Lesson 1, Topic 2
In Progress

Curriculum Approach

Lesson Progress
0% Complete

Language learning in the HSPC is achieved through an integrated skills approach where English language learners are exposed to authentic language for real purposes, topics and themes of interest and relevance with reference to the mainstream. Students study English structure ensuring a focus on form within a meaningful context, as well as the language skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

This integrated approach extends into the Maths and Science disciplines. Maths and Science programs have been developed to extend from theory directly into application. Maths and Science develop the English language through an integrated approach working within relevant real-world tasks, laboratory experiments, laboratory reports and research tasks and problem solving.

The follow excerpts from literature underpin the HSPC curriculum.

“language is a social medium and any measurement of it outside of a social context tends to be at odds with increasing acceptance of social models of language within applied linguistics” (McNamara & Roever, 2006, p. 2)

Learning is about discovering how to align to the world, existing to support adaptive action and not to detach the world and internalise it. Learners do not compute, they discover value and meaning and cognize by doing (Atkinson, 2011)


One image for teaching English as a second or foreign language (ESL/EFL) is that of a tapestry. The tapestry is woven from many strands, such as the characteristics of the teacher, the learner, the setting, and the relevant languages (i.e., English and the native languages of the learners and the teacher). For the instructional loom to produce a large, strong, beautiful, colorful tapestry, all of these strands must be interwoven in positive ways. For example, the instructor’s teaching style must address the learning style of the learner, the learner must be motivated, and the setting must provide resources and values that strongly support the teaching of the language. However, if the strands are not woven together effectively, the instructional loom is likely to produce something small, weak, ragged, and pale–not recognizable as a tapestry at all.

In addition to the four strands mentioned above–teacher, learner, setting, and relevant languages–other important strands exist in the tapestry. In a practical sense, one of the most crucial of these strands consists of the four primary skills of listening, reading, speaking, and writing. This strand also includes associated or related skills such as knowledge of vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation, syntax, meaning, and usage. The skill strand of the tapestry leads to optimal ESL/EFL communication when the skills are interwoven during instruction. This is known as the integrated-skill approach (Oxford, 2001, pp. 1-2).

The theme-based model integrates the language skills into the study of a theme (e.g., urban violence, cross-cultural differences in marriage practices, natural wonders of the world, or a broad topic such as change). The theme must be very interesting to students and must allow a wide variety of language skills to be practiced, always in the service of communicating about the theme. This is the most useful and widespread form of content-based instruction today, and it is found in many innovative ESL and EFL textbooks (Oxford, 2001, p. 4)


As the HSPC is designed to prepare students for entry to study in an Australian high school, a key element in the design is the explicit link to the mainstream curriculum. This is seen not only in the themes and topics around which tasks are based but the design of the tasks themselves, the text types utilized and the approach to assessment.

The Maths and Science programs have been designed with a scaffolding and model approach from Levels One through to Five. Each level builds to the next and the student develops skills as they progress through a wide range of topics.

Maths and Science language is developmental and progressive in increasing sophistication and complexity in the learning outcomes. The language which includes the cognitive verbs (McCabe, 2018) is developed as a continuum rather than existing as a discrete entity. 

Students need a place and a purpose for communication, so many of the HSPC activities incorporate involvement in the school community (such as Headmasters assembly, working with mainstream texts, co-curricular activities) and the local community.