Learning across the curriculum languages 7–10

As you plan your learning experiences, include relevant learning across the curriculum content where it offers opportunities to add depth and richness to the content.

Learning across the curriculum content is incorporated in all new NSW syllabuses.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

Our Stage 5 unit starter – a sustainable future, making changes together (DOCX 383 KB) – may guide you in planning a unit of work to support this cross-curriculum priority.

Embedding Aboriginal pedagogies in language teaching

Embedding Aboriginal pedagogies enables teachers to include Aboriginal perspectives in their teaching practice, while maintaining the focus on core curriculum content. Aboriginal perspectives are found in Aboriginal processes, rather than in Aboriginal content.

The Embedding Aboriginal pedagogies in language teaching (DOCX 1 MB) document unpacks each of the 8 Aboriginal ways of learning within the context of language learning, including how to align each process with languages pedagogy and suggestions for communicating with students about each process.

In the Stage 5 unit on food trucks (DOCX 468 KB), we have highlighted where Aboriginal processes are embedded into teaching and learning activities, helping you to see these connections in your own units of work. The unit also includes a sample learning map.

Information and communication technology capability

The Curation of digital tools (DOCX 553 KB) may support you in selecting appropriate tools to enhance your pedagogy.

The department's digital learning tool selector supports you to integrate ICT in your teaching practice. You can:

  • discover teaching and learning activities that embed ICT directly into your lessons
  • filter through a library of categorised activity pages
  • find information to support using the activity in your class.
  • adapt one of the available templates and you're ready to go
  • share learning activities and tools with your colleagues or create your own favourites list.

For example, if you want your students to collaborate using an online tool, the selector will show you a range of online tools which you could use, with tips on how to use each tool.

Intercultural understanding

Students develop intercultural understanding as they learn to value their own cultures, languages and beliefs, and those of others. They come to understand how personal, group and national identities are shaped, and the variable and changing nature of culture. Intercultural understanding involves students learning about and engaging with diverse cultures in ways that recognise commonalities and differences, create connections with others and cultivate mutual respect.

The key ideas for intercultural understanding are organised into 3 interrelated elements:

  • recognising culture and developing respect
  • interacting and empathising with others
  • reflecting on intercultural experiences and taking responsibility

Source: Australian Curriculum

Intercultural communication – a languages view

Intercultural communication takes place whenever individuals or groups from different cultural or linguistic backgrounds share and exchange meaning in a manner that is influenced by their different cultural perceptions and symbol systems, both verbal and non-verbal.

In simple terms, intercultural communication is an active process. It happens when two or more people from differing backgrounds interact. It assumes the participant is involved in the interaction.

In contrast, intercultural understanding may not involve the participant in the interaction. It is a comparison of how people from different cultures interact with the world.

In languages, we are constantly reflecting on the role of language and culture in the exchange of meaning, and considering how interaction shapes communication and identity, through the role of language and culture objective.

The Intercultural communication website will support you in building this important capability in students and includes:

  • an introduction to intercultural communication
  • the skills linked to effective intercultural communication
  • question cards to use with students
  • a range of lesson ideas.

You can also download the intercultural communicator poster (JPG 651.7KB) for display in your classroom. By developing these skills in students, we are providing them with the vital tools needed to engage with and contribute to today’s increasingly diverse and complex world.


The Literacy in languages video (7:19 minutes) supports you to explicitly teach literacy through your language lessons.

Video – Literacy in languages



Hello, and welcome to Literacy in languages. My name is Will Simpson, and I am a Japanese teacher at Kirrawee High School. What is literacy? What role does it play in our lives?

Literacy is the ability to understand and evaluate meaning through reading, writing, listening and speaking, viewing, and representing. Literacy skills are essential in order to be able to meaningfully participate in daily life, make sense of the world, and communicate effectively. Literacy is embedded in all New South Wales syllabus documents identified as learning across the curriculum content. This means it is the role of every teacher to support their students to develop literacy skills.

The best news for us as languages teachers is that we don't need to add literacy to our lessons. It's already there. What we do need to do is make the literacy explicit by talking about it with our students. It's also important that we incorporate links to literacy into our teaching and learning programs.

There are 3 elements which reflect aspects of literacy development. Speaking and listening-- incorporating interacting. Reading and viewing-- incorporating understanding texts. And writing-- incorporating creating texts and grammar. Due to its importance in literacy development vocabulary is included within and across all elements. As language teachers you will see a close alignment with our K to 10 syllabus objectives. Interacting, accessing and responding, composing.

