n Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - The continual conundrum of the "language across the curriculum" issue : lessons from the Bullock report (1975) for South African higher education today

Volume 46, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-9570



The link between language and learning and how to develop language across the curriculum is a persisting theme in education research over time. In this article, the first in a series, we wish to contribute to the current vibrant debate about language issues in higher education - both internationally and locally. It primarily aims at providing a critical historical review of the conundrum of the "language across the curriculum" issue and its implications for the South African higher education sector. This is done by critically comparing current local circumstances to lessons learnt from the original context where the notion of "language across the curriculum" was presented to improve the quality of education in schools in the United Kingdom in the mid-1970's. The premise behind this is that "to interpret the developments within afield competently, one needs a sense of its history" (Weideman, 2011: IX). Adding a very specific historical perspective is thus, and indeed, a necessary point of departure as it may enable South African practitioners and policy makers to: (a) evaluate if all relevant information is considered in decision making today, and (b) situate strands of current thinking in a framework that could clarify assumptions and implications potentially accepted uncritically today.

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