Transcript of the CLIL Debate, IATEFL 09, Cardiff
What was said at the CLIL debate in Cardiff? Here you can read the complete transcript.
David Marsh (DM): A very warm welcome to this part of the CLIL 2009 debate, which is hosted by Macmillan Education, The Guardian Weekly, and One Stop CLIL.
My name is David Marsh and I have the pleasure of chairing this session today. It is going to be a special session because we are going to have a number of opportunities to use the audience voting system. Have you all got one? Yes. Do you all know how to use one? No. Exactly, so I am going to hand over now to Jo Greig (JG) from Macmillan.
DM So, ladies and gentlemen, this debate started about two months ago on Macmillan's websites: onestopclil and onestopenglish and the Guardian website. There is a section on the Guardian site, as of about three weeks ago, called CLIL Voices which is teachers of different types talking about their experience of CLIL in a complementary way or in a more critical way and we are hoping that this will be a vigorous debate during the whole year. This is just one part of the debate.
There is a restriction of time but we are going to have another hour in the museum gallery coffee bar at about 10.00 when the team will be available, but let me now introduce, please, the team:
Hugo Baetens-Beardsmore, otherwise known as Hugo Baetens-Beardsmore, Emeritus Professor, Member of the Belgian Royal Academy and a world-famous figure with global experience of bilingual education and CLIL, who recently is contributor to a very interesting and important landmark book called Bilingual Education in the 21st Century by Ophelia Garcia. Hugo Baetens-Beardsmore,welcome.
The second person here is Sue Hughes. Sue is a specialist in languages and literacies based at the University of the West of England in Bristol and Sue is now running one of the pioneering British-based primary CLIL networks which has been set up over the last year.
Peeter Mehisto, who has experience of CLIL programming, of pedagogy and science and has worked in Canada, Switzerland and Estonia, based at the University of London and one of the editors, or the lead editor, of Uncovering CLIL, which was published in 2008 by Macmillan.
Mina Patel, Managing Director of 10 Education Consultants based in KL, Malaysia, has experience really as an ELT person working towards CLIL living in a very important country with respect to CLIL where some 5.5 million young people now are studying science and maths through English. A very warm welcome to you Mina.
Anna Maljers,Director of Education at the European platform in the Netherlands. Anna is really one of the pioneering figures of the development of CLIL in the early '90s and is now working in a country which has an astonishing 20% of all secondary schools in the country now offering some form of CLIL provision involving over 22,000 students. So welcome to you Anna.
And finally David Graddol, MD of the English Company UK. As we know, David is a very key figure in forecasting and looking at the future of English through his publication English Next but actually also through an awful lot of other activities which go through the scientific and practical world. A very warm welcome to David.
So this now is the panel that we have and what we are going to do is we are going to go into our first vote and we are going to ask the audience now to please work out how to use those wonderful gadgets that you have in your hands and answer this basic question:
1. Strongly agree
5. Strongly disagree
CLIL complements English Language Teaching
The good news is ladies and gentlemen that we are going to have this at the end as well so by then we will be so well practiced we will know how to do it.
CLIL complements English Language Teaching
Do the voting now.
JG And "Send" and then you will see the little yellow lights at the top, and that means that you have sent, so when all the little yellow lights …
DM Ah ….
This is what you call learning by doing.
OK, can we get those sent in?
Can we continue and leave this open? Right, OK.
So what I would like to do now is to open by handing the floor over to David Graddol and ask David to take the lead here now. Thank you.
Anchor Point:1David Graddol (DG)
Good morning. I just wanted to start things off this morning by drawing attention to what I feel is the significance of CLIL. I mean, CLIL has been now adopted, there is a kind of rush right around the world towards implementing CLIL, certainly in Europe, in many Asian countries, and in Latin American, and I think that it is rapidly becoming part of a new sort of orthodoxy about how English should be taught and indeed the purpose of teaching English. So the first statement is really just to see whether you agree with me that this actually represents some kind of seismic shift away from the kinds of values and practices which I think have been institutionalised in British EFL, and please note I am making that distinction about English as a Foreign Language which is incorporated into the IATEFL name, which has been institutionalised in EFL over the last 40 years or so I think.
