- What is the difference between Soft CLIL and Hard CLIL?
Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) is a study strategy where students learn a course and a foreign language with a simultaneous goal of comprehending academic content and a second language. The two type of CLIL approaches discussed in the blog article by a CLIL teacher trainer named Sheila Corwin are soft CLIL and hard CLIL. On one hand, soft CLIL refers to teaching vocabulary and words in a foreign language to young (beginning/elementary) learners to equip them with familiarity for a second language. The teacher primarily uses mother tongue to offer learners basic exposure to foreign words and vocabulary; hence, soft CLIL is appropriate for primary school students with lower proficiency in a language. On the other hand, hard CLIL means that a teacher does not use mother tongue such that students learn the entire subject matter in a foreign language. Hard CLIL requires learners to have intermediate or above proficiency capacities in the second language to foster confidence and comprehension.
- What are some of the challenges faced by language teachers when teaching an academic subject in the context of CLIL?
The text indicates that language teachers face problems when using CLIL to teach academic subjects, including inadequate proficiency in the course matter. According to Corwin, planning and teaching CLIL lessons poses significant challenges since in the event a language teacher assumes the role of a trained subject instructor, they might experience the issue of lacking in-depth background knowledge for teaching a specific academic area. As such, having one individual to represent a language teacher as well as a subject teacher hardly provides comprehensive coverage of the required content.
- As per the text, what is one of the biggest advantages language teachers have in the CLIL approach?
The text determines that CLIL is appropriate for secondary and primary schools to get 2 for 1- language and academic proficiency. This means that a language teacher utilizing the CLIL approach has one major advantage of leveraging their expertise in teaching a foreign language to non-native speakers to teach a second language and academic content. Since the language teacher is already aware and sensitive to engaging with non-native speakers, they can use the skills to perform both language and academic activities for second language learners.
- What challenges might academic subject teachers face in a CLIL setting, especially if they are non-native speakers of the language used for teaching?
When a trained academic teacher becomes a language teacher, they face the challenge of aligning the content taught and language acquisition. An academic subject teacher might have expertise in a subject but no experience in teaching language. Therefore, the academic subject teacher is unable to make required alignments to ensure the content knowledge is understandable to students learning a foreign language. In the event the academic teacher is not a native speaker, they may face communication challenges when instructing learners using the foreign language.
- How can academic subject teachers contribute uniquely to CLIL, according to the text? What are the four skills mentioned that need to be incorporated in CLIL teaching?
Academic subject teachers offer a specialized contribution to CLIL by utilizing their wealth of knowledge and experience to communicate the subject matter effectively using mother tongue or a foreign language, which a language teacher might lack.
The four skills that require integration when teaching using the CLIL approach include reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Incorporating listening and reading activities will develop receptive skills to help the teacher evaluate non-native speakers’ comprehension of the input they have received in a foreign language. Writing and speaking activities in a foreign language build productive skills, where teachers, students, or peers might engage in error correction to assess the output produced in a foreign language activity.
- In the context of CLIL, what does the term “Authentic Materials” refer to, and can you give an example based on the text?
The text indicates that since CLIL involves understanding the preparation and implementation strategies of the aforementioned four skills to non-native speakers, creative and dedicated language and academic teachers need to obtain authentic materials to develop CLIL courses. Authentic materials are events, illustrations, experiences, and other items appropriate for providing learners with a real-world view of the course matter or language taught. For example, when learning about French cinema in French language, a teacher can integrate a movie trailer and French movie reviews and interviews to equip learners with listening and reading skills. The teacher can then ask the learners to write or speak about the experiences discussed. The goal is to ensure learners simultaneously study subject matter and a second language through a foreign language to achieve sufficient multilingualism and academic proficiency.
Corwin, Sheila. “Introduction to CLIL: How to Get 2 for 1.” Europass Teacher Academy, 30 June 2023, www.teacheracademy.eu/blog/clil/.