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LANGUAGE ACROSS THE

CURRICULUM
Language is central to the whole curriculum process. Oral and written language are both
essential to the thinking process which must take place in all areas of the curriculum.
John Carrol (1974! states that" #The various forms of pictorial expressions are
almost always accompanied by language and require language to make them
intelligible$. %iaget (1971! has written that" #Language is but one among ... the many
aspects of the semiotic functions even though it is, in most instances, the most important
one. According to &illion (1991" #Language across the curriculum stresses concern for
how people learn to use language, how they use language to achieve understanding and
appreciation of their experiences including the curriculum content introduced in
schools! and how language use influences cognitive development." 'roadening the
concept somewhat! the writer argues that" (Language across the curriculum is
primarily concerned with pupils# ability to use reading, writing and talk for an
increasing
range of personal, social and educational purposes." )he student who is articulate in
oral and written language! who can use words to manipulate ideas! to shape thoughts and
to understand ke* concepts! has an indispensable tool for all school learning because the
abilit* to communicate through language is a necessar* skill in all sub+ect areas.
Students (in all sub+ect areas
,sing writing to order and classif* thoughts
Learning the language appropriate to the sub+ect
,sing the increasing precision the -ocabular* of their sub+ect.
Teachers (in all sub+ect areas
/odeling the language of their sub+ect
0ttending to the con-entions of written language
'ecoming sensiti-e to the role and -arieties of language learning
)he following learning skills which are traditionall* regarded as the pur-iew of the
language teacher are shared b* all sub+ects in the curriculum.
1. Locating information 1 using enc*clopedias and reference books and
gathering facts from field trips and
inter-iews.
2. Organising information 1 outlining and categorising
3. 0c4uiring information 1 using strategies such as skimming through
reading and scanning and understanding the
importance of pre1reading strategies.
4. 0c4uiring information
1 setting purpose for listening and through
listening and obser-ing.
5. Communicating orall* 1
speaking with accurac* and pose! and in
writing with clarit* and e6actness! using the
writing process.
7. 8nterpreting
pictures
1 constructing simple graphs! tables charts!
graphs! tables! charts and other pictorial
pictures material cartoons including cartoons.
7. 9-aluating and
appl*ing 1 appl*ing problem1sol-ing and information
critical thinking skills.
9ach sub+ect area has its special needs although there are man* held in common across
the curriculum. )he sub+ect teacher needs to be aware of this and should pro-ide learning
situations which will foster the de-elopment and use of appropriate language.
Language 0cross the Curriculum
:hether children are learning geograph* or science! the* need the resources of language
to help them to cope with the demands of the curriculum. ;eading! writing! listening and
speaking are indispensable tools for the learning process as the students mo-e across the
curriculum. 9ach *ear the poor performance of students in -arious e6aminations reminds
us of the importance of Language in all areas of the curriculum. 8n the <ational
0ssessment %rogramme! the results point to man* weaknesses in the areas of Language
0rts. 8n the area of ;eading! the results show that at =rade 7 onl* 5>155? of the children
are performing at the =rade 4 le-el of comprehension. '* far the weakest area is in
writing skills. )he great ma+orit* of the children are underachie-ing in this -ital area. 8n
addition! problems that ha-e been noted in the area of spelling point to the fact that
children need to read more and to be taught strategies for spelling words in common
usage and words the* meet in their reading. 8n the content areas @ /athematics! Acience
and Aocial Atudies @ a re-iew of the results referred to abo-e! concludes that language has
affected significantl* the performance of the children as! in general! the* are hampered
b* poor writing skills.