I think that CLIL is actually part of a wider movement in the teaching of English around the world. We see other trends like the movement downwards in age to young learners, big focus on young learners, with English being introduced in most countries now I think in primary schools, CLIL actually fits in with the logic with young learners as well and also with ELF, the lingua franca English. What we are seeing now is the perceived reason for learning English and using English is for communication between non native speakers around the world and this represents a big shift from the assumption in the foreign language teaching which is that you are learning English in order to communicate with native speakers and learn about the culture and values of native speakers. So we can see this shift of emphasis now to non native to non native speaker communication. I think at the same time seeing an on-going shift of the centre of gravity and experience to non native teachers of English. It was always assumed in EFL that the best teacher of English was a native speaker of English and I think that that thread is certainly unravelling very fast. And I think also it fits into an emerging model of bilingual, even multilingual education. People are now asking around the world how does English fit into our society as a multilingual society rather than it being some kind of imported additional item.
So this is my thinking behind this statement that CLIL signals the end of EFL as IATEFL has known it. I am not asking you to make a valued judgement as to whether you think this is a good thing or a bad thing on balance, and I am not suggesting that IATEFL is not already transforming and evolving and embracing some of these new ideas so the "has" is deliberately a past tense. So can I ask you now to press your buttons to show your agreement or disagreement with that proposition, that:
CLIL signals the end of EFL as IATEFL has known it.
DM And may I congratulate you for getting the statement right for the voting system.
OK, two minutes please, or one minute let's say to vote this one through, CLIL signals the end of EFL as IATEFL has known it.
Anna Maljers (AM) Whilst you are doing that, what I find really interesting is the connection that you make, David, from CLIL to young learners because I think it is not by accident that both the attention and the importance of CLIL is paralleled to pushing down the age that young learners are learning, well today we are talking about English but CLIL is of course not only for English it is also for the other languages. The way young learners learn a language is very close to the pedagogy that is at the centre of CLIL so I think the two are intertwined at the moment.
DM Thank you Anna. Peeter.
Peeter Mehisto (PM) One of the realities of CLIL in schools, and I have been in schools researching the issue, is how CLIL impacts on what is happening on a daily basis in schools. It actually forces schools to rethink their pedagogy, rethink how they are going to do things. It requires a discussion, it is simply not possible that the CLIL teacher goes off and does his or her CLIL "thing". It requires a discussion about pedagogy, about CLIL, how we are going to work together and that tends to have a major impact on an institution. In many ways CLIL has become a motor for reform in schools; that is what we are hearing from country after country where we have gone to look at these programmes.
DM And here is the moment of truth. If the panel would like to just do some aerobic exercises and bend your heads around you will see the voting on that vote with 35% disagreeing and 30.5% agreeing. We will look at the results of the first vote when we get to the end here but there is clearly a differing point of view here with respect to this particular proposition following what David has said. What I would like to do is hand over now to Sue Hughes to continue with this dialogue. Sue.
Anchor Point:2Sue Hughes (SH)
I encountered CLIL 2½ years ago and what struck me, as somebody from a primary background, but somebody who also has done a lot of work in the field of EAL, children learning English as an Additional Language, is as Anna said, and David said, that this is about effective pedagogy. I just said isn't this good teaching and learning and my experience and knowledge of language teaching is that good language teaching is also at the heart of this because in good foreign language teaching and teaching English as a foreign language this task-based learning and language learning is carefully sequenced and it's chunks and it has authentic context and purpose. Good language teachers teach with meaningful context … and they enable learners to develop fluency, accuracy and complexity.
