Cognition, Literacy, and Curriculum

  • Trevor J. Gambell


If educators were asked to reduce the goals of education to just two major ones, it is quite likely they would say that the development of cognitive (thinking) abilities was one, the development of literacy the other. Cognitive development has been traditionally assumed to be a goal addressed by all academic areas of the curriculum (science, social studies, mathematics, English language arts) and literacy has been almost the sole responsibility of the English language arts curriculum. English language arts teachers have developed their meanings for literacy whilst other subject area specialists have very different meanings for what constitutes literacy within their respective subject areas. Thus subject area specialists have different expectations for their students’ use of language than do teachers of English language arts. It is little wonder then that English language arts teachers have considered some of their students literate while some subject area teachers have complained that the very same students are unable to write well, speak effectively, and comprehend the language of instruction in their subject areas. The reverse is also true.


Subject Area Oral Language English Teacher Document Reproduction Specialized Vocabulary 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Trevor J. Gambell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Curriculum Studies, College of EducationUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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