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CBI at the Community College Level: Is it Feasible?
Content-based instruction (CBI) refers to the teaching of language through exposure to content that is interesting and relevant to learners. This content serves several purposes. First, it provides a rich context for the language classroom, allowing the teacher to present and explain specific language features. Additionally, it addresses the learners’ need for cognitively challenging input that can both facilitate language acquisition and help foster critical thinking skills.
In their pioneering volume on CBI (1989), Brinton, Snow, and Wesche identified three prototype models of CBI—theme-based, sheltered, and adjunct—documenting their implementation in a variety of ESL/EFL contexts. Additional “hybrid” models of these three prototypes have continued to evolve as institutional experiences with CBI expand.
Although many agree with the teaching/learning concepts that underlie CBI as an approach to second language instruction, numerous factors can impede its successful implementation. In this 90-minute workshop, panelists explore the question of whether CBI is feasible in the California community college context. Following a brief orientation to CBI, presenters from five California community college programs provide details on existing CBI programs at their community colleges. They then discuss successes and challenges in implementing CBI at the community college with respect to a variety of issues, including the selection of content or discipline areas, program design, funding, and administrative concerns. Audience members are encouraged to ask questions and share their own experiences.
Donna M. Brinton
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA
West Los Angeles College
Culver City, CA
Santa Monica College
Santa Monica, CA
Chula Vista, CA
Santa Clara, California
Mission Viejo, CA
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