This module gives you the opportunity to think about and practise some ideas for teaching language.
Communication as one of the 5 Cs of CLIL refers primarily to the use of a targeted language for learning. For the subject being taught through CLIL, students need to know:
- Grammatical structures
- Functional language (the language that is meant to achieve a particular purpose, such as making or agreeing to a suggestion)
- Go to your Learning Diary and do Task 1 – Reading about the language that CLIL teachers teach.
- When students and teachers first change to using an additional (or targeted) language for classroom learning and teaching, language can feel like a barrier rather than a means to communication. However, CLIL language learning is set in the context of content learning, and so is always relevant and of immediate use to students. It develops in step with content knowledge, and is taught in bite-sized amounts which the teacher can plan for outside the classroom.
- Some practical tips for CLIL teachers dealing with new language:
- There are several things you can do when you are unsure of pronunciation. Go to your Learning Diary and do Task 2 – Pronunciation tips.
- So that learners can be more relaxed in their language use, CLIL teachers focus on subject-related concepts and understanding, rather than on language accuracy. Instead of highlighting language mistakes immediately, you can reformulate (where the teacher responds to a mistake with a correct form of the language in use), or delay correction until a later stage of the lesson. Go to your Learning Diary and do Task 3 – Practising reformulation.
- Try to avoid asking the question ‘Do you understand?’ Students are often unwilling to answer ‘No’; but if they say ‘Yes’, we still can’t be sure that they really do understand, or just think that they do. Instead, to check understanding of new vocabulary, ask questions which are easy to understand, and can be answered with only one word, preferably ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. These are known as concept-checking questions (CCQs). Go to your Learning Diary and do Task 4 – Practising CCQs.
- Collect useful language for your subject.
- A good place to collect subject-specific language is a school textbook written for native speakers of the target language.
- For the language that students need to learn to enable them to communicate with each other and with the teacher (BICS), ask one of the language teachers in your school to show you the language course book(s) used in your school, and find examples of functional language such agreeing or disagreeing, asking for information, making suggestions or sharing opinions.
- For the words students need to know to organize and express their thoughts (CALP), see the Academic Word List, which gives the words most commonly used in academic texts, divided into sub-lists depending on frequency.
Task 5 – Preparing to teach a grammar structure
Task 6 – Preparing to teach vocabulary
Task 7 – Planning classroom instructions and questions.