Understanding the way languages work through learning another language is unique to our subject area as we explicitly teach systems of language, including types of texts, grammar, and vocabulary. The study of a language develops students' understanding of how languages work as systems enhancing literacy skills in the target language, as well as in a student's first language.

In the language classroom we discuss grammatical features, sentence construction, and the appropriateness of language for differing contexts. We encourage students to use the strategy of drawing comparisons with or highlighting differences from English in order to clarify certain aspects of the target language. We also look at things like language devices, register, tone, mood, and inferred meaning as these are all aspects of literacy in any language.

Here are some questions you can ask which support literacy. Where would you see or hear this text? What type of text does it look like or remind you of? How does the format of this text differ to other types of text? Can you identify differences in the way the target language and English language advertisements are constructed? Is this a global format?

What techniques does the writer or speaker use to engage the audience? What do you think is the purpose and context of this text? What clues are you using? What would you look for in an English text? Who is the audience? How would you compose a response which is more persuasive? How does the target language indicate a change of speakers in a written conversation? How does English do that? Which way do you prefer and why? What level of language does the writer or speaker use? Is it formal or informal? Do they use idioms? What is the effect?

By taking a modelled, guided, independent approach to developing literacy skills we're supporting our students to succeed. What do we mean by modelled, guided, independent? Let's look at an example.

When we read a text in the target language we need to deconstruct the text with students. Looking at the layout, the paragraphing, the vocabulary choices, the grammar, and so on. Here's a text about a bad man and boy who learns the importance of manners through interactions with animals. It is similar in purpose to something like Aesop's Fables.

The first step in the process is to work with the students to deconstruct the text. What makes the text effective? What language devices has the author used? This is just as effective with a text that isn't well written. Students can identify the things that don't sound right. You can use a scaffold like the one pictured here to guide the process.

Next, we move from modelled to guided. In this example, students use the scaffold to retell the story from the perspective of another character. This allows them to use the structures they have seen in the model text whilst using familiar vocabulary and a similar narrative structure.

The final step-- independent work-- asks the students to use what they have learned to write a narrative in Chinese in first or third person based on a fable that they know. This is also a great opportunity to engage with the cultural background of students in your class who may share stories that are unfamiliar to many students. This 3-step process seems very simple. But when the discussions in the first two phases are explicit in the use of metalanguage, it helps students clearly identify features of a text whilst comparing them to features of English language texts. It is an effective way of improving student writing in both the target language and in English.

Literacy competence is central to achievement in all areas of learning as students progress through their schooling and into the workforce and personal life. You will find that when you actively think about your teaching and learning programs you will realise there are many examples within the languages classroom for you to explicitly teach literacy through authentic and engaging activities.

Thank you so much for taking the time to watch this video today. You can learn more about literacy at our website.


End of transcript

All teachers are responsible for supporting the literacy development of their students. Language learning enhances literacy skills through communication and developing an understanding of language as a system. For example:

  • when we develop students' speaking skills, they learn elements of oral literacy, like the use of intonation, tone, register, use of humour and so on
  • when we develop students' writing skills, they learn about types of texts, language techniques, audience, register and so on.

Support your students' literacy development by explicitly teaching literacy in your lessons.


The Numeracy in languages video (7:40 minutes) supports teachers in embedding numeracy into their language lessons.

Video – Numeracy in languages

Transcript – Numeracy in languages (DOCX 15 KB)


Narrator 1:

Hello, and welcome to Numeracy in languages. My name is Julia Zhu, and I am a teacher of Japanese at Baulkham Hills High School.

Narrator 2:

My name is Brindha Punneyalingam. I am a community language teacher of Tamil from Girraween Public School.

Narrator 1:

What is numeracy? What role does it play in our lives? In very simple terms, numeracy is the ability to use mathematical ideas effectively to participate in daily life and make sense of the world. Language learning provides a range of rich opportunities to engage our students in numeracy. And so it is essential that we support our students' learning outcomes by providing opportunities which are both age and stage-appropriate. Think about how you may have used numeracy in your life over the last week. Reading a timetable. Scheduling your weekend activities. Working out a good time to call a friend who lives overseas. Using a recipe. Measuring a room for new furniture. Or even calculating the tip you'd like to leave at a restaurant. What does it mean to be numerate? Students should be able to apply their knowledge across a range of contexts, including their personal, school, and work lives. Different curriculum contexts also have distinctive numeracy demands, so students need to be numerate across different subject areas. Being numerate involves mathematical knowledge, dispositions, and tools. In terms of their mathematical knowledge, do students appreciate the usefulness of mathematical knowledge in making decisions, supporting arguments, or challenging positions? In terms of their dispositions, are students confident in using their knowledge of mathematical concepts and skills? Are they willing to engage with tasks? Can they use their mathematical knowledge flexibly? In terms of their tools, can students use tools to communicate their thinking? For example, percentages, graphs, tables, fractions, and decimals.

