AREA OF LEARNING AND EXPERIENCELanguages, Literacy and Communication

Guidance to help schools and settings develop their own curriculum, enabling learners to develop towards the four purposes.

3. Principles of progression

The descriptions of learning for Languages, Literacy and Communication Area of Learning and Experience (Area) are intended to reflect the pace and depth of learning in different contexts and have been developed based on a continuum or framework of progression in languages, starting with little or no language and working towards proficiency. Learners will have varying proficiencies in their languages and, to ensure a robust foundation for second and subsequent languages, early steps (such as grapheme-phoneme correspondence) are revisited in each language.

Descriptions of learning in this Area include a higher level of detail at early stages of learning than may be found in other areas of learning and experience. This reflects that these early literacy skills are foundations of effective learning across the curriculum.

The descriptions of learning for the ‘Languages connect us’ statement of what matters are the same for all learners in all schools. For the other statements of what matters in this Area, there are descriptions of learning for Welsh/English, for Welsh in English-medium settings/schools/streams and for international languages.

Increasing breadth and depth of knowledge

Progression in this Area is represented as a coherent continuum. The learner grows holistically in their understanding and purposeful use of languages, literacy and communication when listening and reading, when speaking and writing and when interacting and mediating in a wide range of contexts.

Learners develop an increasingly sophisticated understanding of linguistic concepts that support the more conscious and self-aware development of skills to communicate effectively through speech, writing, gestures, images or other media.

They also progress in their breadth and depth of conceptual knowledge by encountering ideas in languages and literature, initially in more personal and local contexts and moving as they progress to connect with more complex communications in a multilingual world. Learners thus acquire a gradually more nuanced understanding of different viewpoints and increasing command of the skills needed to interpret, evaluate, articulate and respond to differing perspectives.

Deepening understanding of the ideas and disciplines within Areas

Progression in this Area is a continuum of increasingly complex engagement with ideas and communicative purposes and of development of language awareness. These are demonstrated in:

  • responding to communications when listening, reading, or receiving language in other ways
  • producing them when speaking and writing or through other means of communication.

Drawing on a learner's whole linguistic repertoire – however uneven that may be – enables them to progress in all languages. Understanding linguistic concepts in the language of instruction, for example, can be applied to learning a new language, which facilitates progression in that language as well as improving understanding of the way in which their own languages work. While learners may be at different points of progression in different languages, a focus on plurilingualism allows them to call upon their knowledge of a number of languages to make sense of a spoken or written text, whatever their command of that language, and to increasingly understand and learn from the relationships between different languages.

Refinement and growing sophistication in the use and application of skills

Progression in the refinement and sophistication of skills moves from literal and simple communicative purpose to more abstract, inferred/implied and nuanced levels of meaning with more complex purposes. Learners gradually develop greater awareness of language and more sophistication in using this awareness to achieve intended purposes in interpreting and producing communications in speech or writing or through other means.

As learners experience, engage with, understand and apply increasingly complex ideas and language awareness, accuracy and fluency in using communication skills grow.

Progression in this Area is also seen in the production of language. As learners become more accomplished, they can adapt and manipulate language to communicate effectively to a range of different audiences. This allows learners to form and develop strong relationships and the confidence to use their voice in society.

Second language learners may use formulaic language with few mistakes initially and, as they progress and when being more ambitious and spontaneous in their use of language, they may appear to make more mistakes. This intrinsic part of successful language learning leads to becoming more fluent and accurate language users.

Making connections and transferring learning into new contexts

Progression in this Area has a significant inter-relationship with the learning in all other areas. The learner moves forward along the progression continuum partly through exposure to rich challenges and resources offered by other areas of learning and experience. The thinking needed to understand and to communicate all learning is closely related to that which enables learners to develop receptive, interpretive and expressive language skills. They progress in parallel in languages, literacy and communication in this Area and in disciplinary literacy in the other areas of learning and experience.

The ability to transfer existing knowledge and skills into new contexts is an integral part of progression in this Area. As learners develop an understanding of additional languages, patterns of language use are identified, adapted and applied in new contexts. Modes of communication are adapted for different audiences, and to different disciplinary contexts. Skills in learners’ first and second languages enable learning in subsequent languages. As learners progress, they will be able to make links within and between ways of communicating, making good choices about effective methods of communication.

Increasing effectiveness as a learner

As they move along the continuum of learning, learners will build on basic linguistic skills to develop a capability that enables them to overcome a range of communicative challenges successfully.

These include, for example:

  • asking increasingly sophisticated questions
  • finding information independently
  • making evaluative and critical judgements about the ideas and viewpoints and the means of communication in what they hear, read, and view
  • using language effectively to convey their own ideas and viewpoints on various topics.

They will develop the language skills necessary to discuss and evaluate their learning in languages.

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