Friday, December 7, 2012

More on CLIL: "How to do it?"

CLIL – how to do it
If you've not worked in CLIL before, this article will give you a point to start from, in terms of both learners and materials. TeachingEnglish is currently growing its CLIL resources, and you can find more articles and activities on this page:
“Chris, we’ve been asked to work with some schools to develop their CLIL courses. Can you look after that?” That was the first time I heard the term CLIL. I said yes, not really knowing what I was letting myself in for, but now, many years down the line I hope some things I learnt can be of use to others having to design and teach CLIL courses.
Much has been written on what CLIL is and why to do it, for example the articles on TeachingEnglish, but there is very little practical guidance on how to plan and teach CLIL lessons. If you are a subject teacher who has been asked to teach in English (or any other language for that matter), or a language teacher who has been asked to help teach content then this article will show you where to start.
Where to startThe first things to think about when planning a CLIL lesson, or indeed a whole course, are the who and the what. That is who your students are – their level of English (or whatever the second language is), level of content knowledge, and their requirements. What refers to what you will teach, in terms of both content and language, and what materials to use. The who feeds in to the what.
Who your students areIn one secondary school in Italy that I taught CLIL in the students had generally quite a high level of English and that meant that I could focus more on the content side (here science and technology), using English as a vehicle for content. With these students, I was able to adapt material designed for native English pupils. On the other hand, in another school the English level was quite weak, so I had to go for a more language-oriented approach, focusing on the particular vocabulary related to the content areas (in this case art and design). With these pupils, native English text books were linguistically too hard for them, so I had to write and adapt my own materials to both teach key art and design vocabulary and also develop language skills, with the goal of allowing these students to be able to use “real” English content text books by their last year of school.
Cognitive load
Another important factor to consider when selecting materials is cognitive load – that is you don’t want to blow their brains with too much information. This can be done by choosing a relatively simple content area or by using an area that you have already covered in L1 and doing the CLIL lesson / course as revision and extension.
A colleague in a Japanese university recently explained to me how he chose his materials. He teaches an introductory English course to help science and engineering undergraduates be able to cope with the English that they will need later on at university. To do this he uses a science text book designed for native English secondary schools. This works very well for both teacher and student as the content level is not too hard, but provides an authentic context for the vocabulary that the students will need later on. As the book is already there with its exercises ready-made, all that remains for the teacher is to design activities to teach the language that is in the book.
Finding CLIL materials
There are also many sources of materials on the internet, some good ones are in the Links section of this site . One particularly useful one is Wikipedia, both the normal English and the 'Simple English' sites are great sources of texts that can be legally adapted and used in class.
If language teachers and content teachers are working together then it’s vital to work as a team. If you can then observe each other’s lessons and talk together. Content teachers will have loads of materials which you may be able to find equivalents of in English, and language teachers will probably have ideas as to how to exploit those materials for language.
How to exploit materials
When you’ve found a text that you want to cover (written or listening), the next question is how to exploit it. Here language teachers are in familiar territory, but subject teachers are probably less familiar with the techniques of how to exploit a text for language. One of the first aspects to think about may be the vocabulary – is there any technical or specialist vocabulary that your students need to know for the course or to understand the text? If so then you might want to pre-teach this by getting students to match words to definitions or pictures, or by making a gap-fill. Alternatively, you could help them discover the meanings through the text – helping them to guess meaning from context.
Your main activity will probably concentrate on general comprehension of the text. You can do this with comprehension questions, information gaps, jigsaw reading tasks, jumble tasks, or many of the other ideas on the Try section of TeachingEnglish.
Follow-up activities can work on reinforcing the vocabulary taught earlier and developing both language skills and comprehension of the topic. These activities can include group discussions, individual presentations, making posters and writing about the topic (for homework or in class).
Have a look at the CLIL activities on TeachingEnglish for more ideas.
David Graddol once noted that when CLIL works, it works well, but it is hard to do well. Hopefully this article will help you to avoid some of the pitfalls – spending too much time looking for materials and designing. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the rewarding experience of being a CLIL teacher – seeing your students develop their language as well as knowledge and understanding of the world. If you have any comments, please feel free to write them below and we can start a discussion on the area of CLIL lesson and course planning.
By Chris Baldwin

Learning English or Learning in English?

