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Course planning

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Last updated by Breda Matthews

Hi everyone

      In the last week Katie asked for advice on preparing students for unit standards assessment in particular unit standard 30984 Demonstrate understanding of simple spoken instructions in everyday situations (EL). Thank you to all those who replied.


The questions digs into the principles that underlie of course planning. Julie’s response is embedded in the idea that what you teach should be guided by student’s learning needs. In this case Julie suggests that following classroom instructions, giving and following directions and safety instructions are all areas of learner need. Establishing what students need to learn will only then lead naturally into assessing how well they have learnt the new language skills and content. It is at that point that teachers need to think about how best to assess that learning. School systems can sometimes press us into identifying the standards we are going to assess early in the year, senior managers may want a list of standards! However, in the ideal world we should be waiting to determine what our students need before choosing standards.



The 2020 Pacific Language Week dates have been announced. Please mark your diaries with these dates:

  • Samoa, Sunday 24 May - Saturday 30 May

  • Cook Islands, Sunday 2 August - Saturday 8 August

  • Tonga, Sunday 6 September - Saturday 12 September

  • Tuvalu, Sunday 27 September - Saturday 3 October

  • Fijian, Sunday 4 October - Saturday 10 October

  • Niue, Sunday 18 October - Saturday 24 October

  • Tokelau, Sunday 25 October - Saturday 31 October


On other communities

Secondary Literacy Online shared several interesting links including supporting students with Autism Spectrum Disorder - one of the talks linked to the question - How do you value uniqueness and diversity in your classroom.


This community also discussed reading strategies and shared Summarising, Synthesising & Determining Importance


English Online discussed equity of experience and level of challenge that students get in lower decile vs higher decile schools. This is an area of interest to ESOL teachers, not in the context of school decile, but in making sure that teachers present students with language accessible but cognitively demanding tasks. Many of you will be familiar with Cummins’ writing on this topic. Well worth reviewing as we get further into course planning.

Primary ESOL Online shared the Ministry of Pacific Peoples Yavu – Foundations of Pacific Engagement resource reflects a sea change in the way we work with Pacific communities on policies and initiatives that impact them; shifting away from a ‘consultative’ approach to a meaningful and relevant engagement process. It has several downloadable resources which schools may find helpful when thinking about connecting with their Pasifika communities.

Have great week


Breda Matthews

Facilitator: Secondary ESOL community 


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