Learning across the curriculum

Learning across the curriculum content is incorporated in all new NSW syllabuses and identified by icons.

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.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

Our Stage 5 unit starter – a sustainable future, making changes together (DOCX 383KB) – 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 our 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

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

The department has also developed a digital learning tool selector, which 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.

To learn more about online collaboration, access our TIPD module Languages and online collaboration from our professional learning page.

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.

Our 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 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.

Image of intercultural communicator poster Image of intercultural communicator poster
Image: Intercultural communicator poster


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

Video – Literacy in languages

Transcript – Literacy in languages (DOCX 15KB)

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 15KB)

As with literacy, all teachers are responsible for supporting the numeracy development of their students. It's important the numeracy activities are age- and Stage-appropriate.

Sample numeracy activities

Visit the literacy and numeracy section of the department's website to:

  • learn more about Literacy and Numeracy Strategy 2017-2020
  • access professional learning, including introduction to the literacy and numeracy progressions
  • view a range of resources, including the national literacy and numeracy learning progressions and case studies.


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

If you need further assistance with accessibility for any of these resources, please get in touch with us at SecondaryEducationUnit@det.nsw.edu.au

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