ACARA is committed to the development of a high-quality curriculum for all Australian students that promotes
excellence and equity in education. All students are entitled to rigorous, relevant and engaging learning programs
drawn from a challenging curriculum that addresses their individual learning needs. The Australian Curriculum
recognises that the needs of all students encompass cognitive, affective, physical, social, and aesthetic curriculum
The Australian Curriculum – accessible for all young Australians
The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (MCEETYA, 2008) provides the policy
framework for the Australian Curriculum. It includes two goals:
Australian schooling promotes equity and excellence
All young Australians become successful learners, confident and creative individuals and active and informed
The Australian Curriculum has been designed to address these goals with the objectives of the Australian Curriculum
being the same for all students. These objectives are based on a set of propositions outlined in The Shape of the
Australian Curriculum v3 that guide the development of the Australian Curriculum as a curriculum for all learners.
These propositions include:
the understanding that each student can learn and the needs of every student are important
a recognition of the entitlement of each student to knowledge, understanding and skills that provide a foundation for
successful and lifelong learning and participation in the Australian community
high expectations to be set for each student as teachers account for the current level of learning of individual students
and the different rates at which students develop
acknowledgement that the needs and interests of students will vary, and that schools and teachers will plan from the
curriculum in ways that respond to those needs and interests.
The three-dimensional design of the Australian Curriculum, comprising learning areas, general capabilities and cross-
curriculum priorities, provides teachers with flexibility to cater for the diverse needs of students across Australia and
More detailed advice is being developed for schools and teachers on using the Australian Curriculum to meet diverse
learning needs and will be available under Student Diversity on the Australian Curriculum website.
Students with Disability
The Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and the Disability Standards for Education (2005) require education and
training service providers to support the rights of students with disability to access the curriculum on the same basis
as students without disability. Students with disability are entitled to rigorous, relevant and engaging learning
opportunities drawn from age equivalent Australian Curriculum content on the same basis as students without
disability. For more information go to the Students with Disability webpage.
Gifted and Talented Students
Students who are gifted and talented have a right to rigorous, relevant and engaging learning activities drawn from a
challenging curriculum that addresses their individual learning needs. Teachers can use the Australian Curriculum
flexibly to meet the individual learning needs of gifted and talented students.
Teachers can enrich student learning by providing students with opportunities to work with learning area content in
more depth or breadth; encompassing specific aspects of the general capabilities learning continua (for example, the
higher order cognitive skills of the Critical and creative thinking capability); and/or focusing on cross-curriculum
priorities. Teachers can also accelerate student learning by drawing on content from later levels in the Australian
Curriculum and/or from local state and territory teaching and learning materials.
Teaching students with English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D)
As part of its commitment to supporting equity of access to the Australian Curriculum for all students, ACARA has
developed the English as an Additional Language or Dialect: Teacher Resource. This resource is designed to support
teachers across the learning areas as they develop teaching and learning programs using the Australian Curriculum
with students for whom English is an additional language or dialect (EAL/D).Click here for more information.
Equity and Diversity Advisory Group
The Equity and Diversity Advisory Group consists of equity and diversity experts covering Foundation to Year 12 who
are based in schools, universities, curriculum authorities, professional associations and organisations.
The Equity and Diversity Advisory Group assists ACARA’s curriculum development process through providing expert
advice and recommendations on matters relating to equity and diversity to ensure the Australian Curriculum is
inclusive of, and accessible for, all students.
Members of the advisory group bring a range of expertise in working with students with diverse needs and from
diverse contexts across Australia including:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
Students for whom English is an additional language or dialect
Students from rural and remote contexts
Students from low socio-economic settings
Students with disability
Gifted and talented students
Students with diverse personal or cultural backgrounds or religious affiliations
Students with a combination of equity and diversity needs.
Welcome to the Teaching Diverse Learners (TDL) Web site, a resource dedicated to
enhancing the capacity of teachers to work effectively and equitably with English language
learners (ELLs). This Web site provides access to information -- publications, educational
materials, and the work of experts in the field -- that promotes high achievement for ELLs.
New! Annual Review of Research: The fourth in a series of reviews of research
related to equity and diversity has been released. Approaches to Writing Instruction
for Adolescent English Language Learners is now available to download:
Approaches to Writing Instruction for Adolescent English Language Learners: A
Discussion of Recent Research and Practice Literature in Relation to Nationwide
Standards on Writing
Past reviews of research >
Other New Publications:
Leading With Diversity: Cultural Competencies for Teacher Preparation and
The Teacher's Guide to Diversity: Building a Knowledge Base
Elementary Literacy - Discusses the literacy challenges that are specific to English language
learners and identifies effective teaching strategies for scaffolding oral language, reading,
and writing development.
Teaching & Learning Strategies - Addresses practical applications for the areas of Culturally
Responsive Teaching, Sheltered English Instruction, and Language Support for Students in
the Home and in School.
Assessment - Explores three separate aspects of assessment for English language learners:
Initial Assessment, Ongoing Assessment, and High-Stakes Testing. Each of these areas is
examined through responses to commonly asked questions and each area is supported by
resources, examples, tools, and research.
Policy - Explains language and educational policies, and suggests some best practices for
implementing an equal access plan at the school or district level.
