2.28 Languages

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Policy 2.28



The purpose of this Languages policy is to inform schools of what is required to offer a Language program to achieve the standards as outlined in the Victorian Curriculum: Languages F-10.

Catholic Education Melbourne recognises the unique potential that Languages education offers learners to value diverse peoples’ languages and cultures. It does this by encouraging:

  • dialogue and encounter with the ‘other’ and self
  • intercultural, interfaith dialogue so as to foster a peaceful society
  • an openness to diverse views and beliefs in a globally connected world.

Languages are an essential part of the curriculum. While the importance of learning English as a language is clear, so too is the need to maintain and build knowledge of home languages or a second language. Both English and additional languages are equally important to learn. As the Victorian Curriculum F–10 expresses it:

Learning languages in addition to English extends students’ literacy repertoires and their capacity to communicate. It strengthens students’ understanding of the nature of language, culture, and the processes of communication (Victorian Curriculum F–10).  

Languages education builds transferable skills essential to contribute to a positive future, including the ability to communicate effectively and appropriately with people from other cultures or countries; comprehend other people’s thoughts, beliefs and feelings, and see the world from their perspectives.

Languages education in Victorian Catholic schools is supported by the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd (CECV) Languages – Now We're Talking! Strategy (2020). This strategy outlines the long-term vision for provision of quality Languages programs in Catholic schools across Victoria.

Legislative Requirements for Languages Education

All Catholic primary and secondary schools are required to address the eight learning areas in the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic), which includes offering a Languages program. The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) Guidelines to the minimum standards and other requirements for the registration of schools indicate that schools need to substantially address all learning areas, which includes Languages. In Languages education schools must accurately access and report to the approved curriculum, the Victorian Curriculum F–10: Languages, from Foundation to Year 10.

Languages program

A languages program focuses on language acquisition. Cultural programs – where language is not taught or is not the focus of the program – are not considered to be languages programs. Language, culture and identity are understood to be closely interrelated and involved in the shaping and expression of each other.

Guiding Principles

Success in today’s globalised environment means that young people must be versatile learners who develop and apply a range of capabilities associated with working, communicating and collaborating with others across the world. These capabilities include not only new knowledge and skills, but also new literacies, dispositions and cultural awareness (Horizons of Hope: Vision and Context 2016, p. 3).

The provision of languages learning and teaching in Catholic schools is guided by the following principles:

  • High expectations – All students can learn.
  • Purpose – Students should use the language daily in an authentic context.
  • Assessment and reporting – Students need to understand their progression.
  • Diversity – All languages are valuable.
  • Literacy – Languages learning extends students’ literacy repertoires.

In planning a high-quality program, schools are encouraged to consider these program elements:

  1. Supportive program conditions – School leaders and teachers can create the conditions for success by ensuring frequent and ongoing opportunities are available for students to communicate in the target language throughout the school day.
  2. Academic rigour and achievement – Language programs should set high expectations and use the target language to communicate in and out of the classroom. Language learning can benefit all students. Evidence suggests that bilingualism correlates with increased cognitive development and higher academic achievement.
  3. Language choice –During their school years, every student should be encouraged and offered the opportunity to learn a language in addition to English from Foundation to Year 10. The ability to communicate in two or more languages develops a deeper understanding of systems of language, metalinguistic awareness and common literacies.
  4. Resourcing of Languages – Languages, as a key learning area, should be planned for and adequately resourced. Schools should allocate sufficient time and frequency of exposure to language teaching to develop students' linguistic competence in accordance with the Victorian Curriculum Achievement Standards.
  5. Integrated learning approach – The study of languages should reflect whole-school priorities embedded within the school culture, the organisational structure and the curriculum, with consideration for the cultural and linguistic heritage of students. The school’s Languages learning environment must be real-world, purposeful and relevant.
  6. Assessment in Languages – The Victorian Curriculum: Languages recognises the sequential nature of language acquisition, with clearly defined outcomes appropriately communicated to students and parents in all schools from Foundation to Year 10. Leaders and teachers need to undertake regular monitoring of student growth to enable progression, assessment practices and data collection to be evidence-informed and to meaningfully report on students' language learning.
  7. Transformative ways of learning– Where appropriate, effective languages programs will use new technologies to engage students in real-world language use within and beyond the classroom.

Catholic Education Melbourne December 2017


Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd (CECV) 2020, Languages – Now We're Talking! F–12 Strategy for Victorian Catholic Schools.

Catholic Education Melbourne 2016, Horizons of Hope: An Education Framework for the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) 2016, Victorian Curriculum F–10: Languages.


American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), What does research show about the benefits of language learning?.

The Benefits of Second Language Study.

CECV Guidelines for Quality Languages Education (2019).

CLIL – Research and Evaluation of the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Approach to Teaching and Learning Languages in Victorian Schools (R Cross & M Gearon, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, Parkville, 2013).

Learning from High-performing Jurisdictions to Support the Development of a Clear Rationale for Languages Learning: Executive Summary (S Fernandez & M Gearon, prepared for the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, DEECD, Melbourne, 2011).

Modern Language Teachers' Association of Victoria.

Teaching and Learning Languages: A Guide (A Scarino & AJ Liddicoat, from the Research Centre for Languages and Cultures, University of South Australia, for the Curriculum Corporation, Carlton South, 2009).

Victorian Curriculum F–10: Languages (Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) 2016).