Language Across Curriculum (LAC)- Its Meaning and Concept

language across curriculum

Meaning and Concept of Language Across Curriculum (LAC)

Language Across Curriculum (LAC) is a curricular enrichment program that provide students wit the opportunity to use their skills in languages other than English in non-language courses. It aims to infuse foreign laguage across the curriculum, thus building on the skills of language proficient students in course where authentic foreign language sources are not a regular component of the course material. Thus, students can extend their knowledge of a second language beyond foreign language course materials, research and projects in non-language disciplines. In addition, the inclusion of authentic course relevant source materials in another language enriches course perspectives and prepares students more fully for the cross-cultural and multi-lingual demands of a global society.

Language ACross the Curriculum (LAC) relates to linking different forms or aspects of language education within the school, particularly emphasizing the role of language in all subject matter learning.

LAC is a modern concept that a foreign or second language should be taught out of the traditional laguage classroom by using contextual and content based language methodologies throughout the school hours. Hence, it demands that language learning should occur in language classroom as well as other subject classrooms, viz, maths, social science, science, etc. 

language across curriculum

LAC has two meanings:- in a narrow sense, it is a concept suggesting the importance of language work and language training in all non-linguistic subjects. In the wider sense, it is a concept demanding a comprehensive model of language education as the basis of a whole school language policy.

LAC is a concept and a policy. As a concept it acknowledges the fact that language education in school does not only take place in specific language subjects such as mother tongue, foreign language or second language education etc, but also in each and every activity inschool, across the whole curriculum. 

Language and Thinking

Language as an instrument of thought

It is a common perception that the connection between language and thought is profound. the majority of our everyday life involves the use of language. We express our ideas to others with language, we read their responses and understand their meanings with language, and very often, we speak internally to ourselves when we process this information and make logical conclusions. It therefore appears that rational thinking defintely involves certain degree of the use of language. it has also been suggested that thought is wholly and solely determined by language.

But some linguists opine that language and thought are two separate and independent entities. the differences in the systematic structures and the lexicons available in different languages, for example, can not possibly determine the way these people think. Thus, we have thought in the very first place, and then language comes in as a tool for expressing our thought. Still some others, not feeling contended with either version, propose a third possiblity, thet language and thought are “interdependent”. This possibilty suggests that language and the thought process are dependent on each other. 

Origin of Language Across Curriculum

Language Across Curriculum (LAC) as a concept has been around for sometime in academic and pedagogic theoretical discourse but less in school practice. It was developed in the late Seventy’s and early Eighty’s of the last centuries. It originated in Great Britain, where idea of linking LAC with school language policies received formal recognition. The idea of LAC have somewhat changed over the past few years and they were also influenced by world outside Britain. Hoowever, the basic tenets on which LAC rests, have remain the same. These are as follows:-

a. Laguage develops mainly through its purposeful use.

b. Learning involves talking, writing, sharing, shaping and moving.

c. Learning often occurs through speaking or writing as much as through shaping and moving.

d. Language use contribute to a pre-requisite for cognitive development. 

e. Language is a medium for reflecting learning, for improving it and for becoming autonomous. 

Goals of Language Across Curriculum

The goals of LAC are to support language development in each and every child, in all domains of language use, in each learning activity in the school. It aims to facilitate the use of language in a variety of meaningful context and to motivate and to reward students for using their multi-lingual skills in every class, so that they are prepareed for sports,  cultural and multi-lingual demands and opportunities of a globalized society.

The long term goal of LAC is to integrate multiple language into the teaching of all disciplines in order to enrich their inter-cultural and international content. The short term goal is to enlist the support of faculty and administrators to expand opportunities for the content specific acquisition and discipline fcus use of language and cultural knowledge by students regardless of their choosen area of expertize. Cross cultural and multi-lingual inquiry leads to a more complete learning experience and provide a basis for comparative understanding. 

LAC also supports language development in each learners and in all domains of language used. It tries to advacne knowledge acquisition through awareness of language used. It also aims to develop critical reading, writing and learning. Moreover, it focuses on extending inter-cultural information and internationalperspectives on core subject matter.

In conclusion, LAC aims at enabling the students to manage diverse discourse functions involve in academic and vocational world. Thus it develops academic and vocational proficiency for satisfactory participation in relevant discourses. 

Difficulties of Language Across Curriculum

The goal of LAC have spread slowly, although they were never really fully put into practice. Apperently, LAC was never practiced to any larger extent on a regular basis. As such, a number of difficulties were discernible in making LAC work in practice. On the other hand, these have to o with the attitude of teachers, the objectives or even resistance of many subject teachers to become language teacher. However, this is clearly a misunderstanding of their role in LAC. On the other hand, there was not a clear or precise concept as to what is meant by language education across the curriculum to support subject matter learning through language word and how exactly to integrate content and language learning in a specific course or subject.

Another obstacle lay in the fact that there was no one centrally responsible in the school for such a cross-curricular approach, exact the headmaster or the principal. But for an administrators, it was impossible to see to it at LAC worth. This is a structural weakness since no one can be identified who is/are feels responsible for this type of qualification in subject specific language skills.

Parents also opposed to the introduction of such a curriculum in the schools. They began to ask for evidences as to whether students can speak, read or write better when they leave school than when they entered. Teacher were also questioned if they encouraged exploratory task to put new ideas and information into students own language. Moreover, the required material was not available for students to undergo such a curriculum. These facts make many principals feels somewhat uncomfortable. Therefore, such an approach was not easily accepted. 

Introducing LAC require a radical change in the attitudes and mentality of the teacher involved, the one’s already in service as much as the one’s still a teacher educator. Every teacher has to be confronted with the issues of academic language use and be prepared and trained for integrating language into subject matter learning. These decision and skills required a high degree of information and of theory, curriculum planning and teaching methodology. One major obstacle  to the serious consideration of language in schools is that language is so obvious and all pervasive that it often escapes our attention. Until teacher examine carefully the relationship of language to learning, understanding and intellectual development, they are unlikely to take seriously their own responsibilties towards language development or to realise the potential of language for all learning. to keep going, teacher’s used to understand about language and learning are that- language plays a key role in understanding new informations and language also plays a significant role in intellectual development.

Benefits of LAC

Language can not be effectively learned without a context while learning in all subjects is dependent upon language. In fact, content subject provides a context for language while effective language development facilitates the learning of content subjects. It is therefore, necessary to integrate language and content. An LAC approach helps in including subjects language proficiency and understanding of academic content. It helps to ensure that there is an organizational structure in the school that helps to formulate and implement language ploicy across the curriculum. This enables the teachers to contribute and get support in dealing with language learning issues as well as to work for a commom target. 

The students will be able to minimize the problems of adjusting to the new medium of instruction and to learn the content better. The teacher will also use the language to teach more effectively and help students learn more effectively.

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