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NSW Syllabuses

Learning across the curriculum

Learning across the curriculum content, including the cross-curriculum priorities and general capabilities, assists students to achieve the broad learning outcomes defined in the Board of Studies K–10 Curriculum Framework and Statement of Equity Principles, and in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (December 2008).

Cross-curriculum priorities enable students to develop understanding about and address the contemporary issues they face.

The cross-curriculum priorities are:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
  • Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia
  • Sustainability Sustainability

General capabilities encompass the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours to assist students to live and work successfully in the 21st century.

The general capabilities are:

  • Critical and creative thinking Critical and creative thinking
  • Ethical understanding Ethical understanding
  • Information and communication technology capability Information and communication technology capability
  • Intercultural understanding Intercultural understanding
  • Literacy Literacy
  • Numeracy Numeracy
  • Personal and social capability Personal and socail capability

The Board's syllabuses include other areas identified as important learning for all students:

  • Civics and citizenship Civics and citizenship
  • Difference and diversity Difference and diversity
  • Work and enterprise Work and enterprise

Learning across the curriculum content is incorporated, and identified by icons, in the content of the English K–10 Syllabus in the following ways:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures cross-curriculum area encompasses the concepts of Country and Place, People, Culture and Identity. In their study of English, students will have the opportunity to engage with texts that give them experience of the beliefs and value systems of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Students will develop knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture in Australia. In their study of English, students explore a range of experiences and achievements of Aboriginal peoples in historical and social contexts and the links between cultural expression, language and spirituality.

Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia

The study of English provides learning opportunities for students to explore and appreciate the rich tradition of texts from and about the people and countries of Asia, including texts written by Asian authors. They develop an understanding of the many languages and diverse Asian cultures and how they have influenced Australian culture. Through their study, students will develop an appreciation of the role Australia has played in Asia and the ongoing relationship Australia has developed with the countries that make up the Asian region.

Sustainability Sustainability

The study of English provides students with the skill required to investigate and understand issues of environmental and social sustainability, to communicate information about sustainability, and to advocate action to improve sustainability.

If people now and into the future are to be treated fairly, action to improve sustainability needs to be informed by a worldview of people, places and communities. Both literature and literacy are key elements in the development of each student's worldview. More sustainable patterns of living are largely shaped by people's behaviours. English provides an important means of influencing behaviours, facilitating interaction and expressing viewpoints through the creation of texts for a range of purposes, audiences and contexts, including multimodal texts and the use of visual language.

Critical and creative thinking Critical and creative thinking

Students develop critical and creative thinking by seeking new pathways or solutions when they evaluate knowledge, ideas and possibilities. English provides students with opportunities to think in ways that are critical and creative using information and ideas and arguments to respond to and compose texts, evaluate their own work and the work of others, and plan for future learning. These skills are integral to activities that require reason, logic, imagination and innovation. In learning to think broadly and deeply students use reason and imagination to direct their thinking for different purposes.

Ethical understanding Ethical Understanding

The study of English provides students with opportunities to strengthen their capacity for ethical understanding and commitment to ethical behaviour for occasions when they face uncertainty and conflicting claims in a range of contexts.

Opportunities arise for students to engage with situations or circumstances from the real or virtual worlds, or the imaginative worlds of texts that involve ethical or moral issues, dilemmas or decisions as they respond to and compose texts. Ethical issues are integral to many of the texts that students encounter in English.

Information and communication technology capability Information and communication technology capability

The study of English enables students to develop and apply knowledge, understanding and skills of ICT in their composing, responding and presenting, and as part of the imaginative and critical thinking they undertake in English.

Students have the opportunity to become competent, discriminating and creative users of ICT as they learn to use ICT effectively and appropriately when investigating, creating and communicating ideas and information. Students will learn about the ethics of information communication through technology.

Intercultural understanding Intercultural Understanding

Students develop intercultural understanding as they learn to understand their own identity in relation to others from different cultures and backgrounds.

The study of English offers rich opportunities for intercultural understanding and exchange. Students experience a range of literature from different cultures, including the inscriptional and oral narrative traditions of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as the contemporary literature of these two cultural groups. They also read classic and contemporary world literature, including texts from and about Asia.

Literacy Literacy

[Literacy is embedded throughout the English K–10 Syllabus. It relates to a high proportion of the content descriptions across K–10. Consequently, this particular general capability is not tagged in this syllabus.]

Literacy is the ability to use a repertoire of knowledge and skills to communicate and comprehend effectively in a wide variety of contexts, modes and media. Literacy knowledge and skills provide students with the foundations for current and future learning and for participation in the workplace and wider society. The knowledge and skills also provide opportunities for personal enrichment through social interaction, further education, training and skilled employment and a range of cultural pursuits, including engagement with literature and the arts. Literacy knowledge and skills also enable students to better understand and negotiate the world in which they live and to contribute to a democratic society through becoming ethical and informed citizens.

Being 'literate' is more than the acquisition of technical skills: it includes the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create and communicate purposefully using written, visual and digital forms of expression and communication for a number of purposes in different contexts. The English learning area has a particular role in developing literacy because of its inherent focus on language and meaning. However, all curriculum areas have a responsibility for the general literacy requirements of students as they construct meaning for themselves and others.

The established functions of speaking and listening, reading and writing, and viewing and representing remain central to being literate together with literacy demands related to a range of visual and multimodal texts, as well as those that have evolved from the growth of digital technologies. Students today need the knowledge and skills required for judicious use of these technologies and to question, challenge and evaluate the role of these technologies and the wider implications of their use for contemporary society.

Numeracy Numeracy

The study of English provides opportunities for students to develop their skills in numeracy by identifying and using numerical, measurement, spatial, graphical and statistical concepts and skills. Students strengthen their understanding of how issues and points of view that are based on data are represented in texts by developing their skills to identify, analyse and synthesise numerical information as they respond to the reliability of sources and methodology.

Personal and social capability Personal and socail capability

Students develop personal and social capability as they learn to understand and manage themselves, their relationships, lives, work and learning more effectively. There are many opportunities for students to develop personal and social capability in English. The study of English helps them to identify and express their own opinions, beliefs and responses and to interact confidently and appropriately in a range of social contexts. English provides students with opportunities to reflect on their own and others' learning and to assess and adapt their individual and collaborative skills for learning with increasing independence and effectiveness.

Civics and citizenship Civics and citizenship

Civics and citizenship content involves knowledge and understanding of how our Australian society operates. In their study of English, students demonstrate their active participation by considering how civic issues are represented in the public arena, the socially responsible construction and use of media, and the representation of Australian images and significant Australians.

Difference and diversity Difference and diversity

Students experience and value difference and diversity in their everyday lives. Age, beliefs, gender, language and race are some of the factors that comprise difference and diversity. English provides students with opportunities to deal with difference and diversity in a positive and informed manner, showing awareness, understanding and acceptance. It assists them to develop and express their sense of self, to connect with other people and communities and to understand the features of a fair and just society that values diversity. Through the study of texts from a range of perspectives, countries and times, English develops students' understanding of others and builds empathy for individual differences.

Work and enterprise Work and enterprise

English provides opportunities for students to develop knowledge, understanding and skills required in the workplace and to develop values and attitudes about work. English develops many of the key skills required for effective participation in work environments, including literacy, working in groups and skills in acquiring, processing, assessing and communicating information, both orally and in a variety of written forms. Through the study of English, students also develop an understanding of the ways in which language is used for particular audiences, purposes and contexts. Additionally, the study of texts with workplace contexts expands students' understanding of the world of work. The communication skills developed through the study of English provide a platform for students to undertake future vocational education and training.