People learn a language by using it often with others and by reflecting on its use. This process is enhanced when learners are encouraged and supported in their efforts to communicate. It is further enhanced when learners take part in discussions about the structures of language and how they work together to communicate in meaningful ways. People learn to speak and write in a language at different rates and in different ways.
Some groups and individuals require special assistance to learn English and to learn to use it critically in the Australian context. These include learners:
- for whom the first language is not English, or for those whose parents' first language is not English
- whose first language is a variety of English different from spoken Australian English
- who identify with groups who do not perceive themselves to be highly valued in their local communities or in the wider society
- who have a sensory, intellectual, social, emotional or physical impairment or a particular talent.
[Source: Queensland English Syllabus for Years 1 to 10
Dept of Education, Queensland, 1994]