martes, 18 de agosto de 2009

CLIL in the University

European Commission is now heavily pushing its requirement that every citizen of Europe should speak two further languages in addition to their native language. In order to fulfil this requirement, many countries in the European Union have been opting for integrated forms of language and content communication for some time, and are introducing them to their school systems. As a result of the diverse educational traditions and language contexts, varying models of bilingual teaching have developed in Europe. Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) involves teaching a curricular subject through the medium of a language other than that normally used. The subject can be entirely unrelated to language learning, such as computing lessons being taught in English in San Jorge University (USJ) in Spain. CLIL is taking place and has been found to be effective in all sectors of education from primary through to higher education. Its success has been growing over the past 10 years and continues to do so. There is a precursor in 1980s, The Language Across the Curriculum movement in both the UK and the USA recognizing the importance of language in the subject teaching.

Teachers working with CLIL are specialists in their own discipline rather than traditional language teachers. In spite of they are usually fluent speakers, lecturers and students could be assisted by the language department.

In recent years, many European countries have undergone a rapid implementation of the CLIL methodology. The paper International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, v10 n5 p647-662 2007, published by Dafouz, E.; Nunez, B.; Sancho, C., affirms that the application of the CLIL approach in Spain is still isolated. But a singular case is the Computer Engineering learning system of USJ. The objective is that the learner is gaining new knowledge about the computing subjects while encountering, using and learning the foreign language. The methodologies and approaches used are often linked to the subject area with the content leading the activities. The endeavor of teacher and student to accomplish the CLIL approach has yielded successful effects in the last years. Some of them are:

• Student develops intercultural communication skills and is better prepared for develops multilingual interests and attitudes.
• The improvement of language competence and oral communication skills provides opportunities to study content through different perspectives.
• If learners have more contact with the target language, they only require specialized target language teaching for support.
• CLIL permits to diversify methods and forms of classroom practice, provokes discussion, increases learners' motivation, and boosts confidence in both the language and the subject being taught.
• By fusing the worlds of language and subject teaching, CLIL is helping everyone to focus on the importance of language as the key not just to academic success but as the key to common professional practice.
• When you are not teaching native speaker, you tend to focus more on how you are going to get the concepts across, and which is the best way to convey the idea. Therefore, the final result is a more perceptive and consolidated knowledge.

From European Space for Higher Education (ESHE), we are constantly being told that the future of education resides in a new emphasis on skills and competences. The European Commission has published a list of 'key competences' for what it calls 'lifelong learning', and curriculum planners are now expected to incorporate these ideas across subject areas. This is good news for CLIL, because it is already functioning along these lines. There is no separation, in CLIL, of the worlds of concepts, procedures and language. Phil Ball says in an interesting article 'Skill rhymes with CLIL'. It is a lucky coincidence!.

David Chinarro
USJ lecturer.

Reference: CLIL Compendium by David Marsh.

1 comentario:

  1. CLIL is a very useful methodology because you are learning technical aspects and english at the same time.

    Advantage: You are learning english without realize it.

    Disadvantage: Sometimes is hard to understand difficult concepts. In fact, this is not a serious problem, you can ask later to the lecturer in your mother language ;)

    I am very satisfied receiving lessons in this way.