English Teaching for International and EAL Students
Parkdale Secondary College’s Language Centre provides an Intensive English Language Course for newly arrived overseas students of various age and ability.
The Language Centre staff and services:
- Three EAL (English as an Additional Language) teachers who prepare the students to access the mainstream curriculum and general/academic English demands.
- An International Student Coordinator;
- A Homestay Coordinator is also provided for any assistance the students and host parents may require outside of school hours.
- Assistant principal to oversee all decisions made.
- A counselling service is available for students in their first language, who grapple with being way from home.
- Students in Language Centre complete English studies as well as Maths, Humanities and Health to best prepare them for mainstream studies.
- Teachers at the school who are fluent in Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese and French to support students and communications with families.
One of the many qualities that distinguish Parkdale from other English Language Centres is its initial Orientation Program which is supported by the teamwork of class teachers.
The Orientation Program is for a duration of 2 weeks at the commencement of the course and is repeated mid-year for new students. It equips students with survival skills in Australia both within and outside the school through many hands-on activities. Water, Fire and Road Safety are explicitly taught, excursions to the local area, around Victoria and to the Melbourne CBD are also offered for enjoyment and to familiarise students with their surroundings. Students are monitored closely in their English growth. A diagnostic test is administered on arrival and improvements are measured against this tool at the end of their 20-week program. Students who need more time in the language centre are able to access its support for longer. Those who are ready will move to a mainstream program with the local cohort of students.
The Language Centre staff aim to liaise and provide professional development support to mainstream teachers for overseas students’ smooth transition to regular classes with their local cohort - particularly, at VCE level. At VCE it is difficult for newly arrived overseas students to improve their English language levels quickly to keep up with the academic language demands. EAL trained specialists are able to support students communicate with their teachers, if necessary, with the overall aim for students and mainstream teachers to be independent in their working relationships.
We highly recommend that International students complete their Language Centre studies in Year 9 and move to Mainstream in Year 10. This allows a comprehensive development of both their English skills, but also time in the classroom to become familiar with the pace of an Australian classroom.
Parkdale Secondary College takes its responsibility for overseas students seriously and we are committed to the students’ wellbeing and welfare while studying in Australia. Each staff member has a culturally sensitive approach in dealing with students who live away from their families and home country. We consider our overseas students as a valued part of our College community.