But I think what CLIL offers, and it is something that I passionately believe in, is the equal attention to content and language. For me you cannot compromise content because of the language progression, and equally you cannot compromise language because of the content progression. There has to be a dialogue, there has to be an engagement, you have to work out how to bring these two things together, because otherwise both are compromised for the learner because in a sense it is the learner who is trying to make these things come together. And I think what is fascinating working with teachers, as David said, I am sort of doing boldly what often people don't do which is to get people who are monolingual, who feel themselves to be monolingual, they say "oh I don't speak French very well" to teach through French. I have linguist trainees, I work at the university and they work with these teachers but what is fascinating is that when teachers begin to examine the relationship between the subjects they teach and the language progression they say: "oh gosh, so actually it make sense because in geography we learn prepositions" - they start to make connections, there is a situated nature of language and they start to make those connections. They are inextricably linked. And I think what is really interesting, and for my focus on children learning English as an additional language is too often these children have been placed in monolingual context when nobody has thought about language progression. And so teachers teaching CLIL have to work out very carefully what language they are going to use and good language teachers do that - how much language am I going to use, and in a CLIL context. We have only done small studies because in England it is only just beginning for me, but what we are seeing and what my students are finding remarkable is that EAL learners thrive. Instead of their first language being an encumbrance it is a real assistance, they have knowledge about language, they have language learning strategies, and what happens is that those learners tend to support the other learners. It is a really interesting idea.
The other part of CLIL I believe is that language learning, and as somebody who honestly learned language for 7-8 years in secondary school, I find that I am not as good at language as I should be because my language was redundant. As Hugo said earlier on, if you have learned lots of irregular verbs, if you don't use them they become lost, you are in a place where you cannot talk. CLIL provides context for children to use language all the time. And it is the language of subjects and that language is an aspiring curriculum. So I think the thing that I wanted to end with is two scenarios. Two different situations, one teacher working with 8-9 year olds and we taught a CLIL unit, which was a history unit, and they were taught about the Tudors. The children learned instructional language, they learned imperatives in the context of PE and Design & Technology, they learned how to dance the Pavanne and they learned how to make shadow puppets for jousting. The following year the teacher said it's absolutely amazing, they remembered all the imperatives, they were often in a different context but that language was something they recognised and they had language they could use.
Another group of teachers who were teaching through English with English-speaking children, teaching science, set up an activity where children had to describe materials. They had no language of description, so for me language and content are inextricably linked and good teaching is CLIL.
DM I was sitting in an hotel at one of these big TESOL conferences a few years ago and somebody, from one of the publishing houses, it was one of the poor ones, it wasn't Macmillan, or so and so, and they said: "this CLIL thing, I can't get my head around it, I can't quite pin it down, what it is". People are using this term, or if they're North Americans they don't say CLIL because it sounds so threatening, they say C.L.I.L., but anyway they said: "I have a problem getting my head around CLIL". Now what you are suggesting, all of you now are suggesting that this is not just something that impacts on English language teaching, it is impacting on the teaching of language to immigrant children, it is impacting on the teaching of different languages, it is impacting on education as we move towards a competence-based era of education. Any comments on that one?
SH Can I just come back. One of the interesting things is that we do have this national network and it is quite interesting that the government will not call it CLIL, they are calling it Integrating Language for Learning and so our acronym at the moment is ILL rather than CLIL. All of us just believe this is really quite sad.
DM God bless the Training & Development Agency in the UK
Hugo, you have seen the development of clusters and growth from small to huge scale across the world from highly financed environments to very poor countries. Would you now like to make a comment?
Anchor Point:3Hugo Baetens-Beardsmore (HBB)
Yes, well I would like to pick up actually on what Sue has just been saying because it leads into what I want to handle and this is that traditional language learning has tended to be isolated in part of the curriculum whereas in fact first language learning is part of the whole school policy and what, in fact the whole school is contributing to the language learning in a monolingual environment for English let's say here. Now what is happening with the CLIL type situation is instead of allowing the language to depend entirely on the classroom the burden being entirely on the language classroom, it is in fact permeating the whole school, not in the same way as a monolingual school would operate where everything would be in English, but where there is a greater potential for a whole school policy covering more than one language if there are two or, as in many of the schools that I visit, 3 languages as an integral part of the curriculum. Because what happens is that in the European schools, which are the ones for European civil servants, all teachers are told you are all language teachers incidentally because the children are confronted with three languages throughout the whole day, they must all become trilingual as they go through the system and in fact implicitly each teacher is a language teacher, but where then there becomes some sort of language of specialisation, because what tends to happen when the whole school policy is focusing on content and language integrated learning spread across 2 or 3 languages, is in fact that the whole ethos of what happens in the school is one where language acquisition L1, L2, L3 is immediately pertinent. Most traditional language learning means that there will be a long term pay off when you get to the end of the process - you may be able to get a job where you might be able to use your language, or you go on holiday, but in fact this is such a long term goal that it is a demotivating goal for those who are not language freaks like us sitting here, and then what happens is that once you have created this immediate reward or immediate pertinence for the effort put in the language learning, because it is going to be used in the content lesson, you will find it overcomes the motivating problem that has been encountered in traditional monolingual environments where there are language lessons as separate and not part of the whole thing.
