Number one for English language teachers

Is CLIL the future of TEFL?

CLIL means a reevaluation of the role of the language teacher in the classroom. CLIL will have more language teachers working more closely with the content curriculum in their language classes. It will also see more TEFL teachers introducing more content into their language teaching.

There are many factors for this phenomenon

  • The ‘Graddol’ factor – children (and parents) are demanding much more than traditional EFL and teachers and schools will be dragged with them (whether they want to or not). 
  • The private sector has boomed on the gap in the education market. English-medium IB shools are appearing in the state sector and in Eastern Europe. Newly created IB schools have already graduated their first intakes of students. In short, learners want more than what the state education provides. CLIL provides more options.
  • Sheer boredom factor – students and teachers are bored with trivia in the language classroom, bored of made up people in made up texts about made up scenarios and made up lives and pub quiz questions like ‘What is a gorilla likely to do when it’s angry?’ Language learning has to come from the learner focus.
  • The ‘official’ CLIL line which states that learning language by doing something with it is the way to go for foreign language learning. The fastest growing group of subscribers at last count for the Science Across the World programme ( is from language teachers looking for this ‘something to do’.
  • Writers and publishers are slowly moving to a topic-based and task-based approach and away from the A to Z of lexis and grammar approach. One project mentioned, for example, is a language course book writing project where the books and resources are written based on global content themes such as ‘business and technology’. The really interesting thing about the project is that the ‘language’ which is taught in the materials comes from an analysis of the themes, the age group, the content of their curriculum subjects which are related to these themes, the skills they are likely to need within the content themes and this language is embedded throughout the materials along the way.
  • Good projects lead by example such as that shown by the role of language teachers in the Spanish Bilingual Programme where language teachers troubleshoot problem areas highlighted during the content lessons.

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