Approaches to Languages Education

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

The following types of language program are provided in Victorian schools:

  • languages taught as a separate subject programs
  • Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) programs
  • bilingual programs.

A cultural awareness program that teaches limited vocabulary and language structures and is delivered by a teacher who does not have formal language qualifications is not considered a Languages program.

A school’s approach to languages education will need to ensure pedagogy, curriculum, assessment and reporting are appropriate to the type of program to be provided.

Decisions about the type of program to be provided will be determined by factors such as:

  • the purpose of the languages program
  • availability of qualified languages teachers and their particular skills and pedagogical preferences
  • professional development available to support particular approaches
  • the timelines required to implement particular approaches
  • whether the school will provide a program on its own or work in a cluster
  • the availability of technology including video conferencing facilities to support the program
  • the availability of other resources including assistants to support the program. 

Languages taught as a separate subject

Traditionally languages are taught as a separate subject, particularly in secondary schools. Most Languages programs delivered in Victorian government schools are taught as a separate subject.  These programs focus on the teaching and learning of the target language and understanding the connections between language and culture.

Best practice in these programs involves working with mainstream class teachers to find content for language teaching which is meaningful and age appropriate for students. Teachers in these programs ideally work with classroom and subject teachers to determine and plan the topics to be taught.

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)

CLIL programs combine teaching content from a curriculum area with explicit teaching of the target language. There is a focus on the vocabulary and structures required for the additional curriculum area. Content may include all or part of one or more curriculum areas. 

For further information, see: Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)

Bilingual education

Bilingual education programs in Victorian government schools are partial immersion programs which include teaching at least two learning areas in the target language, in addition to the language.  They provide students with the opportunity to learn curriculum content in, and through, both English and another language, in a balanced way.

For further information, see: Bilingual education and programs

Related pages

Pedagogy - information about pedagogical approaches to languages teaching, including blended learning, and the use of video conferencing for delivery of languages programs across distance.

Curriculum, assessment and reporting - information about languages curriculum, assessment and reporting.

Video conferencing - digital stories from schools using video conferencing to deliver or enhance languages programs.

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) - further information about the CLIL approach including case studies from a trial in six Victorian schools.

Bilingual education and programs - information about bilingual education and programs in Victorian government schools.