In Primary 4 a colleague reports of a sudden shift to English as the medium of instruction for Maths and Science, although all other subjects on the curriculum remained in Malay. The result was that often children didn’t have enough English to understand the lesson, so to ‘help’ them, the teacher would employ a range of tactics:
- Teach the whole lesson in Malay, with key words translated into English;
- Teach in Malay, but translate the majority of sentences into English as well (this is time consuming, so isn’t always what teachers do);
- Code-switch (start the sentence in English and finish it in Malay!).
A truly CLIL syllabus may have been useful for these learners.
There is a report from an IB Primary and Secondary school in London where there are parallel 'sheltered' classes for learners who need significant language support. Learners study more or less 50% General/Academic English and 50% English Through Other Subjects (CLIL). There is an attempt to promote links between English classes and all of the subject classes (this fits with the IBs philosophy of Interdisciplinary study). As learners progress they are drip-fed into mainstream classes.
CLIL is on the radar for language teachers. Language teachers have more space for creativity and more time on the timetable for CLIL. The language CLIL classes contribute to the preparation of learners, who it is hoped will go into the section europeenne and study subjects in English in the lycees. At secondary schools it is an option taught by the language teacher, but at the "lycee" it is the subject teacher who takes over.
There was a link posted to the Basque Government's trilingual project website www.gipuztik.net/ingelesa/. Here, English teachers are teaching content but there are, at the time of writing, only small numbers of secondary content teachers involved in the project.
There is an interesting network of schools developing in the state system: http://www.factworld.info/asturias/index.htm
Here by law schools cannot restrict CLIL to 'gifted' students and so classes are with all students. The demographics in Asturias do mean, however, that there are frequently cases where classes are split and there may be cases where there are two teachers in one class. Here, it is the subject teacher teaching CLIL with some help from assistants, and from those English teachers who are interested and want to have a role.
As a materials writer and teacher trainer, what I find especially interesting is the approach to teaching itself. Education here is still mostly content-based and classes are often chalk and talk. However, teachers are finding that if they are to teach science effectively in English, they need to change their approach to a more discovery-based methodology where the students uncover the concepts and then the teachers layer the language onto the new knowledge. Both teachers and students find this a challenge. So, I think CLIL is much more than a question of the vehicle language - it digs right down into our beliefs about teaching and learning.
Subjects are taught through the medium of a foreign language in some state schools, the emphasis is on the subject and there is little explicit focus on language in the classroom. The Bulgarian government has an agreement with the German government that means that students graduating
German-medium secondary courses can apply to universities in Germany without the need of further exams. Their school leaving diploma has recognition for the FL-medium learning. In Bulgaria there is no question of the English teacher doing any subject teaching, so the CLIL that goes on in the language classroom is topic and task-based language teaching.
Some schools in state systems are taking up CLIL, for example the Didzdvario Gymnasium (www.dg.su.lt). This is a secondary school in Siauliai in Lithuania where students sit IB courses in English. This is a very exciting opportunity where state systems offer secondary learners the chance to learn their curriculum in a foreign language and sit an internationally recognized exam at the end.
I am so glad you brought up the English as a medium of instruction (EMI) - as that is what we do here in the six universities in northern Cyprus (it's in the constitution apparently). Most of the students are from Turkey. If they can't manage the English, they either go to a Turkish medium uni in Turkey, or struggle through one, or possibly a repeated second year of "Prep School' and take a proficiency exam - supposedly at B2 IELTS level 6 ... However, I don't really think the bureaucrats here have probably heard of CLIL!!
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