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MODULE 2: Session Two

Student guidelines:

Over the next three sessions we will be looking at things we do in the classroom. In this session we will be focusing on activities; in session three we will look at tasks and in session four we will look at projects (aka inquiry-based learning). So, first of all we need to establish a difference between these three ideas. The term activity can be used to describe just about anything that we do in the classroom. Activities can be paper-based (eg. labelling a diagram or a gap-fill exercise); computer-based (eg. an on-line game or a web quest); skills-based (eg. a role play or a jigsaw reading) or hands-on (eg. building a model or conducting an experiment). During module two you are going to see many different examples of activities and you should think about compiling a list of activity types which will help you in your future teaching. There is some cross-over between the idea of activities and tasks but in general I think that the best way to distinguish them is to think of an activity as a single stage – a task will usually involve several activities but the reverse is never true. In the same vein a project will generally imply a series of tasks and various activities. Task-based teaching comes from the Foreign Language classroom and Project-based teaching comes from the Content classroom so combining the two seems like a good way to operationalise language and content integration. This session will focus on the idea of integrating language and content in classroom activities. At the outset I should say that since I subscribe to the idea of Language Across the Curriculum I believe that all content activities imply language and it is largely a case of making the language demands explicit (for the teacher)1 and that most typical language activities (except perhaps for the most mindless of classroom drills) can easily be made content dependent. Let us look at a range of activities (which I hope will demonstrate my point): Task 1: You need to download a copy of the worksheet entitled Activity Breakdown and look at each of the activities in the file CLIL Activities I. Complete the worksheet with information relating to the type of activity, the language, the content and the skills/competences involved. (I’ve filled in a couple of the boxes to get you started). You can then check your answers against a model answer which I have prepared. Task 2: Your main task for this session is to design a ten minute activity. You need to read the sheet entitled Choosing an Activity and to specify the intended goal (choose one or two from the list), the content subject, the age and the language level of the learners. Also say how this activity ties in with the imagined class. (Imagine that you have a full range of materials/resources). You do not need to write a detailed lesson plan but you need to give instructions and detail materials involved. In the case of paper materials (eg. worksheet) please include copies and in the case of web-based materials please provide the link. Please send your activity to Yeray who will upload it into the file CLIL activities II. I would then like you to discuss and critique each others’ activities in the forum.
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See John Clegg’s 2007 chapter in Background Reading.