The New South Wales Department of Education's numeracy policy states, all teachers in New South Wales government schools will develop students' numeracy skills and understandings across all key learning areas. Embedding numeracy into language programs may appear to be challenging. However, there are many ways that you can incorporate numeracy skills into your language teaching. Our syllabus documents support us to embed numeracy into our teaching and learning programs. Numeracy is embedded in all New South Wales syllabus documents, identified as learning across the curriculum content. To find the numeracy in our syllabuses, read the general capability statement at the start of the syllabus. Look for the numeracy icon next to syllabus content. Read the verbs in the syllabus content. As you will see in the syllabus, language learning provides such a range of opportunities for students to develop skills in numeracy. In our lessons, students use the target language to communicate in a range of real or simulated situations, using numbers for counting and measuring. They role-play shopping and eating-out situations in class, negotiating details such as size, quantity, and price, calculating tips, and recognizing savings. Students also use currency exchange rates to complete transactions while traveling. They use expressions of time to sequence events, and create calendars to share information about class routines and celebrations. They examine volume through using recipes and concepts of measurement. They describe animals, people, and objects through length, height, or shapes. Students also summarize and interpret data using tables, charts, or graphs. And, of course, they engage with the skills of addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication.

Narrator 2:

Look at this airport arrival screen in Europe. There is a range of numerical concepts that we need to process when looking at the screen, especially if we are waiting for passengers coming off a particular flight. How long until the flight lands? What time did the flight leave its departure point? How long was the flight? What is the time difference between Europe and the departure cities? Even just viewing a simple text like this, without applying the target language, we realised that we need to take our students beyond being able to count and do simple arithmetic in the target language. Instead, we need to show them the ways to apply mathematical concepts to a range of situations in the target language. The key to supporting students' numeracy is to ensure that the numeracy skills you teach are stage-appropriate. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that, because you are teaching numbers in Year 7 French or Japanese, that you are supporting students' numeracy skills. Instead, think about the numeracy skills that are required at Year 7 level, and align your language content to those skills.

Let's look at some examples of activities that can be used in Stage 4 language classes. Reading a menu in the target language and calculating costs, discounts, percentages. This can include calculating an appropriate tip, or 10% of takeaway items. In Japanese, you may want to include calculating costs based on sushi tray and plate colours, and comparing the prices in Australia and Japan. Creating budgets and calculating currency conversions for shopping in the target-language country. Using a map, students could produce an itinerary for travel, incorporating time zones and calculating distances. Providing students with a budget to work within means they will need to compare costs for accommodation, venues, and meals. Students can also work out travel times based on their travel speed. Using transport timetable and apps in the target language to understand and interpret information. Using the target language to summarize, analyse, and describe data represented in graphs. For example, students use a target language to conduct a survey of classmates to find out what they usually eat for breakfast, then construct and interpret bar graphs and sector graphs. Interpreting data from sporting events, such as World Cup tournaments or the Olympics, including calculating the percentages of medals won by each country or representing data through different tools.

Narrator 1:

Every teacher needs to embed numeracy into their teaching and learning programs. Numeracy skills can only be developed when numeracy is implemented across the curriculum and across a range of contexts. This involves a whole school focus, with numeracy skills explicitly taught through every syllabus and by every teacher. You will find that there are many opportunities within the languages classroom to embed numeracy activities, while implementing authentic and engaging lessons.

Narrator 2:

Thank you so much for taking the time to watch this video today. You can learn more about numeracy at our website.


End of transcript

All teachers are responsible for supporting the numeracy development of their students at a Stage-appropriate level. Language learning enhances numeracy skills through communication, problem solving, reasoning and by developing an understanding of language as a system. When we develop students’ numeracy skills, they become more confident with applying mathematical skills across a range of contexts.


Our Stage 5 unit starter – a sustainable future, making changes together (DOCX 383 KB) – may guide you in planning a unit of work to support this cross-curriculum priority.


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