointed out in our presentation.

But yes, any information that you would like to add, please use that 'notes' section at the sign-off screen as well. So I hope that did answer the question and if not please chase up with us after and thank you very much again and we'll move on to the survey, the evaluation.

Konnie Zagrimanis:

Yes, please.

Stephen Nogher:

So our next question in the Q&A is about the Arabic test so that's the Community Languages Teachers' Test. So for those people that are still on the call, the Community Languages Teachers' Test is held each year in June and December and the question was specifically about Arabic so...selected languages are chosen based on demand for each of those sessions and… but Arabic is one of those languages which is usually offered each time so possibly June, most likely June.

To scan the QR code you can, if you've got an iPhone you can just use your camera but if you don't have an iPhone, unfortunately, you will need a QR reader which you can get as an app. If you're not able to access it now maybe you can come back to the recording a little bit later. Or yeah and we might... we'll send a Google link with all of the links probably in a Yammer follow-up post tomorrow.

Konnie Zagrimanis:

Yeah, we have another question. If you are a secondary trained teacher and you have passed the language test, are you able to apply for the permanent position of language teacher in a primary school? Unless you have primary teaching qualifications, you are unable to work in a primary school without supervision.

Stephen Nogher:

It depends on the units that you've studied at university.

Konnie Zagrimanis:

So your best of either contacting staffing who would be able to provide you with more detailed and more accurate information but you do definitely need to have primary teaching qualifications to be able to teach in a NSW primary school.

The link to the QR code is pasted in the chat for those who can't access it via your iPhones. Just click on the hyperlink that's there, on the link that's provided in the chat.

Stephen Nogher:

And once again thank you very much for joining us this afternoon for this session about the Community Languages Program. We will hopefully see you very, very soon.

[End of transcript]

Return to top of page Back to top