jueves, 14 de febrero de 2008

Adapting Materials and Designing Effective Tasks for CLIL

Being faced with the problem of having texts which are not ready for use as such the teacher can look for various techniques to make texts more accessible to the learners. A useful model to help him to determine whether a text is suitable for his learners and what additional means may be needed is that of Cummins. This model enables the teacher to determine whether a text is cognitively demanding or whether the language may be too difficult. As such it is important for the teacher to determine how much contextual support there is available for his learner and how much (subject) information the learner has to process at a challenging level. On the basis of his analysis the teacher may make his decision not to use this text at all (e.g. in the case it is both cognitively and contextually too demanding) or what kind of support he would like to give his students. This may take the form of support which focuses very much on the language level (vocabulary, sentence structures, etc.) or support which will help the student towards a better understanding of the topic (mind maps, diagram’s, visual aids, etc.) However, the clil teacher is faced with a more challenging task than just understanding and processing of his subject. His other goal is to promote the language learning process of learners. Research shows that simple immersion is not enough. A lot more can be gained by integrating the subject tasks with language tasks and/or language awareness. Thus, if the geography student needs to compare two geographical areas for a specific assignment, the teacher can supply him with the language tools (comparisons) that he needs for this. At the same time the history teacher can point out certain language features which are being used to describe events which happened in the past. Reference: J. Cummins, 1981

Assessment in CLIL

To what extent does the assessment issue in CLIL pose different problems from those connected with the assessment of language in L2 teaching and subject competence in the disciplines? If we compare the two we are able to highlight the principle issues: · Integration The main feature of CLIL is its integrated nature - integration of content and language and the two types of learning connected with them. Thus the assessment issues concern whether to separate language assessment from content assessment. If so, how can this be justified? If not, how can dual assessment be effected? · Content learning objectives In CLIL situations content objectives must be reached. However, language problems may interfere with learner performance on content tasks thus impeding accurate or reliable assessment of the latter. The challenging question to address therefore is in test situations how can one recognize and assess content knowledge without ‘interference’ from potential learner difficulties in the L2? In other words what role should language play in CLIL assessment? Work is currently underway to answer these questions and already some solutions are being found. First of all the extent to which language is assessed in content teaching will depend on the projected learning outcomes of the programme. In most content teaching objectives there is a concern for the correct acquisition of the specialist vocabulary and this reveals itself through the presence of matching exercises /tests to associate, for example, a term with a definition or process, as also with completion exercises or cloze, etc. CLIL practitioners can take these formats and use them in a more purposeful fashion for CLIL (e.g. design a cloze test where some of the eliminated words concern content and others concern language only). Nonetheless, assessment of language cannot be limited to lexical items only. Learning language through content implies learning the language of the content which also includes morphosyntactic style, text types and genres as well as of the thinking skills associated with it (e.g. hypothesizing, analysing, speculating, etc). Thus different formats and assessment procedures need to be used to embrace the scope of the issue. Of interest to CLIL teachers are criterion-referenced tests (also called rubrics) with scale descriptors describing performance both in content and language which can focus even on one specific task. Also, a move to use performance-based formats (e.g. carrying out an experiment) and the use of checklists for assessing performance are a move in the direction of a qualitative as opposed to merely quantitative assessment. In addition, the advent of more formative assessment being embedded in CLIL courses brings with it alternative means of assessing learning as it is on-going. This suggests further exploration of peer assessment, portfolio work, and self-assessment and evidence collection to demonstrate both language progression as well as content capability. References Cummins, J. (1983): Language Proficiency and Academic Achievement, in Oller, J. W. Issues in Language Testing Research. Short, D.J. (1993): Assessing Integrated Language and Content Instruction, TESOL Quarterly, XXVII, 4.

