Time allocations for Languages – what to do with a small number of hours

It’s very common for primary school Languages teachers to only see their students for 30 – 45 mins per week and for Year 7 or 8 teachers to only see their students for a single term or semester. 

We all know it’s probably not ideal for learning, but perhaps you’ve also wondered if it’s “legal”? As in, whether it’s in line with what your state or territory mandates, or at least, recommends? 

There is an article on the Languages Roadshow website which steps through some of this info and with permission we have grabbed some highlights from that article here:

How to work out if your time allocation is OK or not OK:

Step 1: Work out what percentage of the recommended teaching time you have.


If you don’t have the recommended time allocation for your language classes, I hear you. I took the approach that I would cover the curriculum pro rata in accordance with the time I was allocated. So you may like to start by figuring out what proportion of the recommended time you actually get in your school. From Prep to Year 2, the recommended time is 60 minutes a week, in Years 3 to 6 it’s 90 minutes, and 120 minutes a week for Years 7 and 8.


In my case, the 40 minutes I had for Years P-2 worked out as ⅔ of the recommended time for that Band, so I would aim to cover at least two-thirds of the Achievement Standard. For Years 3-6 I only had 44% of the recommended time allocation, but I decided to round it up to 50% of the Achievement Standard for each of these bands. Obviously I would cover as much as I could, but this was the minimum I aimed for. I did this by completing 3 C2C assessments per year in Years P-2, and at least 2 per year in Years 3-6.


This did have implications for reporting – my school reported on students twice per year, so often I had only covered one assessment by Semester 1 reporting time. My rationale was that as the assessment covered both strands (Communicating and Understanding), one assessment per semester should suffice. For the grades in which my students completed 3 assessments per year, the Semester 2 reports would include the results from 2 assessments, covering a greater range of skills. On balance I felt that this worked to give an accurate picture of student achievement over the course of the year.


– Fran Smartt, for Languages Roadshow.

I hope this is helpful for the many of you who are trying to do so much with so little time! 

If you are an Italian teacher and only have a limited amount of time with your students each week or you are running a ‘taster course’ program for Year 7 or 8, we have just the resource for you! The Avanti Tutta Starter Course comes with a workbook and one year access to our extensive online platform. Find out more on our website or get in touch to talk to our team. 

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