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  • Semester 1Multi-mode
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  • Semester 1Online Unscheduled



Unit rationale, description and aim

Spoken language is fundamental to literacy. As recognised by the Australian Curriculum through its Interacting with others and Language for Interaction English strands and the speaking and listening elements of the literacy general capabilities, spoken language is crucial in learning to read, it is foundational to TESOL, it occurs throughout many multimodal texts engaged with across learning areas and it is used everyday in classroom discussion. Understanding how spoken language works is thus vital for literacy practitioners who wish to support reading, writing and oracy practices in school.

This unit focuses on the role of spoken language and how it contributes to written language learning – both reading and writing – and oracy through schooling. Students will develop their knowledge of the differences between spoken and written language, classroom talk and oracy across a wide range of literacy focuses. Students will apply these concepts to a range of teaching and learning contexts relevant to their situation, such as primary contexts, secondary contexts, TESOL, specific learning areas, multimodal literacy, or teacher talk.

 The aim of this unit is to support students in developing the requisite specialist knowledge in spoken language to support literacy and oracy teaching and learning across contexts.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Demonstrate an understanding of the nature of spoken language and its role in literacy and/or oracy across the curriculum (APST (HA) 2.1; APST (Lead) 1.2)GC1, GC2, GC7
LO2Show an understanding of the challenges that may be faced by students in relation to their oral language in the classroom (APST (HA) 1.3, 2.4)GC1, GC2, GC7
LO3Analyse and reflect upon the nature of teacher and student talk in the classroom and its role in supporting learning (APST (HA) 2.1; APST (Lead) 2.5)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC7
LO4Investigate, analyse and synthesise research related to theories and applications of spoken language (APST (HA) 1.3, 2.1; APST (Lead) 1.2)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC9
LO5Reflect critically on the role of spoken language in shaping literacy and oracy teaching and learning. (APST (HA)1.3H; APST (Lead) 3.6)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC7
LO6Apply a knowledge of spoken language into curriculum and classroom planning for learning in a context relevant to their practice. (APST (HA) 2.2,, 2.5, 3.2; APST (Lead) 2.3, 3.5, 3.6, 6.4)GC1, GC2, GC4, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC12


On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards: 

1.3 Students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds

Support colleagues to develop effective teaching strategies that address the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

2.1 Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area

Support colleagues using current and comprehensive knowledge of content and teaching strategies to develop and implement engaging learning and teaching programs.

2.2 Content selection and organisation

Exhibit innovative practice in the selection and organisation of content and delivery of learning and teaching programs.

2.3 Curriculum, assessment and reporting

Support colleagues to plan and implement learning and teaching programs using contemporary knowledge and understanding of curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements.

2.4 Understand and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to promote reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians

Support colleagues with providing opportunities to develop understanding of and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages

3.2 Plan, structure and sequence learning programs

Work with colleagues to plan, evaluate and modify learning and teaching programs to create productive learning environments that engage all students.


On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

1.2 Understand how students learn

Lead processes to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching programs using research and workplace knowledge about how students learn.

2.5 Literacy and numeracy strategies

Monitor and evaluate the implementation of teaching strategies within the school to improve students’ achievement in literacy and numeracy using research-based knowledge and student data.

3.5 Use effective classroom communication

Demonstrate and lead by example inclusive verbal and non-verbal communication using collaborative strategies and contextual knowledge to support students’ understanding, engagement and achievement.

6.4 Apply professional learning and improve student learning

Advocate, participate in and lead strategies to support high-quality professional learning opportunities for colleagues that focus on improved student learning.


This unit will comprise three compulsory modules and one elective module. In the compulsory modules, students will build their knowledge of spoken language in the classroom and across contexts in relation to its role in literacy/oracy teaching and learning. In the elective module, students will use their knowledge of spoken language from the core modules to research, interpret, analyse and synthesise policy and practices specific to a selected context.

Core Modules

  • Module 1. Oral language across contexts
  • Comparisons of spoken and written language in school
  • Spoken language and EALD students, including bilingualism, code-switching, and the phonology of English in comparison to other languages or dialects that may be spoken by EALD or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
  • Oral language across the curriculum


  • Module 2. Talking to Learn in the Classroom
  • Teacher talk for supporting literacy learning, including student nomination strategies
  • Student interaction
  • Metatalk and dialogic classrooms


  • Module 3. Oracy
  • Pedagogies for explicitly teaching oral language, listening and speaking.
  • Assessment for oral language, speaking and listening.