There has been a persistent debate among EL professionals in Vietnam on whether or not to offer ESP courses to university students. Some say yes, emphatically so, and others say NO! NO! NO!, vehemently. And it seems we still have to wait a long while before there is an answer to this question.

Well, I myself believe that students should not JUST learn English; it's boring and ineffective. There must be something about the content in the English lessons/courses that we offer our students. But how to do that I don't know.

In the UK and in the world, however, it seems that they have an answer ready for this. It's CLIL: content and language integrated learning.

But what is CLIL? Read the article below and you will find out.



Learning English or learning in English: will we have a choice?

A debate about global education and the role of English as the language of instruction
In association with Macmillan Education and OneStopEnglish

Content and Language Integrated Learning (Clil) and the use of English as the language of instruction has moved from experimental research to the centre of global education. As pressure grows on governments and education planners to raise English language levels, the promise of teaching the language while teaching other subjects has become hard to resist. But Clil and English-medium raises important issues of ethics, it challenges the role of EL teachers and there is concern that its implementation is outpacing a measured debate about the impact on students and teachers of using an L2 as the medium of instruction.

English Language teachers have a very important voice in that debate and the Guardian Weekly, in association with Macmillan Education, staged a special debate about Clil and its impact on English language teaching at the 2005 International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language conference in Cardiff in April.

On these Clil Debate pages we have compiled an information resource about Clil and English medium.

You can read articles by the three debate presenters and hear audio highlights from their presentations (below).

You can also read highlights from the debate question and answer session.Read the transcript here

You can learn more about Clil and English medium from our background articles Read the articles here

You can also send send us your comments about Clil and English medium and we will add them to a feedback section English or learning in English: will we have a choice?
Guardian Weekly Macmillan Education debate at Iatefl 2005

Location: Iatefl Annual Conference, Cardiff

Date: Friday 8 April 2005

Time: 9am-10.30am

Where is Clil? What will it mean for traditional English language teaching? How should Clil be implemented? These are the core questions that our panel of experts presenting on and discussed at the Iatefl conference in April.Chair
Catherine Walter
lectures at the Institute of Education, University of London and is co-author of The Good Grammar Book

David Marsh is one of Europe's leading Clil experts.
Having defined Content and Language Integrated Learning (Clil), David Marsh opened by showing how it is applied worldwide. Although there are substantial differences globally, various core methodological and theoretical issues are common to all regions. These were introduced as drivers, the forces behind the spread of English as the medium of instruction, and enablers, the practical tools and platforms that enable it to take root and were brought together in an attempt to answer a commonly voiced question: Is Clil the Trojan Horse that will drive English ever deeper into the heart of national educational systems?Read David Marsh's article
Hear highlights from David Marsh's presentation (5 mins)Gisella Lange is a senior language education policy maker in Northern Italy.
Clil has had an important implementation in Italy, particularly in northern regions, and different forms of Clil have developed within schools (eg language-led, subject-led varieties). In the past three years the regional education authority in Lombardy has offered web-based training courses aimed at creating Clil didactic modules to be used by language and subject teachers in their classes. Team-work and interactive approaches have created productive dynamics in class developing good practice of "integrated" teaching and learning.Read Gisella Lange's article
Hear highlights from Gisella Lange's presentation (5 mins) David Graddol is a leading writer, broadcaster and lecturer on issues related to global English
In a world in which English seems so much in demand it may seem perverse to suggest that English teachers, as we know them today, are an endangered species. This, however, may be one of many significant consequences of a global shift towards Clil. Such trends are likely to transform the role of English teachers and their relationships to learners and institutions. As English becomes positioned as a generic learning skill, alongside basic literacy and maths, and is taught to ever-younger learners, English specialists may find themselves more marginalised and their professional knowledge and experience less influential in the way English curriculums are designed and delivered. David Graddol drew on new research carried out for the British Council which explores recent and future trends in English worldwide and commented on their likely impact on the ELT profession and business.
Read David Graddol's article
Hear highlights from David Graddol's presentation (6 mins)