Language Across Curriculum is a modern concept that a foreign or second language should be taught out of the traditional language classroom by using contextual and content based language teaching methodologies throughout the school hours. Hence it demands that language learning should occur in language classroom as well as other subject classrooms.
Principles behind Language Across Curriculum
The introduction of Language Across Curriculum is based on some modern studies and findings like Content Based Instruction (CBI), Content Integrated Language Learning (CILL), Skill Acquisition Concepts and the Immersion Theory of Language Learning. Some other cognitive theories also can be regarded the principles behind this curriculum.CBI and CILL are two almost same movements in language learning in America and England. These movements present the following Principles.
- Natural language acquisition occurs in context; natural language is never learned divorced from meaning, and content-based instruction provides a context for meaningful communication.
- Second language acquisition increases with content-based language instruction.
- People do not learn languages and then use them, but learn languages by using them.
- language can be acquired through continuous practice, as it is a skill subject
- The immersion of language with content facilitates more effective language acquisition.
Need & Significance
Let’s look at the factors which tell about the need and significance of a better language learning methodology. Studies in India have shown that most of the educated people in India are struggling in the case of foreign language i.e. English language, though they have got a fantastic subject competency. It is a fact that a majority of students are writing their assignments by copying from reference books or online articles so that it becomes the Xerox copies. A huge majority of the students are not able to indulge in self study because they lack skill in using English language. The present globalized world offers thousands of courses all over the world, but our students are not able to get admitted in foreign universities only because they keep deficiency in using the foreign language. It is a shocking fact that the students are not able to speak or write their own sentences in foreign language even after completing graduation and post graduation with high grades. A large number of students are not able to handle the modern technology, as they haven’t got commanding power in English Language. A major part of the research scholars are committing plagiarism for writing their theses on account of the deficiency in English Language. The real causes behind such a pathetic condition are nothing else but the teachers and the educational system. Schools often keep a time table in which only one or two hours are allotted for language learning, and other subjects are taught in mother tongue or in faulty foreign language. A huge majority of the teachers at present are struggling when using the foreign language. They are practicing adjustment teaching in classroom, as they are not able to elaborate points in foreign language. Students often tend to follow the wrong model of the teachers in using foreign language for communication. Most of the teachers are not able to make use of modern technology, because they lack commanding power in foreign language. The teachers are not able to give clear instructions in foreign language. They do not encourage clarification of doubts by students, as they are not confident enough to have ‘on the spot conversation’ in foreign language. the They are not able to manage group activities effectively, as they lack communication skill in foreign language. Most of the teachers are providing market notes to students, because of this deficiency. A large number of the teachers do not know how to praise students in foreign language. All the above mentioned factors show that the educational system is in need of a more dynamic and realistic approach in language teaching, which can offer an opportunity for the students for acquiring a faultless and effective foreign language through continuous and systematic practicing hours at school. The search for such a more effective methodology has so far resulted in the emergence of a new concept called ‘Language Across Curriculum’.
Practice of Language Across Curriculum
For the successful implementation of Language Across Curriculum, there should be a comprehensive approach and multifaceted planning in an institution. There should be a team work. Both the language teachers and the other subject teachers have vital role in the effective practicing of such a dynamic programme in school. The language Teachers teach general vocabulary while the subject teachers teach the vocabulary or terms related to the concerned subject. The language teachers teach the structural elements in the foreign language while the subject teachers make them make use of such structures when speaking or writing some content in the subject classroom. The language teacher teaches different suffixes and prefixes and the subject teacher would make them use such items with some subject related terms. For example, a social teacher makes the students use the suffix ‘ism’ in the terms like ‘socialism’, ‘Communism’, ‘capitalism’ etc. More over there should be a mutual understanding and respect with both the language teacher and subject teacher. They should contact each other that the language teacher should give guidelines to the subject teacher, and the subject teacher should clarify the doubts by consulting the language teacher.
As Language Across Curriculum offers a more realistic and functional learning of foreign language, it helps students become effective user of the language in day to day communication as well as in academic and professional aspects of communication. Being an effective user of foreign language is an advantage in any field of life. It helps the students to write their own assignments and projects. They can indulge in self study by having enormous reading and browsing online, if got ability to handle foreign language properly. It helps them make use of information technology for useful development. It assists research scholars in writing the theses in original language. It helps teachers handle classes with beautiful and meaningful sentences. Teachers can update their knowledge and develop their skills. It also helps them make use of technologies in teaching so that to make the classes more interesting. Globalization has caused for tremendous changes in all the fields of life. It has enhanced the importance of foreign language acquisition. Globalization has created so many job opportunities for today’s youth .A youngster from India can gain a job in Europe or America or any other country in the world, if he has got a commanding power in English language. The new trends like call centres and tourism have opened vast world opportunity for those who are fluent in English Language. It also opens a vast world of educational opportunities for students who can be admitted in foreign universities, if able to communicate in English Language efficiently and effectively. In short, Language Across Curriculum facilitates a more flexible and authentic foreign language acquisition. A better using of foreign language provides all the advantages mentioned above.