The VCE Course
The two year VCE course was constructed in 4 semester units, each with its strictly determined tasks, based on four different language skill areas.
The principle governing the specific tasks was, that they were realistic tasks, used in the real world (outside the classroom) and based on real skills, which were extended and broadened over the four semester units. The four skills were defined as:
- Speaking to inform
- Focusing on performance
- Reorganising information
Speaking to inform skills area included a conversation, interview, discussion and presentation of a topic. Focusing on performance included announcements, dramatised reading and a performance. Writing included personal and imaginative writing, informative writing, persuasive or evaluative writing. Reorganising information included changing a passage into a different discourse form (or text-type).
Examination Paper Slovenian 1992 form, using information heard and read, investigating a topic and writing a report. In addition students were given extended time to complete a folio of pieces for assessment, and prepared for an oral examination including conversation, report and discussion and a role-play. At the end of the year they sat for an examination which tested all the skills that they built up over the four units.
It was a great new approach to the study of languages. Students were given a sense of what it means to communicate and use the language in social interaction. For example the students in 1991 were given as a task in Unit 1 a conversation to be prepared by two or three students working together. The situation was a chance meeting in a chosen setting between the students and a person from Slovenia, who heard them speaking in Slovenian. They expressed amazement, introduced themselves, exchanged some information about where they were from and whom they were visiting. Each group of students came up with their own creative concept and situation. For example one took a young visitor from Slovenia around the Slovenian Religious and Cultural Centre and told him about some of the cultural acitivities there. The students were given an opportunity to be creative and they used it to the full. The resulting role-plays were interesting and entertaining.
Memorable from those first years was also the required interview. The teacher used the events taking place in Slovenia to set the interview task. Students were to interview a person who had either just returned from Slovenia, or call someone on telephone, or speak to someone who has been in contact with Slovenia regarding the events. This was a good example how personal interest and a real situation could be used in the new system to enable the student to enjoy the task and give them a feeling that they can communicate in the language.
The principle of integration and contextualisation was used to good purpose in all areas of the Slovenian course. Personal letters to relatives were written and sent, short articles on the topic of Slovenian studies were published in Slovenian publications. Informative texts about events in Slovenia were read and discussed and then used to extend the skill of reorganising information.
The first group of VCE students completed the new reformed two-year course in November 1992. Several Bosnian students who came to Australia via Slovenia, where they attended school, enrolled in Slovenian VCE during the following years.