Subject-specific Literacy and numeracy.

We are addressing the disciplinary literacy and numeracy in the subject-specific area that I aim to teach on completion of my teaching degree. My passion is in the arts, hence this blog will be looking closely at disciplinary literacy and numeracy for art and drama.
There are three specialised concepts of literacy and numeracy being;
• Basic literacy and numeracy,
• Intermediate literacy and numeracy and
• Disciplinary literacy and numeracy. (Shanahan & Shanahan, 2012)
To describe disciplinary literacy and numeracy in brief is; greater in-depth comprehension of literacy and numeracy within each subjects structure. Literacy and numeracy is not one and the same in every subject area, hence teachers need to understand how to apply the principles of numeracy and literacy to their own specific subject discipline(Shanahan & Shanahan, 2012).
As a teacher’s subject approaches more complex/in depth content, disciplinary literacy and numeracy become imperative in providing students with the contextual understanding to more easily learn that subject matter. This will also help the students better prepare themselves for future jobs opportunities within the real world (Wenz, 2017).
Sir Francis Bacon said “knowledge is power” (, 2017). This implies that the more an individual knows about a subject or text, the more power you have in controlling or adapting the subject into daily life (Editors, 2017). Through jour understanding of literacy and numeracy and how it is a part of community and individual lives, having greater knowledge in a specific discipline helps us be fluent in that subject’s text. To have knowledge in a specific discipline means not only knowing how to implement the subject or activity but also why we need to do so (Johnson, Watson, Delahunty, McSwiggen, & Smith, 2011).
Art and drama are subjects that people generally don’t recognise as a subject with literacy and numeracy integrated into the curriculum. (Bela, 2014). Text can be adapted to all sorts of language. In these two types of disciplines, one does not actually have to be speaking for a receiver to understand the language text. The language used in art and through art is by observing the art piece and reading the emotions and story by its colour, movement, texture and sometimes actual text. (M. G. H. Education, 2005).
Communication skills in literacy, can be improved with the use of drama. Drama has been used to assist the improvement of student’s vocabulary, dialogue and writing skills, with subject-specific activities such as, team exercises, writing and reading role-plays, interpreting character through text and performance marketing (Farmer, 2017).
Artistic Mathematics is constantly used throughout the artistic proses from, brainstorming your ideas to trying to mount the art into its designated space (A. Education). An artist needs mathematics to measure, to enlarge/reduce the art piece, judging space given or not to areas, simple shape structures best suited to keep the piece balanced and upright (Graeme, 2014).
Drama uses mathematics with timing throughout a play, space on the stage, ticket pricing, space with props and backdrops and various other objects like costume adjustments (Bela, 2014).
In conclusion, developing discipline-specific knowledge for use in the classroom, will allow students to develop a greater understanding of the particular subject, and understanding why and how to apply the literacy and numeracy tools.


Bela. (2014, 14 June 20017). Numeracy in drama lessons. Retrieved from (2017). Francis Bacon Quotes. Retrieved from
Editors, B. c. (2017). Francis Bacon Retrieved from
Education, A. Numeracy fact sheet
Education, M. G. H. (2005). The elements of art. Retrieved from
Farmer, D. (2017). teaching literacy through drama. drama teaching features. Retrieved from
Graeme, T. i. (2014). Where’s the numeracy in the visual arts? Retrieved from
Johnson, H., Watson, P. A., Delahunty, T., McSwiggen, P., & Smith, T. (2011). What It Is They Do: Differentiating Knowledge and Literacy Practices across Content Disciplines. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 55(2), 100-109. doi:10.1002/JAAL.00013
Shanahan, T., & Shanahan, C. (2012). What Is Disciplinary Literacy and Why Does It Matter? Topics in Language Disorders, 32(1), 7-18. doi:10.1097/TLD.0b013e318244557a
Wenz, R. G. a. C. (2017). Three direction for disciplinary literacy. In Literacy in Every Classroom.




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Hi my name is Brier and i was born and raised in QLD Australia. I have recently started uni in high school teaching and in this blog i will be answering questions relating to an assignment about literacy and numeracy. there for painting you a mental pitcher of literacy and numeracy.

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