Embedding English in the tertiary curriculum : engaging with content through writing
Contributor(s)Macquarie University. Dept. of Linguistics
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AbstractThe goal of combining language instruction with the teaching of core content has been widely adopted in European schools and universities, at least since the 1990s. Where English is the medium of instruction, that aim is being referred to as embedding English in the curriculum. The policy is now being advocated in Australian and New Zealand schools and universities (where tertiary-level students often need supplementary language support). The concept has its roots in Content Based Language Instruction (CBLI) as well as in the older tradition known as English for Specific Purposes (ESP). These approaches to language teaching influenced the more development in Europe of ‘Content and Language Integrated Learning’ (CLIL). CLIL has what is called a “dual focus,” aiming to develop language skills and content knowledge in tandem. I here suggest that all these projects have been inadequately theorized and, drawing on research in the psychology of writing, argue that language is already deeply embedded in disciplinary practice and that writing in particular plays a widely misrecognised role in learning and knowledge creation in the disciplines. This claim has important implications for “integrated” approaches to curriculum development, particularly when such curricula are designed jointly by applied linguists and disciplinary specialists.