Year 12 VCE EAL: An overview

Year 12 VCE EAL: An overview

This week, Insight writer and EAL teacher Niki Cook provides a general overview of the Year 12 VCE English as an Additional Language course.

The school year has started and you’ve already begun your Year 12 subjects. So, what will you be studying in Units 3 and 4 of English as an Additional Language (EAL)? The good news is that there shouldn’t be too many surprises – these Units have a very similar structure to what you studied in Units 1 and 2.

In this post, we will look at each section of the course and outline the assessment tasks for each Area of Study. We will also suggest a few strategies you can use to help achieve success.


Unit 3 (100 marks)

Unit 3 is worth 25 per cent of your overall VCE EAL mark.

Area of Study 1 – Reading and creating texts (40 marks)

In this Area of Study you will study two texts (one of these will also be used in Unit 4 Area of Study 1).

For the assessment task, you can choose to write an analytical or a creative response on one of the texts. In both cases, you need to show your understanding of the text. You should explore the way that the features of the text create meaning and develop your own interpretation of the text.

TIP: Read (or view) your texts multiple times so that you know them well.

TIP: Research the context in which your texts were created. When authors create texts, they often reflect or comment on the social, political and/or cultural situation at the time. Knowing this information will help you to understand your texts better.

TIP: Learn about the features of the type of text you are studying. Each text will have different language and structural features (for example, the features of a play differ from the features of a novel or a film). Writers use these to construct meaning and influence their audience.


Area of Study 2 – Analysing argument (10 + 30 marks)

In this Area of Study you will analyse and compare the use of argument and language in media texts.  You will read and view a range of texts – both written and visual – on issues that have appeared in the media since 1 September 2018.

In the assessment task, you will be asked to analyse and compare two or three texts. There are two parts to the assessment, but you will use the same texts for both. For the first part you will respond to short-answer questions about the texts you have studied. In the second part, you will produce a piece of writing that analyses and compares the use of argument and language in the texts.

TIP: Read (and view) a range of media texts regularly. This will help you understand the language and style of different media texts. It will also ensure you are aware of issues being discussed in the media.

TIP: Practise analysing texts. Start with shorter texts (such as letters to the editor) and build up to longer ones. Focus on identifying the contention, audience, tone, argument and language use in each.


Area of Study 3 – Listening to texts (20 marks)

In this Area of Study you will listen to a range of spoken texts and show that you understand them.

You will need to understand the literal meaning of the text – what is said – and the implied meaning – information that is expressed indirectly. To do this, you will have to pay attention to things such as tone, pace, volume and stress.

In addition to listening, note taking is an important skill in this Area of Study. You will need to listen to the text and make quick notes to help you answer the questions. Avoid writing down everything that is said – this is almost impossible, and you will end up with a lot of unnecessary information.

TIP: Listen – a lot! This might sound obvious, but it’s the best practice there is. Make sure that you listen to a variety of different interactions, such as conversations, interviews and radio broadcasts. You should also listen to a variety of voices, including male and female speakers and some of different ages.

TIP: Make a list of words to describe the nonverbal parts of speaking (paralinguistic features), such as tone, emotion, volume and the types of interaction between speakers.


Unit 4 (100 marks)

Unit 4 is also worth 25 per cent of your overall VCE EAL mark.

Area of Study 1 – Reading and comparing texts (60 marks)

In this Area of Study, you will compare two texts (one of these will be a text you studied in Unit 3). You will need to identify and discuss meaningful connections between the texts, focusing on the key ideas, issues and themes.

TIP: Use what you know about the text you studied in Unit 3 to identify points of comparison in the second text.

TIP: Make sure you focus on the ideas, issues and themes of the texts, rather than simply comparing characters.


Area of Study 2 – Presenting argument (10 + 30 marks)

For many students, this is the most feared part of the course – the dreaded ‘oral presentation’! For this task you need to present a point of view on an issue that has been in the media since 1 September 2018. Your presentation is worth 30 marks and should be three to five minutes long. You will also need to complete a statement of intention (300–500 words), which is worth 10 marks.

TIP: Clearly identify your audience and the purpose of the presentation. You need to know to whom you are speaking and what you are trying to persuade them to believe. This will then influence your language and argument choices.

TIP: Practise speaking whenever possible. Speaking in front of an audience can be scary, but good preparation can help build your confidence before the assessment. Take advantage of opportunities to practise speaking throughout the year – give a class presentation, volunteer answers in class or even present a speech at an assembly.

TIP: When writing your presentation, make sure that you incorporate spoken language conventions such as pausing, adding emphasis and using shorter, simpler sentences to help your audience understand your points.


A final point

It’s important to keep revising material regularly throughout the year. After you complete a SAC component and receive feedback, identify the things you need to improve on and include them in your revision. Don’t wait until the day before the exam to revise, or you’ll have too much work to do.

Good luck!


Need a comprehensive overview of the Year 12 EAL course? Purchase Insight’s EAL Year 12 2nd edition by Melanie Napthine and Michael E Daniel. This 2nd edition of the market-leading EAL Year 12 provides comprehensive coverage of the VCE English as an Additional Language course. The book includes tools, tips, models, word banks and cloze exercises to assist in progressively developing your writing skills, as well as your listening and comprehension abilities. 

EAL Year 12 2nd edition is produced by Insight Publications, an independent, Australian educational publisher.


Photo credit: alexkich/shutterstock

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