Evaluating CLIL-outcomes

In the school curriculum CLIL outcomes obviously need to be considered in terms of the objectives inherent in the approach. Assessment and evaluation procedures need to be carefully considered, and transparency of rationale ensured, so that these are coherent and aligned to the approach. At the socio-cultural level CLIL outcomes can be regarded in broader terms, ranging from school development, and the profile of the school within a given community, through to impact on local and wider communities. The added value of CLIL can be described in terms of individual and social interests in terms of the economics of language, social inclusion & egalitarianism, gender equality, relevance and value of limited competencies, early language learning, and certification. For further information: http://europa.eu.int.comm/education/languages/index.html

Finding materials

Materials that are to be used by the content-teacher are difficult hard to find. The content teacher in a clil-classroom is looking for (text) materials that serve two purposes. On the one hand he needs materials that enable him to work on the curriculum aims for his subject as prescribed within his national school-programme. On the other hand he wants to use texts and other materials that can provide adequate language input for his learners. The latter implying that the material should not be too easy or too difficult, Using authentic materials often don’t meet these two demands and therefore the materials need to be adapted. This problem holds for authentic materials which can be found outside the educational sector, but also for materials which were designed for educational purposes in countries where the target language is spoken. Hence, in a lot of countries where clil is practiced there is a growing market of materials to be used inside the clil classroom. Professional networks, European educational development projects, publishers and others who produce purpose-designed materials, increasingly offer alternative forms of materials designed for CLIL.

CLIL & Literacy

The traditional definition of literacy is the ability to read and write. Literacy involves a complex set of abilities to understand and use the dominant symbol systems of a culture for personal and community development. The need and demand for these abilities vary in different societies, so that other forms of literacy may be recognised such as ‘computer’ literacy and ‘science’ or ‘maths’ literacy. In a technological society, the concept is expanding to include the media and electronic text in addition to alphabets and numbers. Individuals must be given life-long learning opportunities to move along a continuum that includes reading, writing, and the critical understanding and decision-making abilities they need in their communities. For example, an information literate person recognises the different levels, types and formats of information and their appropriate uses; recognises that accurate and complete information is the basis for intelligent decision making; recognises the need for information; formulates questions based on information needs; evaluates information; integrates new information into an existing body of knowledge and uses information in critical thinking and problem solving. In many European countries, there is a push towards integrating literacy skills into all aspects of the curriculum so that literacy is no longer only associated with mother tongue language teaching and especially reading and writing. Instead, the Literacy Movement advocates that all teachers are teachers of language and that the responsibility of extending and developing literacy skills in different contexts lies as much with content teachers as with language teachers. In the UK, the Bullock Report in the 1970s gave rise to an emphasis on cross-curricular language skills and an emphasis on all subject teachers taking responsibility for developing the literacy skills of their learners. More recently a drive to raise the standards in reading and writing has led to a renewed emphasis on literacy in all curriculum areas in the UK. In the CLIL setting, developing literacy skills is particularly relevant since whatever the subject, the teacher needs to take into account developing reading, writing and communication skills in the foreign language. An English CLIL school, where 11-year-old learners were exposed to half of their curriculum in French, reported that the effects of CLIL after one year had not only resulted in foreign language gains but also had improved literacy standards in the mother tongue (The Nuffield Language report 2000). It is recommended therefore that trainee CLIL teachers familiarise themselves with the Literacy Strategy associated with their national curriculum in order to consider how incorporating the development of literacy skills in CLIL lessons will support the both foreign and mother language use of their learners.

Classroom language/communication

Communication is at the heart of CLIL. The CLIL classroom therefore provides an authentic context in which to develop authentic communication skills. Classroom language is the language of participation in the learning process and of interaction between learners and between teachers and learners. It provides the basis for developing BICS (basic interpersonal communication skills) and enables learners to develop both their coping (metacognitive) strategies and their comprehension (cognitive) strategies. Classroom language is spontaneous and not dependent on linguistic progression. However, this type of classroom language needs to be modelled by the teacher, extended grammatically beyond the use of set phrases, and used as much as possible across a wide range of contexts. It also needs time to become part of the learners’ repertoire so that it has to be built into the planning of lessons in the same way that progression in the subject topic is carefully prepared. Most importantly, students need to be taught strategies for using language spontaneously from the start – even when their language skills may be weak – to enable them to say what they want or need to say. This is authenticity. The CLIL teacher must therefore plan tasks which will both initiate, support, develop and extend the students’ classroom language. Because in mother tongue subject teaching little attention is usually paid to classroom language, it is essential that this element of CLIL is neither overlooked nor left for the learner to assimilate over time. To raise awareness in trainee teachers, audio or video recording subject lessons taught in both the mother tongue and in L2, provides a practical basis from which to analyse classroom language and consider the implications for ‘teaching’ this explicitly as well as embedding it implicitly into the CLIL setting. Recommended Reading Harris, V., Burch, J., Jones, B., Darcy, J. (2001) Something to say? Promoting spontaneous classroom talk. London: CILT. Jones


martes, 12 de febrero de 2008

Learning English or learning in English: will we have a choice?