Then what you notice is there is far more collaboration, as has already been mentioned, between the content teachers and the language teachers because it is perceived as part of a whole school policy, and this then allows both types of specialist to in fact come forward as saying you know I have got something that my training, my degree, my qualifications, my linguistic skills can contribute, and you have got something from your training in the content matter and so on where they can complement each other because what we have noticed when I have looked at different types of schools and the language lessons and the content lessons is on the whole, now this is a simplification I know, the language teachers tend to concentrate, not exclusively, on accuracy, on precision, and the content teachers tend to concentrate on in fact more fluent exchanges. Now I say "tend", don't attack me for saying we do both because we know they do, but it is what happens is that in the content lesson the need for the target language and the structures that are specific to the particular subject that were illustrated by Sue, are immediately pertinent, there is a reward at putting in the effort to acquire these things and this gradually builds up confidence. And this confidence then in a very natural way enables the pupils to in fact increase their risk taking on producing connective discourse because that is the most difficult thing to produce. Connective discourse either in speech or in writing can only be stimulated artificially, or semi-artificially, in the language lesson exclusively. But if you have got the two complementing each other you have got the concentration on the accuracy in primarily, not exclusively in the language part, and you have got the natural pushing forward to risk taking and connective discourse written and spoken in the content matter and this is in fact what we have seen happening in the European schools where they are all getting 3 languages spread across the curriculum.
I would also like to point out that there are all round gains when this operates efficiently because the new skills in the content matter are acquired partially through the other language, the language in your case English that is being taught, but is providing more varied, increased, more motivating opportunities because of the immediate pertinence, the immediate feedback, reward, satisfaction that is got, and in looking and analysing what happens in large countries, where there are large scale bilingual and trilingual programmes we have noticed that the way the children operate on tests differs slightly on which language the test is being taken in. And what was discovered very intriguingly is that there were hardly any differences in the quality of the cognitive operations, when they were taken in the stronger L1, and in the target weaker L2. Now what we were looking at here was obviously language skills, well if you have a CLIL type programme there is more opportunity, it is more immediately pertinent, and the language skills develop well, better than in the exclusive language lessons. We also noticed that after the initial slow down in tempo in acquiring the content they speeded up, compensated and did equally well on standardised exit tests. But what was also found was on the cognitive measures that there were intriguing differences. There was no difference in the difficulty of handling cognitive operations in L1 and L2 on the easier tasks. On the middling tasks, of middling difficulty, the L1 was slightly stronger, and on the most difficult cognitive operations consistently those that were done through the L2 scored better. I will synthesise this by just saying that we noted that the L1 tests proved better results on knowing that, factual information, what is often tested by the way, and the L2 cognitive tests showed better results on knowing how, operational activities, and this was consistent right across the range of pupils so what have we got, what is the added value that CLIL has given? It is an added value on three levels of analysis. That is on the language obviously because there is more content and it is immediately useful. On content because it was at no cost to the content and on cognitive operations, particularly on the more difficult ones where in fact because they had to slow down and concentrate they did not rely on impressionistics.
DM Thank you very much Hugo.
In the last debate here, when was it, four years ago I think, the debate ended by a statement by somebody saying, you know, CLIL doesn't work. I have seen it in Hong Kong, I have seen it in Malaysia, and the main point in the last debate was coming from David Graddol's English Next. At the time he said that there is a massive, massive thirst for English across the world, there is a huge drive of teaching in English, which we are seeing now can be done really badly and can fail in many respects, and then there is this professional response which has grown from applied linguistics and language teaching which is CLIL. Now the CLIL evidence base has ranged in those last four years and now the research evidence which reveals why a certain amount of carefully crafted integration can actually lead to very, very good results. I would like to put up another vote now if we may, looking optimistically at our lady there. Would you now please get your voters out and respond to this statement:
And let me explain something about the voting. There is voting going on in the Macmillan internet sites. So we will be able to report back to you by comparing the opinions of CLIL teachers and non-CLIL teachers at a later date so this is not just pressing buttons to burn some calories. OK, so please try and answer this question.