Families & Communities - Provides information on a challenging area that varies across
cultures by offering suggestions to foster school/family relationships, family involvement,
and cultural awareness.
Managing a Classroom of Diverse Learners
by Lisa Smith
Coming up with creative activities has been the easier part of my job as an ESL teacher. Discovering
how to keep a classroom full of unique individuals with diverse personalities and learning
preferences all happily engaged in those activities has been the greater challenge for me. After
years of seeking keys to successful classroom management some of the most effective methods are
those I recently learned through professional development opportunities. Reflecting on my own
teaching in light of those experiences, here are some recommendations for best practices:
Initiate and insure new students’ success by conducting Orientation before their first English lesson.
Include daily routine, goal-setting, learning styles, teaching methods (limited translation!),
persistence and patience, along with program rules and procedures. If possible, with basic students
use a translator or have handouts in their own language. Although translation is not recommended
as a learning method, having a clear understanding of what’s expected will ease their anxieties.
Create a safe, supportive environment for them to “try out” new language as it’s acquired. They
should not feel embarrassed or ashamed of their efforts. Tell them to leave any worries outside the
door when they arrive. Students who are worried or “on the defensive” are too preoccupied to learn.
Leave your own worries outside, too. Being calm and relaxed will provide an atmosphere for all to
enjoy the learning process together. Solve personal problems on personal time.
Assure them that mistakes are not failures, but part of the learning process. Take care in how and
when corrections are made. Correct mostly on aspects of that day’s lesson. Let them know
perfection is not expected. Model this by taking your own mistakes in stride. Laugh at yourself and
Express sincere, specific praise over their successes. Exclaiming the same word or phrase to
compliment every student diminishes its value. For a variety of creative ways to praise, look up
Edward S. Kubany’s 65 Ways to say “Good for You” listed on many websites. My favorite is “I like
the way you. . .”
Show respect. Remember your students are adults, too. Acknowledge that their life experiences and
responsibilities are similar to and as valuable as your own.
Modify or grade your “teacher talk” by simplifying words, speaking slowly and articulating to be
understood clearly by students at their level. However, avoid sounding unnatural or “sing-song.”
Stress key words, but resist the tendency to omit words and come off like a telegraph message.
Limit “teacher talk” time. The recommended ratio of talking time between students and teacher is 80-
20%. Students should spend as much or more time in practice activities as in the presentation of
new concepts. Keep in mind the goal is for the students to gain fluency, not the teacher.
Engage their interest and participation (and reduce “teacher talk”) by eliciting responses with
questions. Build on their prior knowledge. Before explaining new material, ask what they know. This
gives them the opportunity to learn from one another, to use English more and boost their
Offer choices. Allow students to assume responsibility and a sense of ownership in their learning
process. For example, students can vote on what content areas to cover and/or prioritize their
sequence. So, topics most important to them are put first.
Prepare lessons from specific, clearly-stated objectives that address the needs of all levels of
learners in your class.Bloom’s Taxonomy is an excellent resource. Planning how and what you say
is just as important as designing activities.
Consider and plan how to provide multisensory activities for all learning styles. With the presentation
of each new concept, vocabulary or language structure, a variety of short practice tasks with pairs or
groups will hold attention better and be more effective in reinforcing the knowledge than one longer
whole class activity.
Clarify meaning with visuals, gestures, facial expressions, examples, demonstrations or acting.
When giving instructions, show samples or demonstrate. Then check understanding by having a
student explain what they are going to do.
Organize and facilitate interactive, communicative tasks using various manipulatives and again,
within groups, to allow students to create, discover and learn from within themselves individually and
from each other collectively.
Introduce new language orally first. Wait to write words after a variety of oral practice activities.
Because English has so many words that do not sound like they are spelled, hearing and saying
them before seeing them in print helps reinforce the pronunciation.
Create higher interest with content-based lessons that are relevant to their lives. Whenever possible,
use authentic materials or regalia in activities that mimic typical situations they experience day-to-
Assign responsibility for gathering regalia as “homework,” rather than providing it all yourself. For
example, before starting a unit on transporta tion, students can bring in Texas Driver’s Manuals.
During class beforehand build confidence by practicing in English how to request materials.
Practicing on the phone first is also good preparation before “going public.”
Be sure written materials, whether handouts, texts or your handwriting on the board are large and
legible enough to be read by all students considering any vision problems students may have or
where they are seated in the room. If necessary, provide magnifying sheets to overlay textbook
pages. Affordable reading glasses are available at dollar stores.
Arrange classroom seating to meet students’ needs, comfort, and to encourage their conversation
and participation. If possible, U-shapes where students face each other and the presentation area
Measure student’s success by informal teacher observation of oral tasks or by formal assessment of
written assignments. Reward accomplishments with spoken affirmation or with tangible evidence,
like a certificate. Encourage students to reflect on their own learning. Have them jot down what they
learned during the last few minutes of class. For beginners it may just be a short list of new words.
More advanced students may produce a paragraph or more.Challenge them to apply what they have
learned in their daily lives or go “teach” it to a friend or family member. Tell them to report the results
back to you. When they do, rejoice with them.Reflect on your own best practices. Continue
improving what works and be willing to change what doesn’t. Accept the fact that learning is a
process that varies with each learner.