English focuses on the development of confident and effective language use by students, the enjoyment and critical understanding of literature, and many aspects of our cultural heritage. This key learning area also plays a key role in the development of those basic literacy skills that are fundamental to learning in other key learning areas and which enable students to participate actively in modern society.
Literacy is a social practice that uses language for thinking and making meaning in cultures. It includes reading and writing, speaking and listening, viewing and shaping, often in combination in multimodal texts within a range of contexts. Critical thinking is also involved in these practices. In learning literacy students seek and critically appraise information, make choices and use their literacy skills to become independent learners. They develop critical literacy by questioning the cultural, social and political practices embedded in spoken, written, visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and multimodal texts. Students learn the relationship between the contexts and the audiences of those texts. Students begin to understand that literacy influences how people view themselves, their identities and their environments as well as providing ways to represent these views.