CLIL: the next teaching challenge

Atri, May 29th 2014
Adriano Forcella
What exactly is CLIL?
 Content and Language Integrated Learning
It means learning new subject matter through the
medium of a non-native language
Content first!
It is important to notice that “content” is the first word
in CLIL (curricular content leads language learning)
Why is CLIL a challenge?
 Introducing CLIL into Italian schools poses a number of problems,
such as:
CLIL is complex
There is no single model for CLIL – the context is to be taken into account
Who is to teach CLIL? Subject teachers, of course! They need to be
Curricular teachers in CLIL programmes have to know the specific
academic language that learners need (They often lack the language
New approach is sometimes difficult to accept
Teacher overload, lack of motivation, shortage of materials
Lack of shared assessment criteria
Why is CLIL an opportunity?
It is authentic, naturalistic learning, language bath and real
Accelerates learning
Primacy of meaning over form
Fosters communicative competence
Nurtures a feel good (fun!) and can do attitude
Fires the brain up, fires the neurons, rejuvenates teaching
Serves as a platform for students’ interest in other
languages and cultures
Gives feelings of professional satisfaction and cooperation
to teachers
Why CLIL? Which goals?
The basic principle is ...
use as you learn and learn as you use not learn now and (maybe)
use later
Develop intercultural communication skills
Prepare for internationalisation
Provide opportunities to study content through different perspectives
Access subject-specific target language terminology
Improve overall target language competence
Develop oral communication skills
Diversify methods & forms of classroom practice
Increase learners’ motivation
 Content
 Communication
 Cognition
 Culture
These four principles are essential to the
CLIL approach . They should be used as
the framework for creating and
delivering successful lessons
 Content refers to the
subjects or theme of the
lesson or course.
Examples of different
content areas include
physics, science, maths,
history, geography,
 When planning the
content of our lessons it
is essential to think of
the knowledge, skills,
and understanding we
want our students to
learn (but not only
knowledge, competences
e. g.)
Communication refers to students using the target
language to communicate their thoughts, opinions,
attitudes, and discoveries related to the lesson content.
Both speaking and learning are emphasized as students
“learn to use the language and use language to learn”.
 Students engage in meaningful interaction with each other. Group
work is very common.
 The aim is for students to produce authentic language, not to
memorize grammar rules and parrot the teacher.
 The teacher serves as guide/facilitator
 Cognition refers to the critical thinking skills that
students use to engage with and understand course
content, to solve problems, and to reflect on their
 Culture (also known as community and citizenship)
refers to the learning community of a class and school
and more broadly to local and global cultures.
Students are encouraged to understand themselves as
citizens of the world und understand both their own
culture and other cultures. The ultimate goal is to
promote the international awareness and
Conceptual map for understanding CLIL: holistic,
symbiotic view (developed by Do Coyle)
Language Triptych
Three interrelated types of language
 L of learning – content obligatory language related to
the subject theme or topic
 L for learning – language needed to operate in foreign
language environment (for pair/ group work, asking
questions, debating, etc.)
 L through learning- new language that cannot be
planned. This emerging language needs to be captured,
recycled and developed so that it becomes a part of a
learner’s repertoire
Considerations when planning a CLIL lesson
 Activating prior knowledge – it is helpful to start the
lesson by finding out what the learners already know
about the topic.
 Input and output – teachers need to plan the input
and also the learners output.
 Wait time – the time teachers wait between asking
question and learners answering them.
 Cognitive challenge – learners usually need
considerable support to develop their thinking skills in
a non-native language.
Considerations when planning a CLIL lesson
 Collaborative tasks – tasks involving learners in
meaningful pair or group work activities.
 Material and resources
 Cross curricular links
 Assessment
What difficulties do CLIL teachers
have to face?
 Subject teachers need to be confident about their language
 Be able to present and explain concept in their subject area
clearly and accurately
 Check pronunciation of subject-specific vocabulary
 Be able to use appropriate classroom language to present
new concepts, to question, to guide, to suggest …
What difficulties do CLIL learners
have to face?
 Most learners need considerable support in the first
two years of CLIL courses
 Learners may need support in input and task
How can CLIL teachers overcome
the difficulties they face?
 What can subject teachers do?
 Use an online dictionary with audio function to hear the
pronunciation of specific vocabulary;
 Use a grammar reference book in order to practice the
language needed;
 Make sure the learners know the language needed to
talk about their subject area;
 If possible, they can plan curricular topics with the
language teachers so as he can benefit from the
colleagues’ area of expertise.
How can CLIL learners overcome
the difficulties they face?
 What helps learners learn?
 Large use of vocabulary and diagrams on the worksheets
 Use of labs and workshops with the exploitation of the related
 Use of pictures
 Use of easy words for the explanations
 Building of a scientific glossary
 Add a list of vocabulary and illustrations
 Maybe put the most difficult words with translation
 Appropriate tasks to motivate the learners, involve their
interaction and develop their thinking skills.
 Self evaluation
 Plenary
Thank you for your kind attention!

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