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CLIL in the classroom – Bring your lessons to life
- 26 September, 2016
- Posted by: Uptown English
- Category: Uncategorized
What is CLIL? CLIL (Content and language integrated learning ) is the most common terminology used at the moment for the idea of teaching a non-language subject such as physics, maths or geography in English. That is to say, the idea of the lesson is teach the main subject or teach about another topic. It is not soley an English language lesson. English is the delivery system for the lesson, helping to expose students to new vocabulary specific to other subjects that might not typically arise in a traditional English class. The idea is that knowledge of the language becomes the means of understanding rather than the sole objective. In this blog by Uptown English we will explore the reasons why we should all incorperate CLIL in the classroom and how to do so.
Why is CLIL a valuable addition to your repertoire?
- Learning English through other subjects provides an increased and more varied foundation of language for classes.
- When trying to understanding new ideas or learning about new topics listening and reading are by far the best delivery methods. Learning about an interesting subject such as space or the environment for example will interest many students, but in order to understand what is being taught about these subjects students will have to ask questions about language and hone their ability to read and listen in their second language. This inevitably leads to an improvement in students’ reading and listening skills – as well as a more varied vocabulary.
- It can be a great motivator if you are using English to understand a subject that you are very interested in, improvement in English becomes a necessity to improve in the core subject and communicate about said subject in the class. This can also lead to students exploring these topics in their own time and developing an affinity for reading articles or watching videos in English.
- Communicating about a wide range of subjects in English requires the equivalent of real life language application to communicate effectively and thoroughly about a range of topics and can therefore help to prepare students for using English for travel, work or study in the future.
- Accuracy is often prioritised in language learning in state schools. In Spanish schools for example grammar and lexical learning is given great importance whereas actually speaking English (the teacher or students) is, in too many schools, omitted entirely. This often leads to students with a good understanding of forms and structures but completely unable to speak or understand spoken English. CLIL learning on the other hand is very communicative. Accuracy is not the goal, but understanding the subject and being understood discussing the subject. Students develop fluency speaking and listening in English for a variety of purposes.
- CLIL learning is a different type of class, language meshed with another subject. This provides diversity for students and a change to their routine. Learning a subject with the added difficulty of doing so in 2nd language can be a great new challenge for students which is often the best motivator.
CLIL learning can help to prepare students for a variety of situations where they may be required to use their second language in the future, such as:
- Studying abroad
- Working with international companies
- Developing multilingual interests socially or in the form of entertainment
How can CLIL be integrated into language classes?
- More and more English books are incorporating CLIL methodology into their syllabi, take advantage of these pages and encourage students to engage in the subjects and discuss them.
- Use the subject of a reading or listening lesson expansively to create a wider lesson based on learning about the subject in a more holistic way taking advantage of the subject to teach associated language.
- Adapting or creating lessons based on the specific interests of your students. Ask them what they like! Use their passions to make lessons that you know will be memorable.
- Try to have fun! CLIL lessons can be boring if the students aren’t engaged, try to use topics and create lessons that will grab the students’ attention, teach them something and allow them to pick up as much language as possible along the way.