ESL: Module A: Experience Through Language – Australian Visions

Well really, I can be the only person out there who has no idea what the ESL Elective “Australian Visions” is on about…so here I will post up any developments I find.

As I saw on the ETA Bulletin Board, even teachers aren’t really sure what it is about!

Australian Visions is Elective 2 in Module A: Experience Through Language of the HSC ESL syllabus. To make this clearer: ESL > Module A: Experience Through Language > Elective 2: Australian Visions.

This is what the syllabus says:

Module A: Experience Through Language

This module requires students to explore the uses of a particular aspect of language. It develops students’ awareness of language and helps them to understand how our perceptions of and relationships with others and the world are shaped in written, spoken and visual language.

Each elective in this module specifies a prescribed text and a key aspect of language for study. These provide the basis for the study and use of this aspect of language in other texts, including texts drawn from students’ own experience.

Students examine particular language structures and features used in the prescribed text and a range of situations that they encounter in their daily lives. They explore, examine and analyse how the conventions of textual forms, language modes and media shape meaning. Composition focuses on experimentation with variations of purpose, audience and form to achieve different effects. These compositions may be realised in a variety of forms and media.

From the Board of Studies English Syllabus PDF.

Elective 2: Australian Visions

In their responding and composing students explore the ways in which language is used to represent visions in texts. They consider the different types of visions evident in texts and how the creation of a distinctly Australian vision, or visions, affects interpretation and shapes meaning. Students will examine one prescribed text, in addition to other texts and examples drawn from their own experience.

From the Board of Studies English Prescriptions PDF.

What does “Australian Visions” mean?

From the syllabus, the ETA Bulletin Board and what my ESL student has said they have been doing in class, this Elective may look at the following:

  • The visions of Australia portrayed in the text:
    • What Australian objects/motifs are used?
    • Is it a typically Australian setting? E.g. Strictly Ballroom is set in local Australian suburbia
    • What Australian themes/ideas are evoked? E.g. mateship, freedom, individualism, multiculturalism
    • To see a more expanded list of examples: this post.
  • How these visions are conveyed in the text:
    • Through written, spoken and visual language – language techniques, stage directions, film images, sound, music
    • Through the textual form, language modes and media – prose, drama, poetry, film, tv series
  • How do Australian visions affect interpretation and shape meaning:
    • What is the effect of the text being “Australian” and localised?
    • How would it be different if the text was simply universal?

Still confused? So am I….but these links may give you some direction:

Texts: students are to choose ONE of the following texts

Prose Fiction

  • Goldsworthy, Peter, Maestro, HarperCollins, 2004, ISBN-13: 9780732281489


  • Misto, John, The Shoe-Horn Sonata, Currency Press, 1996, ISBN-13: 9780868194813


  • Stewart, Douglas, Selected Poems, Board of Studies website –
  • ‘Lady Feeding the Cats’, ‘Wombat’, ‘The Snow-Gum’, ‘Nesting Time’, ‘The Moths’, ‘The Fireflies’, ‘Waterlily’, ‘Cave Painting’, ‘The Tailor Fishermen’

Film (f) or Media (m)

  • Luhrmann, Baz, Strictly Ballroom, Fox, 1992 (f)
  • Cox, Deb, Seachange, series 2, ABC, 2004 (m) – ‘Playing With Fire’, ‘Not Such Great Expectations’, ‘Manna From Heaven’, ‘Law and Order’

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