Tattibayeva Saniya Bakhitovna
An English teacher of School№59
Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) is a term created in 1994 by David Marsh as a methodology similar to but distinct from immersion and content-based instruction. It is an approach for learning content through an additional language (foreign or second), thus teaching both the subject and the language. The idea of its proponents was to create an «umbrella term» which encompasses different forms of using language as the medium of instruction. The methodology has been applied in a business context in many countries and widely accepted as an effective approach. In Italy for example, it is being used as an accelerated method to teach management concepts in English to business people. One of its proponents and practitioners there is Dr Maurizio Morselli, a Human Resources professional and Executive Coach, who believes that «this hybrid immersion approach produces a lot more immediate results and it appeals to self-motivated adult audiences who possess a basic knowledge and understanding of the target language».
Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) plays an increasingly important role in language education, both as a feature of foreign language teaching and learning, and as an element of bilingual and plurilingual education. As learners develop their language competences, they are able to deal with evermore complex topics, so teaching material needs to offer learners interesting and challenging subject matter. One way to do this is through CLIL where language and subject teachers work together; language teachers acquire subject knowledge and subject teachers acquire expertise in combining language development with teaching the content effectively. Recent developments in CLIL have focused more specifically on academic literacy’s as well as on the use of CLIL approaches in the teaching of the language of schooling/majority language.
CLIL is fundamentally based on methodological principles established by research on «language immersion». This kind of approach has been identified as very important by the European Commission because: «It can provide effective opportunities for pupils to use their new language skills now, rather than learn them now for use later. It opens doors on languages for a broader range of learners, nurturing self-confidence in young learners and those who have not responded well to formal language instruction in general education. It provides exposure to the language without requiring extra time in the curriculum, which can be of particular interest in vocational settings.» This approach involves learning subjects such as history, geography, managerial skills/concepts or others, through an additional language. It can be very successful in enhancing the learning of languages and other subjects, and helping children develop a positive attitude towards themselves as language learners.
The European Commission has therefore decided to promote the training of teachers to «…enhancing the language competences in general, in order to promote the teaching of non-linguistic subjects in foreign languages».
CLIL objectives are varied, but among the most relevant ones the following can be pointed out (Coyle et al., 2010): To improve the educational system. To establish the necessary conditions that will allow students to achieve the appropriate level of academic performance in CLIL subjects. To improve students’ proficiency in both their mother tongue and the target language, attaching the same importance to each. To develop the intercultural understanding. To develop social and thinking skills.
CLIL advocates claim that this educational approach (Lorenzo et al., 2011): Improves L1 and L2 development. Prepares students for the globalized world. Increases students’ motivation to learn foreign languages. Promotes the learning of a more extensive and varied vocabulary. Enhances students’ confidence in the target language. Improves language competence in the target language, CLIL being more beneficial that traditional foreign language teaching courses. Helps develop the intercultural competence.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTENT AND LANGUAGE INTEGRATED LEARNING
There are a number of reasons why the development of CLIL is important in language education:
- Enriching the content of language learning and teaching makes it more interesting and more challenging. Language teaching which concentrates only on linguistic development does not provide the same opportunities for developing pragmatic and sociolinguistic competences; the intellectual challenges offered by good CLIL teaching have the potential to enhance cognitive growth.
- School timetables are crowded, so combining language classes with subject learning is a way of using time more efficiently. In many countries, learners can choose to present subject areas in one of the foreign or second languages they study in school. A bi- or pluri-lingual school-leaving diploma is an advantage both in terms of employment opportunities and for university entrance in many countries.
- All subjects have their own kind of literacy; the “languages” of mathematics and history, for example, have specific linguistic and discourse features. Language teaching in schools and universities needs to help learners to acquire these subject literacies, and the development of study skills is an important part of making progress in language competences, especially at levels B1 and above of theCEFR.
CHALLENGES IN CLIL AND RELATED RESEARCH
One of the key challenges in CLIL is how to optimise both language and subject teaching. In other words, if history or maths or a science is taught in a foreign language, how can we ensure that the learning is as deep as it would be if the subject were delivered in the learners’ first language? And equally, how can language progress be maximised when the main emphasis is on the content of lessons? Both of these have an impact on the selection and training of teachers for CLIL.
A further challenge is the development of CLIL teaching methodologies; these include the development of questioning and elicitation techniques, the uses of paraphrase and redundancy to make it easier for learners to assimilate information in a language in which they are not fully fluent. More developed didactic approaches are concerned with the way in which tasks can be scaffolded and information and concepts structured in ways which generate optimal learning.
It is also important for stakeholders – schoolchildren and their parents as well as administrators and education authorities – to be informed about what can and cannot be achieved by CLIL approaches.
There is a considerable body of research on these and other challenges – in the International CLIL Research Journal or the International Journal of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education, for example. There is also a considerable body of applied research into CLIL and practical development of CLIL methodology, much of it resulting from ECML projects. This includes frameworks and matrices for implementing skills, descriptors of the competences used in subject learning as well as resources for plurilingual activities in primary and secondary learning. Further details can be found in the resources section below.
CLIL AND BI- AND PLURI-LINGUAL EDUCATION
Although many of the approaches developed in CLIL are also relevant for bilingual education, the two domains are not identical. CLIL is referred to mainly in circumstances where the content of language learning is enriched by additional emphasis on providing stimulating content, whereas in bi- and plurilingual education the whole programme is designed to take place in two or more languages.
HOW THE ECML’S WORK CONTRIBUTES TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF CLIL
A series of ECML publications and projects are devoted to CLIL. These include guides for implementing CLIL in language education. They include a Framework for CLIL (CLIL CD), a practical guide to getting started with CLIL programmes (CLIL Start) and for their further development (CLIL Go) where the methodological skills needed by CLIL teachers are described and illustrated, and where there is a more theoretical approach to CLIL teaching. A further project, CLIL and Literacy, links plurilingual approaches and the development of literacy. Much of the literature on CLIL concerns the teaching of subjects in English, which is the most common language used in CLIL teaching. However, the CLIL Start and CLIL Goprojects focus on CLIL with other languages, especially with French and German.
In addition to these featured publication on CLIL, the ECML has a wide range of CLIL resources for teachers and teacher trainers working in different sectors and in different languages. And our website will take you to the relevant policy documents produced by theLanguage Policy Unit which complement ECML practical outputs, as well as to relevant EU resources.
- British Council BBC Teaching English David Marsh
- «What is CLIL?».Onestopenglish. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
- Commission Of The European Communities Promoting Language Learning and Linguistic Diversity: An Action Plan 2004 – 2006
- Journal of the European Union Council Resolution of 21 November 2008 on a European strategy for multilingualism
- An educational project calledECLIL was also supported from the European Union within the Lifelong Learning Programme EACEA Agency, to develop interactive resources for European schools.
- Coyle, D., Hood, P. & Marsh, D. (2010). CLIL. Cambridge: C.U.P.
- Lorenzo, F., Trujillo, F. & Vez, M. (2011). Educación bilingüe. Integración de contenidos y segundas lenguas. Madrid: Síntesis.