A debate about global education and the role of English as the language of instruction
Content and Language Integrated Learning (Clil) and the use of English as the language of instruction has moved from experimental research to the centre of global education. As pressure grows on governments and education planners to raise English language levels, the promise of teaching the language while teaching other subjects has become hard to resist. But Clil and English-medium raises important issues of ethics, it challenges the role of EL teachers and there is concern that its implementation is outpacing a measured debate about the impact on students and teachers of using an L2 as the medium of instruction.
English Language teachers have a very important voice in that debate and the Guardian Weekly, in association with Macmillan Education, staged a special debate about Clil and its impact on English language teaching at the 2005 International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language conference in Cardiff in April.
On these Clil Debate pages we have compiled an information resource about Clil and English medium.
You can read articles by the three debate presenters and hear audio highlights from their presentations (below).
You can also read highlights from the debate question and answer session.Read the transcript here
You can learn more about Clil and English medium from our background articles Read the articles here
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Learning English or learning in English: will we have a choice?
Guardian Weekly Macmillan Education debate at Iatefl 2005
Location: Iatefl Annual Conference, Cardiff
Date: Friday 8 April 2005
Where is Clil? What will it mean for traditional English language teaching? How should Clil be implemented? These are the core questions that our panel of experts presenting on and discussed at the Iatefl conference in April.
Catherine Walter lectures at the Institute of Education, University of London and is co-author of The Good Grammar Book
David Marsh is one of Europe's leading Clil experts.
Having defined Content and Language Integrated Learning (Clil), David Marsh opened by showing how it is applied worldwide. Although there are substantial differences globally, various core methodological and theoretical issues are common to all regions. These were introduced as drivers, the forces behind the spread of English as the medium of instruction, and enablers, the practical tools and platforms that enable it to take root and were brought together in an attempt to answer a commonly voiced question: Is Clil the Trojan Horse that will drive English ever deeper into the heart of national educational systems?
Gisella Lange is a senior language education policy maker in Northern Italy.
Clil has had an important implementation in Italy, particularly in northern regions, and different forms of Clil have developed within schools (eg language-led, subject-led varieties). In the past three years the regional education authority in Lombardy has offered web-based training courses aimed at creating Clil didactic modules to be used by language and subject teachers in their classes. Team-work and interactive approaches have created productive dynamics in class developing good practice of "integrated" teaching and learning.
David Graddol is a leading writer, broadcaster and lecturer on issues related to global English
In a world in which English seems so much in demand it may seem perverse to suggest that English teachers, as we know them today, are an endangered species. This, however, may be one of many significant consequences of a global shift towards Clil. Such trends are likely to transform the role of English teachers and their relationships to learners and institutions. As English becomes positioned as a generic learning skill, alongside basic literacy and maths, and is taught to ever-younger learners, English specialists may find themselves more marginalised and their professional knowledge and experience less influential in the way English curriculums are designed and delivered. David Graddol drew on new research carried out for the British Council which explores recent and future trends in English worldwide and commented on their likely impact on the ELT profession and business.