General capabilities covered in EAL/D include: Literacy, Numeracy, Information and communication technology (ICT) capability, Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social capability, Ethical understanding and Intercultural understanding.
Literacy is important in the development of the skills and strategies needed to express, interpret, and communicate complex information and ideas. In EAL/D literacy skills are developed in conjunction with language learning through a focus on comprehending and creating written, spoken, visual and digital texts or a combination of these, and using and modifying language for different purposes in a range of contexts. In EAL/D students apply, extend and refine their repertoire of literacy skills and practices by studying the use and impact of English in texts and contexts outside the classroom and in other subjects.
Students use numeracy in EAL/D when they practise and apply the skills of interpreting and analysing, comparing and contrasting, making connections, posing and proving arguments, making inferences and problem solving as they create and respond to a range of texts. For example, students use numeracy skills when they create and interpret sequences and spatial information in non-fiction texts or consider timing and sequence when developing photo stories. They draw conclusions from statistical information, interpret and use quantitative data as evidence in persuasive texts and evaluate the use of statistics in media and other reports.
There is a particular focus in EAL/D on ICT through the use of digital texts and on understanding and creating multimodal texts. For example, students explore the effects of sound and image as they consider how ideas are communicated in digital texts. They use digital technologies when they access, manage and use information and when creating their own texts. In EAL/D students use digital tools to create and respond to texts. They develop skills in reading, viewing and responding to digital and multimodal texts and create texts using different modes and mediums to practise and consolidate their English language skills.
Critical and creative thinking is integral to the study of and creation of texts in EAL/D. Students analyse and evaluate issues and ideas presented in texts. In both thinking about and creating their own texts, they recognise and develop arguments, use evidence and draw reasoned conclusions. Students experiment with text structures and language features as they transform and adapt texts for different purposes, contexts and audiences. Students use critical thinking when they use their knowledge of language to analyse a range of texts in relation to their purpose, context, audience, structural and language features, and underlying and unstated assumptions. They investigate the ways language is used to position individuals and social and cultural groups. Creative thinking enables students to apply imaginative and inventive capacities in the creation of their own original works.
Students develop personal and social capability in EAL/D by developing their communication skills, teamwork, and understanding of verbal and non-verbal modes of interaction. They develop empathy with and appreciation of the perspectives of others. The study of EAL/D helps students to understand and more effectively manage themselves and to understand different personal and social experiences, perspectives and challenges. Students identify and express their own opinions, beliefs and responses by interacting with a range of texts and social situations. EAL/D actively assists students with the development of communication skills needed for conversation, research, presentations, and the expression of viewpoints and arguments. Students work collaboratively in teams and also independently as part of their learning and research endeavours.
Ethical understanding is explored in EAL/D through the selection of texts for study, for example, when students engage with ethical dilemmas presented in texts, considering reasons for actions and implications of decisions. They examine and question values, attitudes, perspectives and assumptions in texts, comparing these with their own. Students develop greater empathy for the rights and opinions of others by interacting with and interrogating a range of texts and social situations. EAL/D assists students to develop the skills of visualising and predicting the consequences of certain behaviours and engaging in the exploration of rights and responsibilities. They develop increasingly advanced communication, research, and presentation skills to express considered viewpoints. They develop effective and ethical research strategies and research protocols.
In EAL/D, intercultural understanding encourages students to make connections between their own experiences and the experiences of others. Through the study of contemporary texts, texts from the past and texts from diverse cultures, students explore and analyse these connections. Students understand and can express the interdependence of language, culture, identity and values, particularly in the Australian context, and are able to appreciate and empathise with the cultural beliefs, attitudes and values of others. They study how cultural concepts, beliefs, practices and perspectives are represented in a range of textual forms and for a variety of purposes and audiences. They pay special attention to the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Asian cultures to literature and other media in Australia.