A holistic approach to language sees it as a whole, which is not divisible in a meaningful way for teaching. This contrasts with an atomistic approach to language, which attempts to analyse language into parts, such as grammatical structures or functional exponents, which can later become the content of a syllabus. A holistic approach would focus on everything the learner needs to know to communicate effectively.

Young learners have a set of daily tasks in the classroom including cleaning the board and collecting materials. This is all done in the target language.

In the classroom
Content-based instruction, language across the curriculum, the Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach and topic-based syllabi take a holistic approach by using a framework of meaningful content.