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

You can also send send us your comments about Clil and English medium and we will add them to a feedback section clil.debate@guardian.co.uk.

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

Time: 9am-10.30am

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?

Read David Marsh's article
Hear highlights from David Marsh's presentation (5 mins)

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.

Read Gisella Lange's article
Hear highlights from Gisella Lange's presentation (5 mins)

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.

Read David Graddol's article
Hear highlights from David Graddol's presentation (6 min

sábado, 9 de febrero de 2008


Análisis de diferentes modelos de enseñanza bilingüe

Desde que empezó el enfoque comunicativo a implementarse en los años setenta, se apuntaron las dos versiones posibles del mismo (Howatt 1984:279): la débil (learning to use English) y la fuerte (using English to learn), que han ido definiendo las características de los modelos de enseñanza que se han generado a posteriori. La versión débil promueve la actuación comunicativa del aprendiz (performance), mientras que la fuerte favorece el desarrollo de la competencia comunicativa (competence).
La versión fuerte del enfoque ha propiciado la aparición del enfoque basado en los contenidos (content-based approach) y/o la enseñanza bilingüe. El solapamiento y similitud entre ambos es enorme, como podremos apreciar más adelante.

Modelos de CBI

Los modelos de CBI dependen de las distintas variables que lo afectan: (a) el contexto -de segunda lengua o extranjera-; (b) el nivel educativo en el que se desarrolla; y (c) el balance entre lengua y contenidos.
De acuerdo con estas variables los siguientes modelos se pueden identificar (Snow 2001:305-309):

  1. Inmersión (Immersion). Establecida en primer lugar en Canadá en 1965, se concibe como el modelo de CBI prototípico. Al final de la educación Primaria, los estudiantes ya se pueden etiquetar como bilingües funcionales. Diferentes grados de inmersión se pueden señalar en relación al momento en el que los estudiantes se incorporan o abandonan el programa.
  2. Modelo intensivo a través de los contenidos(Content-enriched foreign language). Habitualmente se desarrolla en centros de educción Primaria y consiste en la selección de un número de asignaturas no lingüísticas de las incluidas en el currículum escolar, para ser impartidas de forma coordinada con el profesor generalista.
  3. Modelo basado en temas (Theme-based model). Se estructura en torno a temas que se seleccionan para proporcionar el contenido a partir del cual los profesores extraen las actividades de enseñanza de lenguas. Es un modelo puesto en práctica en una variedad amplia de contextos.
  4. Modelo de refugio (Sheltered model). Conlleva una separación de los aprendices de la segunda lengua de los estudiantes nativos. Este modelo proporciona a las minorías una oportunidad para acceder a clases que serían inalcanzables para ellos, en términos de complejidad, en una situación escolar normal.
  5. Modelo adjunto (Adjunct model). Típicamente utilizado en institutos y universidades, supone la matriculación de los estudiantes en cursos pareados, como por ejemplo Biología+Segunda Lengua. El modelo se caracteriza por la coordinación de la enseñanza de la lengua y la enseñanza de los contenidos curriculares.

Enseñanza bilingüe

En términos generales, el concepto de educación bilingüe se prefiere al de bilingüismo, y se entiende como el uso de una lengua segunda o extranjera para la enseñanza de materias curriculares no lingüísticas en contextos escolares. McGroarty (2001:345) define la educación bilingüe como:
one in which two languages are used as media of classroom instruction for the same group of students.

