Oral Language Learning:The Primary Years

Subject EDUC90564 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 25
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 40 hours
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours total commitment.

Attendance at all classes (tutorial/seminars/practical classes/lectures/labs) is obligatory. Failure to attend 80% of classes will normally result in failure in the subject.

This subject is only available to students sponsored by the Catholic Education Office Melbourne.

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Education Student Centre
234 Queensberry Street
Call: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject Overview:

This subject uses contemporary research in oral language acquisition to develop frameworks that primary school educators can use to describe, monitor and teach speaking and listening knowledge and skills. The frameworks provide educators with the capacity to identify the complexity of the ideas communicated, the language conventions used, the knowledge of the purposes of communicating to achieve social goals and the ability to learn oral language. It will examine procedures for monitoring oral language development and use and analyse various assessment and diagnostic tools. It will also examine pedagogy associated with oral language education and a range of intervention strategies in speaking and listening. The links between oral language knowledge and skills and academic success in literacy and numeracy will be explored throughout the subject.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • describe and evaluate frameworks that primary school teachers can use to describe the oral communication skills of students in terms of the ideas, conventions and purposes for communicating;
  • describe developmental trends to acquiring speaking and listening knowledge and skills in terms of these models and use these to monitor student use and learning;
  • use these models to assess and diagnose the speaking and listening skills of primary school students, discuss and evaluate procedures for diagnosing and reporting difficulties in the context of the regular classroom;
  • use the frameworks to plan and implement education programmes in speaking and listening that are supported by current research;
  • discuss the characteristics of successful oral language instructional programs according to particular speaking and listening needs, evaluate the effectiveness of education programs intended for use with students who have oral language learning difficulties;
  • discuss the relationship between oral language knowledge and learning capacity in literacy and numeracy.

Two 4,000 word essays due at the end of semester (100%)

Prescribed Texts:


Recommended Texts:

Cattell, N. R. (2007). Children's language : consensus and controversy. London : Continuum.
Morrow, L. M. (2007). Developing literacy in preschool. New York ; London : Guilford Press.
Lightbown, P. and Spada N. (2006). How languages are learned. Oxford : Oxford University Press.
Piper, T. (2007). Language and learning : the home and school years. Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Pearson Merrill/Prentice Hall.
Otto, B. (2006). Language development in early childhood. Upper Saddle River, N.J. Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall.
Cook, G. (2000). Language play, language learning. Oxford : Oxford University Press.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

This subject encompasses the following generic skills: On completion of this subject you should be able to:

  • analyse critically approaches to the assessment of speaking and listening knowledge and skills, procedures used to diagnose and remediate underachievement in this area, theories and explanations of the acquisition of speaking and listening;
  • develop a problem solving approach to the analysis of speaking and listening knowledge and skills by primary school students;
  • develop skills in communicating the nature of particular causes of oral language learning difficulties to teachers, parents and students;
  • use the model of oral language learning to plan a schedule for implementing teaching and intervention programs;
  • work in a team with other professionals in analysing and reporting speaking and listening difficulties;
  • display positive attitudes to the diagnosis and remediation of speaking and listening difficulties.

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