OK. We have got the results here from those who managed to do that and I would like to hand over now to Mina Patel from KL to comment on those. Mina, the floor is yours.
Anchor Point:4Mina Patel (MP)
That looks pretty conclusive to me and I don't think I have any more to say really. I'm joking, David, I'm joking. I don't think that is very surprising and I speak for the panel here that effective CLIL, and we have all said this and will continue to say this, effective CLIL has the potential to open many, many doors for our students, be they linguistic, be they cognitive, be they cultural. But in order for this to happen whether you have got English teachers working on their own, or whether you have got content teachers working through another language, or whether they are working together, in order for this to happen we need to support our students. We talk a lot about policy and planning, we talk a lot about teachers, and very often I don't think we talk enough about the students themselves.
When I talk about support for students I am talking about support from parents, I am talking about support from teachers, from the school itself and, as Sue was talking, support from peers, yes, because when you start teaching a subject through another language when traditionally it has been taught in the mother tongue, that will change the classroom dynamics. It has to.
And how do you support your students through this? When we talk about change in education, the bottom line of that educational change should be how does it benefit our students and yet very often, in a lot of educational contexts, the students do not even come near the top of the list. If we take Malaysia as an example, and David has already mentioned Malaysia, and there is a great - can I just borrow this Hugo, a great article in The Guardian Weekly. If we take Malaysia as an example, science and maths began to be taught through English in Malaysia in 2003 in stages. And in order to support this policy changes were put into place. Changes such as resources. An immense amount of money was invested in resources for Malaysian schools and these resources were mainly ICT in forms of programmes on CD-ROMs, in terms of hardware for schools. An awful lot of money was invested in teacher training and that teacher training was predominantly proficiency, not methodology. An awful amount of time and resources were put into a system called the buddy support system, where a subject teacher could, when he or she needed or required, speak to a language teacher or get support from a language teacher in order to plan classes. And yet, and this is just the tip of the iceberg, and yet by many the policy has been seen to be less than successful. The focus for a great deal of the investment has been on the teachers and that is fine, and that is obvious because teachers are a crucial change agent. But while teachers are being trained, while they are getting used to a new language, a new methodology and sometimes even a new identity in the classroom, what is happening to the students? Who is supporting them? Who is making sure that they are going through the change effectively? Who is making sure that the classroom dynamics are OK? Who is making sure that they are not confused, that suddenly they are having their subject taught through a language that they are not even used to and maybe it is not the second language, maybe it is the third or fourth language, which is certainly the case in some parts of Malaysia?
I am not saying that teachers are not doing their jobs, I think they are trying their best, I think that when we plan such important change programmes we need to think about support structures for students and sometimes I think that gets left to the wayside. And also I mean in terms of the vote we have just had, yes, CLIL I think is definitely the way forward for ELT, but as Sue mentioned earlier, I think that we have to be really, really careful not to compromise those opportunities for growth in the linguistic domain, in the cognitive domain, in the cultural domain, that English Language Teaching affords in an ordinary classroom.
DM Mina, thank you very much. Would anybody like to comment on that? Peeter?
PM I worked in Estonia for many years and we have established a national CLIL programme and I agree very much with what Mina has said, that change is, this type of change is highly complex and often we do not think enough about the students. We realised in Estonia that we had to help students to manage their feelings, manage their expectations, and understand the learning process they would go through. There is significant research throughout the world that shows that there is also a distinct correlation between parental attitudes and understandings and the student's "mark" if you will, student success, so once again we understood that we had to work with parents to help them better understand their own attitudes, their own understandings, how those were impacting on their children and to give them some of the language of schooling, give them some of the skills they needed to help support their children through it, because CLIL is counterintuitive in some ways. For an adult, I have found myself in situations where I am faced with a new language again and I think how is it possible that I could in Mandarin or in some other language learn content? It seems counterintuitive but when the pedagogy is well done it works very well and people need to manage their own expectations, understand how this learning takes place, and understand how to support their students.
