Number one for English language teachers

CLIL extra (for CLIL teachers)

Type: Article

In the first of two ‘CLIL extra’ articles, Adrian Tennant uncovers some hidden gems from onestopenglish that are suitable for subject teachers to use.

CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) is one of the buzz words from the noughties (2000-2009) in education. With books, websites, course and conferences dedicated to CLIL, the demand for materials has been incredible. There have been various approaches to the area and terms such as CLIL-lite, soft CLIL and hard CLIL have been coined to cover some of these approaches. Sometimes subject teachers are required to teach their subject in English; while at other times English teachers are asked to teach content, or subject matter, in their English classes.

In this, the first part of 'CLIL extra', we look at some resources on onestopenglish which are useful for subject teachers. In the second part of CLIL extra, we look at material on onestopclil which is suitable for EFL teachers who want to include content in their classes.

One final thing before we take a look at the materials. As this article is for subject teachers, whose focus is almost always on the content as opposed to the language and who often have concerns about dealing with language, the majority of material highlighted has a strong content focus. Where there is a language focus, it is felt that it is relatively straightforward and doesn’t need specialist knowledge to deal with it.

This article looks at materials from the following sections:
 
Lesson Share
| Vocabulary | News Lessons | Skills | Materials for the teacher | Conclusion

We will be looking at suggestions for teachers of the following subjects:

  • Maths
  • Science
  • Environmental studies
  • Geography
  • Physical Education
  • Economics
  • Business studies
  • History
  • Media studies
  • Health studies
  • Cookery/Food
  • Tourism
  • Art

Lesson Share

You can find some great materials specifically written for CLIL in the Lesson Share section, with some interesting lessons covering subjects like maths and science and two really interesting lessons – one on Earth hour (Environmental studies) and also a really fun lesson on road signs. The best thing about these lessons is that are written by real CLIL teachers, teaching in schools around the globe, right now. Why not share your CLIL lesson with colleagues from around the world? Email webeditor@macmillan.com with your lesson.

Vocabulary

If you liked the lesson on road signs, check out the series called A sign of the times in the British English vocabulary lessons part of the Vocabulary section. The material has a lesson plan giving clear ideas on how to use the signs with a real focus on the content as well as on the language.

In the Vocabulary lesson plans section there is also a lot of material that lends itself really well to CLIL classes as many of the topics and themes are content related. For example, this lesson on colour and decor would work really well for an art class or with students studying design. The lesson probably has slightly more focus on the language than many subject teachers would usually include, but the language work is on things like synonyms, collocations and idioms rather than grammar. Then there’s a lovely lesson on climate which would work really well in a geography class, as would the lessons on weather.

One subject where there is often a lack of CLIL material is Physical Education, but on onestopenglish you could use the following material that focuses on sport:

Finally, if you’re teaching American English then you could try one of the following worksheets:

News Lessons

Another rich area of onestopenglish to delve into is the News Lessons section. These lessons are always up-to-date and you may find that your students are even talking about the issues in the stories because they’ve read something in the newspapers or seen something on TV – this can be incredibly motivating. Another useful aspect is that these lessons are at different levels – elementary, intermediate and advanced – meaning that if you find one you think would be useful with your students, you won't need to rewrite or edit anything in order to make it suitable for their level of English.

Over the last year or so there have been news lessons that would have worked really well for a variety of subjects. For example, early in 2009 there was a news lesson about a prediction made by astronomers about our galaxy and the milky way – this would have been great for some science classes; and if you teach geography, there were lessons on car emissions, the growing population of the world and climate change in Russia. Finally, for any students studying media studies, business studies or who are involved in debating societies, etc. then this is an amazing source of material.

Each news lesson is available on onestopenglish for a year in order to keep the topics current and relevant to your students. New news lessons are published every week, so there will be plenty that are worth looking at to see whether or not they are suitable for the subject you teach.

Skills

The Reading skills section also has an array of lessons that can be used in CLIL classes. For example, there’s an excellent lesson on flags that works really nicely for students doing communication studies, or this lesson on chocolate for students in health studies or cookery/food classes. There’s also a lesson on the topic of obesity that lends itself to the same curriculum area. Finally, if you teach sciences (biology) why not try this lesson that looks at hybrid animals?

Often we restrict ourselves to teaching in the classroom and are forced to bring things into the classroom to link our lessons to the world outside. But why not take our classes outside and use the world around us to help teach our students? Here are a couple of articles from the Speaking skills section packed with ideas to do just this:

The two sets include ideas that would work really well in lessons on geography, tourism, biology, history, art and physical education.

Materials for the teacher

Of course, onestopenglish is more than simply a resource site for materials. It also includes two sections with ideas to help support teachers in the classroom – Support and Methodology. Many of the articles and ideas here are just as relevant to any subject classroom as they are to a language one.

For example, in the Teacher Support section there is an area called Ask the Experts, which includes some useful ideas on things such as using project work, public speaking and an article specifically written for using CLIL and encouraging subject teachers and English teachers to work together.

The Methodology section includes articles that can help any teacher. For example, this article on using L1 in the classroom, an article on ways to check homework, and an article on reflective teaching and CPD (Continual Professional Development) which, in recent years, has been given more prominence in many schools.

Conclusion

As you can see, onestopenglish is packed full of ideas and materials that can be useful to teachers of many subjects and not just to English Language Teaching. So, why not take the plunge, dive in and take a look around?

Good luck!

Adrian Tennant

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