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English Next

English Next

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Published by: Jassiara on Aug 28, 2010
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06/14/2013

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CLIL is an approach to bilingual educa-
tion in which both curriculum content

– such as Science or Geography – and

English are taught together. It differs from

simple English-medium education in that the

learner is not necessarily expected to have

the English proficiency required to cope with

the subject before beginning study. Hence, it

is a means of teaching curriculum subjects

through the medium of a language still being

learned, providing the necessary language

support alongside the subject specialism.

CLIL can also be regarded the other way

around – as a means of teaching English

through study of a specialist content.

CLIL arose from curriculum innovations

in Finland, in the mid 1990s, and it has

been adopted in many European countries,

mostly in connection with English. There is

no orthodoxy as to how, exactly, CLIL should

be implemented and diverse practices have

evolved. CLIL is compatible with the idea of

JIT education (‘just in time’ learning) and is

regarded by some of its practitioners as the

ultimate communicative methodology.

Teaching curriculum subjects through

the medium of English means that teachers

must convey not only the subject content

and disciplinary language but also the prac-

tical problem-solving, negotiations, discus-

sions and classroom management in ways

that characterise disciplinary pedagogic

practices. In that sense it differs from ESP.

In most cases, CLIL is used in secondary

schools and relies on basic skills in English

being already taught at primary level.

CLIL changes the working relationships

within schools, and requires a cultural

change of a kind which is often difficult to

bring about within educational institutions.

English teachers have to work closely with

subject teachers to ensure that language

development is appropriately catered for

and this implies making sufficient non-con-

tact time available for planning and review.

English teachers may largely lose their ‘sub-

ject’ as a timetabled space and may take on

a wider support and remedial role.

For these reasons, although CLIL seems

now to be growing quite fast in some coun-

tries, it is doing so organically rather than

within ‘top-down’ reform programmes. CLIL

is difficult to implement unless the subject

teachers are themselves bilingual.

When English is developed within a

CLIL programme, assessment of English

proficiency is made partly through subject

assessment.

LEARNING ENGLISH

Content and language integrated learn-

ing (CLIL) has emerged as a significant

curriculum trend in Europe. Similar ap-

proaches are now used, under different

names, in many other countries.

ENGLISH NEXT • PART TWO • EDUCATION

87

An inexorable trend in the use of global
English is that fewer interactions now

involve a native-speaker. Proponents of

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