Esl developmental Continuum s stages s stages

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ESL Developmental Continuum – S Stages

S Stages

Stage SL – Speaking and listening


Standards and progression profiles

SL beginning


Students beginning to work towards the standard at SL have very little or no oral English. They do not respond meaningfully to English. They will join in activities, watching and copying what other students do in the classroom but may not speak. They may spontaneously repeat words or phrases without understanding their meaning. They will probably not speak in the classroom except to same language peers.

SL progressing towards


Students progressing towards the standard at SL are settling into situations where English is the dominant language. They begin to understand that communication with teachers and peers needs to be conducted in English rather than a reliance on their own language. They begin to learn the basic oral English required to manage learning in an English-speaking classroom, primarily through words or formulaic expressions, rather than grammatically complete patterns. They have begun to understand that different forms of language are used in different situations and contexts, including an awareness of changes to word stress, intonation and rhythm. They have also begun to recognise the importance of non-verbal communication.

SL Standard


At Stage SL, students communicate simply but effectively in English in a limited range of familiar social and classroom contexts. They communicate using formulaic language, short, simple and well-rehearsed grammatical features and adaptations of their limited English repertoire. They use stress and intonation appropriately in some familiar interactions and can imitate models with some accuracy. They understand common instructions and questions, and simple descriptions and explanations when strongly supported in familiar contexts. They understand and use basic subject–verb–object grammatical patterns, common regular and irregular verbs, and basic prepositions and connectives. They use their limited repertoire with varying accuracy to ask and respond to questions in predictable and familiar contexts, express simple ideas and preferences and provide simple explanations and descriptions. They use some basic strategies to initiate and sustain simple conversations in English, repeating and re-pronouncing as necessary.

Indicators of progress

Indicators of progress in the Speaking and Listening dimension are organised into four aspects:

  • Texts and responses to texts focuses on producing and responding to oral English texts used for social interaction and in the school context across the curriculum.

  • Cultural conventions of language use focuses on understanding and using spoken English in a variety of contexts and identifying how different contexts affect the way spoken English is used and interpreted.

  • Linguistic structures and features focuses on control over the structures and features of spoken English.

  • Maintaining and negotiating communication focuses on the strategies students at this stage typically use to speak in and learn English

Stage SL: Texts and responses to texts

At the end of Stage SL, students can routinely use spoken English to do the following things:


  • identify basic single pieces of information from a short spoken text, e.g. colours, numbers, names of animals etc.

  • comprehend some familiar questions spoken at normal rate (concerning self, family etc.) in a two-way conversation when the conversation partner uses slow and deliberate speech, and simple phrasing, repetition and paraphrasing

  • show understanding of some frequently-occurring English words, phrases, greetings, simple sentences, simple instructions

  • attend for short periods to simple oral tasks and classroom activities with visual support, e.g. pictures

  • show personal non-verbal response to oral narratives and recounts, e.g. smile, nod


  • answer simple questions about self and school

  • use formulaic phrases to communicate, e.g. ‘My name is _____’.

  • participate in familiar situations and learning activities, e.g. make simple statements about what they are doing and ask and answer simple questions about the activity

  • use word stress, rhythm and intonation to deliver information about familiar topics

  • communicate most routine social and school needs
  • link people/objects/places/actions to spoken vocabulary.

Stage SL: Cultural conventions of language use

At the end of Stage SL, students’ understanding of the contexts and purposes of spoken texts is shown when they:


  • distinguish spoken English from other languages and attempt to respond in English

  • listen to and take note of teacher’s use of English social courtesies

  • show listening behaviour, e.g. attend, concentrate, look at speaker, watch others


  • engage in routine interactions using language appropriate for the context and the participants

  • use simple polite expressions appropriately, e.g. please, thank you

  • greet and respond to greetings using familiar formulaic expressions to do so, e.g. How are you today? Good thanks

  • ask questions to clarify notions such as colour, place or time

  • communicate appropriately, i.e. recognise that certain words, gestures and intonation patterns are suitable for classroom contexts

  • use appropriate classroom language behaviour, e.g. take turns, use appropriate voice volume, raise hand in a group.

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