Elective Modules (Oracy, Spoken language and pedagogy):

  • Spoken English and primary years literacy and oracy
  • Spoken English and secondary years literacy and oracy
  • Spoken English in specific learning areas
  • Spoken English in TESOL
  • Spoken English in multimodal texts

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is offered in multi-mode and will be supported by a unit Learning Management System (LMS) site. Engagement for learning is the key driver in the delivery of this curriculum. The unit will facilitate active participation in pedagogical approaches that demonstrate alignment of teaching, learning and assessment.  

This is a 10 credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the teaching period, comprising directed tasks and self-study.

Mode of delivery: This unit will be offered in one or more of modes of delivery described below, chosen with the aim of providing flexible delivery of academic content.

  • On Campus: Most learning activities or classes are delivered at a scheduled time, on campus, to enable in-person interactions. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.
  • Intensive: In an intensive mode, students require face-to-face attendance on weekends or any block of time determined by the school. Students will have face-to-face interactions with lecturer(s) to further their achievement of the learning outcomes. This unit is structured with required upfront preparation before workshops. The online learning platforms used in this unit provide multiple forms of preparatory and practice opportunities for you students to prepare and revise. 
  • Multi-mode: Learning activities are delivered through a planned mix of online and in-person classes, which may include full-day sessions and/or placements, to enable interaction. Activities that require attendance will appear in a student’s timetable.
  • Online unscheduled: Learning activities are accessible anytime, anywhere. These units are normally delivered fully online and will not appear in a student’s timetable. 
  • Online scheduled: All learning activities are held online, at scheduled times, and will require some attendance to enable online interaction. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to successfully complete this unit, postgraduate students need to complete and submit two graded assessment tasks. The assessment strategy offers opportunities for students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills with spoken language across contexts and in the classroom in relation to literacy and oracy, and involves a gradual transition from more closed exercises to more open learner choice and application.

The first task (50%) is related to the core modules and requires students to demonstrate their understanding of issues associated with spoken language in a particular context of their choice. The second task (50%) is related to the chosen elective module where students apply knowledge of spoken language to their specific context and develop a plan for curriculum change. In order to pass this unit, students are required to successfully complete both assessment tasks and achieve an overall score of 50% or above.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1

Written Assignment (Core Module)

A discussion of issues associated with oral language in a particular classroom context. This will include an examination of the oral language demands of this classroom context, and oral language strategies for supporting student learning.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

Assessment Task 2

Written Assignment (Elective Module)

Apply an understanding of oral language to the development of pedagogy and assessment in a particular educational context, and develop a plan for curriculum change.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

Representative texts and references

Cox, R., Feez. S., & Beveridge, L. (Eds). (2019). The alphabetic principle and beyond: Surveying the landscape. Primary English Teaching Association Australia.

Edwards-Groves, C., & Davidson, C. (2017). Becoming a meaning maker. Primary English Teaching Association Australia.

Konza. D. (2014). Teaching reading: Why the ‘Fab five’ should be the ‘Big six’. Australian journal of teacher education (online). 153-169.

Jones, P., Simpson, A., & Thwaite, A. (Eds). (2018). Talking the talk: Snapshots from Australian classrooms. Primary English Teaching Association of Australia.

Jones, P., & Hammond, J. (2016). Talking to learn: Dialogic teaching in conversation with educational linguistics. Special Issue of Research Papers in Education. 31:1.

Jones, P., Matruglio. E., & Rose (2022). Investigating pedagogic discourse in late primary and junior secondary English. In P. Jones, E. Matruglio and C. Edwards-Groves (eds) Transition and Continuity in Literacy Development. London: Bloomsbury. 145-168.

Martin, J.R. (2006). Metadiscourse: Designing interaction in genre-based literacy programs. In R. Whittaker, M. O’Donnell and A. McCabe (Eds). Language and Literacy: Functional Approaches. London: Continuum. 95-122.

Martin, J.R., & Rose, D. (2006). Interacting with text: The role of dialogue in learning to read and write. Foreign Languages in China. 4:5. 66-80.

Parkin, B. (2023). Learning oral language: Learning through oral language. Primary English Teaching Association Australia Paper.

Snow. P., Graham, L., Mclean, E., & Serry, T. (2020). The oral language and reading comprehension skills of adolescents in flexible learning programs. International journal of speech-language pathology. Vol. 22 (4). 

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