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Content Based Instruction

Content Based Instruction

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Published by Joyce Fajardo

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Published by: Joyce Fajardo on Jun 17, 2012
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11/21/2012

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Content-Based Instruction
(
CBI
) is a significant approach in languageeducation (Brinton, Snow, & Wesche, 1989). CBI is designed to provide second-language learners instruction in content and language.Historically, the word
content 
has changed its meaning in language teaching. Contentused to refer to the methods of grammar-translation, audio-lingual methodology and vocabulary or sound patterns in dialog form. Recently, content is interpreted as the use of subject matter as a vehicle for second or foreign languageteaching/learning.
Benefits of content based instruction
1. Learners are exposed to a considerable amount of language through stimulatingcontent. Learners explore interesting content & are engaged in appropriate language-dependant activities. Learning language becomes automatic.2. CBI supports contextualized learning; learners are taught useful language that isembedded within relevant discourse contexts rather than as isolated languagefragments. Hence students make greater connections with the language & what theyalready know.3. Complex information is delivered through real life context for the students to graspwell & leads to intrinsic motivation.4. In CBI information is reiterated by strategically delivering information at right time &situation compelling the students to learn out of passion.5. Greater flexibility & adaptability in the curriculum can be deployed as per the studentsinterest.
Comparison to other approaches
The CBI approach is comparable to English for Specific Purposes (ESP), which usuallyis for vocational or occupational needs or English for Academic Purposes (EAP). Thegoal of CBI is to prepare students to acquire the languages while using the context ofany subject matter so that students learn the language by using it within the specificcontext. Rather than learning a language out of context, it is learned within the contextof a specific academic subject.As educators realized that in order to successfully complete an academic task, secondlanguage (L2) learners have to master both English as a language form(grammar, 
 
vocabulary etc.) and how English is used in core content classes, they started to
 
implement various approaches such as Sheltered instruction and learning to learn in CBI classes. Sheltered instruction is more of a teacher-driven approach that puts theresponsibility on the teachers' shoulders. This is the case by stressingseveral pedagogical needs to help learners achieve their goals, such as teachers
 
having knowledge of the subject matter, knowledge of instructional strategies tocomprehensible and accessible content, knowledge of L2 learning processes and theability to assess cognitive, linguistic and social strategies that students use to assurecontent comprehension while promoting English academic development. Learning to
 
learn is more of a student-centered approach that stresses the importance of having the

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