DM Since 2000 there has been a 300% increase in the research being done on what is happening inside the brain and some of that has been done on what happens inside the brain when we learn languages and that is a very interesting connection to CLIL. Sue?
SH I just wanted to comment about this idea of change agents because I think for me it is only working with language specialists that has enabled me to develop and implement CLIL. I work with people who have taught English as a Foreign Language and they are very fluent in French and Spanish. It is those students working in English primary schools who are working with experienced primary teachers to develop this connection. It needs to be a partnership. Again I will talk about the English community. The knowledge of grammar, the knowledge of syntax and lexis is woeful. I do performance morphology to my students, I have to deconstruct sentences to teach them about adjectives and some of them are English graduates, so I think it is really shocking, so change agents, I think the language teaching community is essential to CLIL, so for me I really want to bring them on board.
DM Thank you. David.
DG Yes I just want to pick up on first of all the idea that CLIL means really systemic massive kind of culture change. The implication of that, as we have seen, is that it actually takes quite a long time to develop and mature and get it right in a particular context. Now to make successful change happen at a national level unfortunately you nearly always have to work with political realities as well. The political realities in most countries are the opposite. Politicians want to see change happen within the electoral cycle. They want good news to be seen to be coming out within 3 or 4 years. Now that actually makes it very, very difficult for a technocratic kind of approach which says something like, as you do in the Netherlands, you slowly grow CLIL organically. In many countries that would be unacceptable. Not just because of the speed of change, which is very slow, but also because many national governments cannot countenance an idea where resources are being put only into a small sector of society, which appears to be creating inequity and lack of access for most of the population to this new brilliant English medium education.
DM Hugo, with your experience of working at high levels with nation states, any comments on what David just said?
HBB Yes, I partly share this reality perspective of handling change but I also strongly believe in bottom up change that actually occurs and that you can see operating in classrooms. I visited countries where everybody is going through a bilingual form of education, where the mistakes have been made as they have been trying out different techniques and I have been in countries where it is restricted to elite or select bodies so I have seen both ends of the spectrum. But what I have noticed is that in those countries where it is widespread, that there is no selection, that even the weaker can gain a lot, the weaker who would have been eliminated from a language course, or would have been selected out over time, we found that these weaker linguistically categorised pupils in fact do quite well. There was one case in Scotland of a technical school where they had a very modest CLIL programme introducing French in this case and they were in a workshop. The male drop-out from this traditional language lessons who at the end of this very modest contact with a CLIL-type programme connected with the mechanical engineering that he was learning said, it has changed my life. Because there was an immediate reward he could do things with the language whereas until then he thought that is for the girls, or the sissies, or the language freaks, and this is particularly the case with the male dropouts. We had another case in younger children who were encouraged to produce continuous discourse at a stage where they are still building up the contact with the target language and this is in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg where they use a technique where the children provide their own stories and they are taught how to build them up. And what happened there is the child that was normally totally silent in the classroom refused to take the breaks in the playground, was so keen on constructing the target language story, that children who were silent suddenly became expressive in the second language.
So once again we have an opportunity to bring the child or the pupil or the student more centrally into focus, depending on the type of model that is being developed, and CLIL is never an all or nothing situation because in many countries that I have looked at, of course there are overall goals that have to be attained, but in a monolingual system you get a bell curve in your results, we can expect that in a CLIL system as well, and you are not aiming to produce so-called perfect bilinguals because I have never yet met a perfect monolingual.
DM Not even an Australian one. Mina.
MP I just wanted to pick up on a couple of things that I think Sue and Peeter said and they mentioned two very important things. Discussions are really important. Discussions between teachers, discussions across the school and partnerships. I think one of the key partnerships, and certainly I think this has been overlooked in Malaysia, is between the teacher and the parent, yes, and if we want parents to support the students and support the school they need to be integrally involved right from the beginning and I am not sure whether this is the case in European settings but certainly not in Malaysia, although they are beginning to think about it now. Thank you.
DM One of the problems with going to conferences like this is that you put on weight. I don't know whether you have noticed it, but you tend to eat and drink a lot more and not get any exercise compared to being at home. Can I ask the next two speakers, who I know do not like sitting for more than half an hour at a time, to end off with a sort of ten minute review of the situation here with this?
