Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Two For the Price of One

My boyfriend is the kind of guy who comes home laden with toilet rolls or tuna fish because it was on offer. The famous slogan “Two for One” never fails with him. Tomorrow is my first day at a new secondary school and I’m going to be doing of a bit of “TEFL Two for One” namely CLIL. For those of you who may not know, CLIL stands for Content and language Integrated Learning. It’s a mouthful true, basically it means teaching a subject or part of a subject in a foreign language. At this point you may be wondering WHY? and that’s a good question. In theory it’s supposed to be a way of improving students’ competence in English without giving more timetable time to English. So we take an hour of maths and teach it English. I guess it’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul so to speak.

I like a challenge so I’m looking forward to maths, biology, music and technology in English. I’ve been studying musical notes and I can just about tell you what a staff, a whole note and a rest are, but although I’m enthusiastic I can’t help wondering if the aim is to improve students' English, is this the best way?

The jury is out on CLIL, only time will tell ,but until then I’m going to do my maths homework before class.

Are you CLILing? Or is it CLILing you?


  1. Fed up of basing my lessons on flashcard activities and not finding a suitable second year course book for non-readers made me decide to do things differently and choose a CLIL approach for my group of 6 year olds.

    I have been designing the topic based curriculum all summer and the idea is for the children to be experiencing English through other subjects which are often more interesting than their English lessons. So we are going to be listening to stories, doing drama, making crafts, creating books, doing science experiments and so on.

    At the moment they at least seem to be more engaged as I do think that the topics I have chosen (the first is insects) are more fun than the typical ones you find in children's course books. I shall let you know how it goes!

  2. Good luck, to be honest it sounds like good fun! I teach adults so I don't do this... although I suppose in a way, we do - we talk and learn about things in business so we both grow and learn together... but we don't call it CLIL.

  3. Hey there Michelle,

    Sounds interesting. You'll have to keep me posted on how it goes.

    I like the idea of adding content to language teaching as it is without a doubt more motivating.

    The stuff we do in primary is more like English with a bit of content. It's "soft" CLIL. An hour a week with a bit more content.

    Many publishers are now picking up on this trend in European countries to CLIL and are producing CLIL coursebooks for young learners and teens (even 3-5 year olds) . I think it's a big growth area.

    Keep me posted on how it goes with your six year olds.


  4. Hi Karenne,

    I survived my first music lesson. I can now tell the difference between a whole note and a quater note. A staff and a clef. The difficulty lies in the switch from language teacher to content teacher. English is the vehicle to teach the content. As an English teacher it's quite difficult to put content before language which you have to do to some extent. Although it's called a dual focused approach I'm very aware that English is the "bus" that is taking us to our "final destination" which is content.

    Hope the maths class goes as well as the music class!