Dear colleagues all over the world!
Last week I discussed about projects I have organised with my students and mentioned some examples of their outcomes. I must recognise that all of them were very creative and offered students plenty of opportunities to espress themselves. I also mentioned advantages and disadvantages of doing this kind of work with adolescents and it was evident that advantages outweighed disadvantages.
In this occasion I would like to deal with another topic which is also related to project work and the teaching of Language and Content, namely CLIL. Mehisto, Marsh and Frigols (2008:9) conceptualise CLIL briefly as a “dual-focused educational approach in which an additional language is used for the learning and teaching of both content and language”. As an example I can mention the case of bilingual schools in Argentina where students choose to attend classes in which they prepare for international exams on subjects they attend only in English. At a school I know these subjects are Literature, Maths, Art and Economy.
Nevertheless, the majority of schools in the country are not as privileged as the one described above in respect to the amount of periods of exposure to the foreign language. This fact should have hindered some schools to begin the teaching of content and language in an integrated way. Some years ago I began reading about Content Based Instruction and its characteristics as part of postgraduate studies, and noticed that little by little the concepts developed in me until I stared projecting some innovations to be carried out at my school.
Firstly I would like to summarise some ideas explained by Mehisto et al. (2008:7) as regards a general view of CLIL and its characteristics:
• Implies innovation, new ways of working and changing the way we do things.
• Contributes to an integrated academic work replacing fragmentation.
• Creates fusion between subjects that have been apart.
• Invites convergence between the learning of content and language.
• Encourages independent and co-operative learning.
• Contributes to create a common purpose and forums for lifelong development.
• Adds extra value to language learning.
• Helps students build integrated knowledge and skills for an increasingly integrated world.
In subsequent posts I intend to continue analysing CLIL and its many related areas, variations and adaptations, as well as comment on some pilot experiences already started at school. I would like to know about your points of view as regards the topic, as well as share any experiences you might have thad hanks to the application of CLIL. Kind regards,
Paula, Tucuman, Argentina
References: Mehisto, P, D. Marsh and M. Frigols (2008) Uncovering CLIL: Content and Language Integrated Learning in biligual and multilingual education. Macmillan Education. Oxford. UK