Anchor Point:5Peeter Mehisto (PM) and Anne Maljers (AM)
PM Can you hear me? One of the key words, or key concepts, that has been discussed here is actually stakeholders. Anyone who can influence a programme or anyone who can be influenced by a programme, and I would venture to say it is not just the parents, not just the students, it is the people who are against your programme, it is the politicians, it is the local government officials, it is everyone who has to be brought on line. But why try to bring all these people on line? Well I am convinced, and what we have heard several of the panelists say is that CLIL makes people and languages click together. The OECD came out with a report recently on the brain sciences and learning and it talks about the "aha" moment and for so many students with CLIL I have seen them come up to me and afterwards and say it finally makes sense, it has come alive. It is so hard to do it in just that one subject. You need to be applying the language, using it, that is when the aha moment is going to take place, that is when it is going to all come into place and it is going to stay in the long term memory.
AM Yes, so what we have actually seen is that CLIL is a catalyst for change. Change in the school dynamics where the language teacher becomes also a coach for the subject teacher who teaches his or her subject through another language. Change within a school community where students who are consuming their education are really forced to be an active participant in all their lessons because the whole point about introducing CLIL is to make sure that the students use the language that they are learning in an active way.
PM We often assume that as a child is listening to us speaking, when we are speaking in our mother tongue and the student is listening in the mother tongue that they understand everything that we are saying and that they are with us and you know the fact is that they are not and I often as a student sitting in class was off somewhere else, and one of the benefits seems to be of learning through a second language is that you have to cognitively be present, you have to work harder at it, and because a CLIL teacher just I don't think can go in and wing it, it is something that requires more pedagogy. Why? Because the students cannot scaffold for themselves, for each other, to the same extent. They need greater support, it has to be better pedagogy, consequently students tend to be more involved, more cognitively present.
AM CLIL has also proven to be a way to open up horizons and to provide new perspectives to the language teachers, to you, may I say, but to the subject teachers and the students as well. In our context in the Netherlands where we use English in CLIL as the major language, 99% of our CLIL schools use English as the target language, you can see that using materials that have not been produced in the Dutch context really meant something on the perspective that students have on learning a subject. A very silly example. I studied Spanish myself, and I studied Spanish history books and Dutch history books on the 80 Year War between Spain and the Netherlands which is a big thing in the Netherlands. We still celebrate the fact that we kicked out the Spanish. So in our history books volumes and volumes about 3rd October and 8th October and Alfa who lost his glasses, and then I went to the Spanish history books - one paragraph - "trouble in the northern provinces". And that for students is a very powerful tool to realise that our perspective on the same facts may be completely different and this is something that CLIL has meant in our context. Does it mean that there are no problems? No, unfortunately of course there are. When I look at the point that Sue made about the concern about are the students learning the content at the same level as the non-CLIL students? If you look at that from a day to day perspective exactly in the beginning students will slow down. They will need more time to learn the same content. But if you look at it over a period of time, the point that David very rightfully made, you need time. Can we change? Yes we can, someone said that, I don't know who. But it does take a lot of time and more than sometimes our politicians provide us.
PM But we need to be sharing and showing people those short term wins is what we learned in Estonia. That you actually get very good returns quite quickly but you have to be able to see them, you have to be able to point them out and it is a PR job as much as it is an education job.
AM Could you give us some of those benefits Peeter?
