What is Whole Language?

What is “whole language”?

The Whole Language Umbrella (WLU) is based on a view of Whole Language as a dynamic philosophy of education. While no test of conformity to a set of beliefs is imposed on members, WLU accepts nine beliefs as common to whole language practitioners. 

  • A holistic approach to the acquisition and development of literacy in all its aspects.
  • A positive view of all human learners.
  • A belief that language is central to human learning.
  • A belief that learning is easiest when it is from whole to part, when it is in authentic contexts, and when it is functional for the learners.
  • A belief in the empowerment of learners and teachers.
  • A belief that learning is both personal and social and that classrooms and other educational settings must be learning communities.
  • An acceptance of all learners and the languages, cultures and experiences they bring to their education.
  • A belief that learning is both joyous and fulfilling.
  • A belief in the developmental nature of learning which builds on learners’ prior knowledge and experience.
(from NCTE, Whole Language Umbrella)

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