Teaching English with CLIL methodology
Fame Institute uses CLIL teaching approach (Content and Language Integrated Learning) which is acompetence-based teaching approachthat is gaining ground in European education systems. The idea is to teachboth the subject and the language,and is captured in the phrase "using language to learn, learning to use language". CLIL encourages the use of curricula which promote the right interpersonal skills, cultural sensitivity and communication and language abilities which are in demand by today’s employers.
According to the 4Cs curriculum (Coyle 1999), a successful CLIL lesson combines elements of the following:
- Content - Progression in knowledge, skills and understanding related to specific elements of a defined curriculum
- Communication - Using language to learn whilst learning to use language
- Cognition - Developing thinking skills which link concept formation (abstract and concrete), understanding and language
- Culture - Exposure to alternative perspectives and shared understandings, which deepen awareness of otherness and self.
In a CLIL lesson, all four language skills should be combined. The skills are seen thus:
- Listening is a normal input activity, vital for language learning
- Reading, using meaningful material, is the major source of input
- Speaking focuses on fluency. Accuracy is seen as subordinate
- Writing is a series of lexical activities through which grammar is recycled.
Learners are expected to be able to reproduce the core of the text in their own words. Since learners will need to use both simple and more complex language, there is no grading of language involved, but it is a good idea for the teacher to highlight useful language in the text and to categorise it according to function. Learners may need the language of comparison and contrast, location or describing a process, but may also need certain discourse markers, adverb phrases or prepositional phrases. Collocations, semi-fixed expressions and set phrases may also be given attention as well as subject-specific and academic vocabulary.
Tasks for students
There is little difference in task-type between a CLIL lesson and a skills-based ELT lesson. A variety of tasks should be provided, taking into account the learning purpose and learner styles and preferences. Receptive skill activities are of the 'read/listen and do' genre. A menu of listening activities might be:
- Listen and label a diagram/picture/map/graph/chart
- Listen and fill in a table
- Listen and make notes on specific information (dates, figures, times)
- Listen and reorder information
- Listen and identify location/speakers/places
- Listen and label the stages of a process/instructions/sequences of a text
- Listen and fill in the gaps in a text
Tasks designed for production need to besubject-orientated,so that both content and language are recycled. Since content is to be focused on, more language support than usual in an ELT lesson may be required.
Typical speaking activities include:
- Question loops - questions and answers, terms and definitions, halves of sentences
- Information gap activities with a question sheet to support
- Trivia search - 'things you know' and 'things you want to know'
- Word guessing games
- Classes surveys using questionnaires
- 20 Questions - provide language support frame for questions
- Students present information from a visual using a language support handout.