International and EAL Students
Parkdale Secondary College’s Language Centre provides an Intensive English Language Course for newly-arrived overseas students of various age and ability.
The Language Centre staff and services:
- three EAL (English as an Additional Language) teachers who prepare the students to access the mainstream curriculum and general/academic English demands
- an International Student Coordinator
- a Homestay Coordinator is also provided for any assistance the students and host parents may require outside of school hours
- An Assistant Principal to oversee all decisions made
- A counselling service in their first language is available for students who grapple with being way from home.
Students in the Language Centre complete English studies as well as Maths, Humanities, and Health to best prepare them for mainstream studies.
Teachers at the school who are fluent in Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese and French support students and communications with families.
The initial Orientation Program is supported by the teamwork of class teachers and is one of the many qualities that distinguish our English Language Centre.
Parkdale Secondary College takes its responsibility for overseas students seriously and we are committed to the students’ wellbeing and welfare while studying in Australia.
Each staff member has a culturally sensitive approach in dealing with students who live away from their families and home country. We consider our overseas students as a valued part of our school community.
The two-week Orientation Program at the start of the course is repeated mid-year for new students. Many hands-on activities equip students with survival skills in Australia both within and outside the school. Water, Fire and Road Safety are explicitly taught.
Excursions to the local area, the Melbourne CBD and around Victoria are offered for enjoyment and to familiarise students with their surroundings.
Students are monitored closely in their English growth.
A diagnostic test to identify a new student’s specific areas of weakness and strength in English is administered on arrival.
Improvements are measured against this tool at the end of their 20-week program and ensures that students who need more time in the language centre can access support for longer. Those who are ready will move to a mainstream program and commence classes with the local students.
Our Language Centre staff liaise and provide professional development support to mainstream teachers to achieve a smooth transition to regular classes.
This is particularly important at VCE level when it is difficult for newly-arrived overseas students to improve their English language levels quickly enough to keep up with the academic language demands.
If necessary, EAL trained specialists support students in communicating with their teachers, to ensure students and mainstream teachers are independent in their working relationships.
We highly recommend that International students complete their Language Centre studies in year 9 and move to Mainstream in year 10.
This allows a comprehensive development of both their English skills, but also time in the classroom to become familiar with the pace of an Australian classroom.