De acuerdo con Rennie (1993) and McGroarty (2001:346-349), varios programas de educación bilingüe se pueden distinguir, con sus particularidades específicas:

  1. Las situaciones en las que un estudiante, al incorporase al sistema escolar, y tras un periodo de tiempo, ve substituida su lengua materna por otra. Este modelo se denomina como educación bilingüe transitoria (transitional bilingual education). Una denominación también empleada para estos programas es la de salida temprana (early-exit). Habituales en centros de Primaria, con una duración entre 1 y 3 cursos, aunque también se llevan a cabo en Secundaria y Adultos.
  2. Los casos en los que la lengua materna de un alumno se usa para la enseñanza de ciertas materias mientras que la lengua de enseñanza escolar se utiliza para otras. Este modelo también se denomina educación bilingüe de mantenimiento (maintenance bilingual education) o modelo de salida tardía (late-exit) o de desarrollo (developmental).
  3. Aquellos programas en los que una segunda lengua, distinta a la lengua materna de los alumnos, se utiliza como medio de instrucción. Se denominan programas de inmersión (immersion programes). La dedicación horaria comienza con un porcentaje de 90/10, a favor de la lengua de inmersión, para terminar en una proporción de 50/50 después de varios años de instrucción.

Contextos para la educación bilingüe

Varios contextos se pueden identificar en función de los distintos sistemas escolares en los que se desarrollan:

Hay países bilingües o multilingües, como Canadá, Malta o Luxemburgo, en los que los estudiantes están expuestos a una lengua escolar distinta de su lengua materna. En estos casos, la segunda lengua es, con frecuencia, necesaria para vivir en el país, y el aprendiz encuentra numerosas oportunidades para practicarla fuera del sistema escolar. En la mayoría de casos, la segunda lengua que se enseña es una de las lenguas oficiales del país.

Hay otros países, oficialmente monolingües, como por ejemplo Estados Unidos, con una enorme población de inmigrantes, que llegan al país con un conocimiento cero o muy limitado de la lengua del país.

Una situación distinta es la que se percibe en países monolingües en los que los estudiantes, en diferentes grados, son expuestos a una segunda lengua, que no es lógicamente ninguna de las oficiales en el país. Este modelo se concibe como una alternativa, más intensiva, al modelo de enseñanza de lenguas tradicional en la mayoría de países europeos, por ejemplo.

En un sistema escolar, como el que se desarrolla en la Comunidad Autónoma Andaluza, esta última situación es la que responde a nuestra realidad escolar, a partir de la publicación del Plan de Fomento del Plurilingüismo (CE 2005).

Modelos de CBI

Modelos de enseñanza bilingüe

Sistemas escolares en los que se desarrollan

Sistemas escolares en países con más de 1 lengua oficial.
Sistemas escolares monolingües con mucha población inmigrante
Sistemas escolares monolingües con mucha población inmigrante
Basado en temas
Cualquier sistema
Sistemas escolares monolingües para ofrecer mayor exposición a la L2.
Inmersión Inmersión Sistemas escolares en países con más de 1 lengua oficial.
Sistemas escolares monolingües con mucha población inmigrante
MantenimientoSistemas escolares monolingües con mucha población inmigrante
TransitoriaSistemas escolares monolingües con mucha población inmigrante


(1) También denominado Content-based instruction (CBI), cuyas iniciales vamos a utilizar de aquí en adelante.


Abuja, G. (1999): Bilingual Education –Résumé of the work from 1995 to 1998.

Consejería de Educación (2005): Acuerdo de 22 de marzo de 2005, del Consejo de Gobierno, por el que se aprueba el Plan de Fomento del Plurilingüismo en Andalucía, en BOJA núm. 65, de 5 de abril.

Howatt, A.P.R. (1984): A History of English Language Teaching. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

McGroarty, M. (2001): Bilingual approaches to language learning, in Celce-Murcia, M. (ed.): Teaching English as a second or foreign language. Third edition. Heinle & Heinle, Boston, pp. 345-356.

Rennie, J. (1993): ESL and bilingual program models, Center for Applied Linguistics Digest.

Snow, M.A. (2001): Content-based and immersion models for second and foreign language teaching, in Celce-Murcia, M. (ed.): Teaching English as a second or foreign language. Third edition. Heinle & Heinle, Boston, pp. 303-318.

Dolores Lucena Serrano y Antonio R. Roldán Tapia

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