PM Some of those benefits? Well I mean the benefits, one of the things we have learned, I have been in several countries, I am a bicultural or multicultural person growing up with several languages, in the Canadian context immersion programmes, the intensive type of CLIL programmes, grew out of parental demand. The school boards and provincial ministries of education did not necessarily want them. Parents pushed for them. In Estonia when we established our national CLIL programme it started small and there was lots of resistance and parents just started to vote with their feet. They started to bring their children and our biggest problem is being able to deliver, finding the staff and making it all work, because I mean really it gives you extra, it gives you many extras, I think it gives you extra intercultural power in a sense, the extra intercultural perspective. It gives you intercultural capital, it gives you cultural capital in the sense that you understand your own perspective better. It gives you social capital. What we are finding about these children is they tend to be more flexible, more willing to talk and dialogue, come out of their shell, often through the second language they are willing to do things that they are not doing through the first language. It also gives an extra punch when it comes to financial power. There is a European Commission report that recently came out that talks about companies saying that they feel they are losing 15% perhaps of the business they could get. There was a Nuffield Enquiry in the UK where businesses, a significant number, felt they may be losing 20% of business. There are stats from many countries on multilinguals earning more money. Now the reality is that CLIL works. It give you that extra sort of, the power for the pound, the yield for the Yen, the extra energy for your Euro. It gives you more. It is a product that is working and people are gravitating towards that product. We see that happening in Estonia, we saw that happening in Canada. It is something that is quite hard to stop, because it works.
DM Thank you Peeter. Anna?
AM So why should we do this? We should move forward to CLIL because we believe it means something for the quality of our education, and we have seen the successes and the research data are there to prove that it does really work. Teachers naturally are at the heart of good education in all cases and that brings us back to our final question.
AM But not before David has made his final point.
DM Thank you both very much indeed for helping to wrap up that part of the panel discussion. So where do we go from here?
This debate, as I said at the beginning, is one part of an on-going dialogue between professionals and others in the field. I think one of the messages that has come out very clearly is the infrastructure, it is the systemic nature, it is the need to have a community and that community may well stretch outside IATEFL to make this thing work. So what we are going to do now is ask you please to pick up those controls, make sure that they are switched on, and now vote for the correct proposition. Thank you for the grammatical changes from that gentleman over there.
1. Strongly agree
5. Strongly disagree
6. I'm in the wrong room.
Now whilst you are doing that, you can find the research community, the new one that we have said is emerging so fast, the practice community, and the network community through certain websites. The One Stop CLIL has links out to those websites. There is going to be a sort of meet the team and meet the audience in the Gallery coffee bar right now for the next hour so please anybody who wants to pull up on things or whatever let's continue there. We were unable to have more than an hour here at a time.
I want to give a very warm thank you to Max at The Guardian Weekly and to the wonderful team of Macmillan people - there are so many of them, where are they, over here, yes, who have actually facilitated this opportunity to come together. And what we would like to do, before we finish, is to look at the results here and compare them to the results on the first run.
DM Oh right. Now this was not entirely scientific given the slight blip at the beginning. What does this mean? Ah, so actually we have actually got stronger during the course of the last hour. So that is absolutely fantastic. Look, the last exercise is this one and this is actually going to be an intelligence test for most of us, certainly for me. Jo, do you have a microphone nearby?
This question, How could CLIL impact on your professional life?, is one that is on the One Stop CLIL site and ….
JG So, yes, this is going to test your intelligence because we are going to ask you to text your answer. So you can text like you would do on a mobile phone, text a short comment through to us. We will then collect and save all those comments and we will post them on One Stop CLIL, which is our website, and you can select, take a brochure with you, and you can see what the results are. So if you would like to just think and send a short text through, How could CLIL impact on your professional life?
DM Yes, and if you want to send any secret messages back to us do that as well.
Just to wrap this off whilst you are trying to do that and so on. There is somebody here who wants to form a so-called Special IATEFL Group on CLIL, which apparently does not exist. This lady is from Italy and her name is Sandra Lucieto. Sandra, could you just stand up and sort of do a royal wave to everybody here? This is Sandra Lucietto from…?
DM Trento, where else. She will be in the coffee bar. She needs a number of people to inform her if they are interested in joining her and she knows everything about that. But as for now, how is it going with the texting? Have you got the right glasses on? No? If and when you have sent your message you have to send it as a phone.
But now I want to give a very warm thank you to the panel because this is a very tough number for them to come in here and do this within an hour and I think you have done a fantastic job so a very warm thank you to them and also to you.
JG Do send your messages through and we will post them up on the website. I would just like to say a quick thank you to David for being a wonderful chair, brilliantly timed. Unfortunately we could only have an hour so the museum café, if you would like to join us for coffee, it is around, through the museum and down the stairs. Just a thank you to Julia Glass from Promethean. It has been great fun and if you would like more information from her I am sure she willbe willing to give it.