"Classroom management techniquesand interactive activitiesin a CLIL context" Antonio Bueno González University of Jaén
Objectives To briefly discuss the rationale of a CBI / CLIL approach. To suggest some classroom management techniques that take advantage of content-based instruction, by using English as the vehicular language to learn content. To offer possible activities to encourage interactive patterns in the CLIL classroom.
1. Content-Based Instruction (CBI) It is a self-explanatory term, closely related to the communicative method and to approaches such as the task- and the project-based ones. The foreign language is the vehicle of instruction but not to teach the language itself but other content areas. A meaningful and motivating approach for learners.
Its most important tenets (cf. Tejada Molina, PérezCañado and LuqueAgulló 2005:200):
It is meaningful, interesting and useful. It addresses students’ needs and wants. It connects previous experience and new information. It involves learning by doing. It is demanding on the part of the teacher. It is related to the teaching of languages for specific purposes and to bilingual programmes.
2. Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Footed on the theoretical and practical principles of CBI. CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning). AICLE (Aprendizaje Integrado de Contenidos y Lenguas Extranjeras). EMILE (Enseignement des MatièresIntegré avec des LanguesÉtrangères). Plan de Fomento del Plurilinguismo en Andalucía. The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
Language learning is included in content classes (eg, maths, history, geography, computer programming, science, civics, etc). This means repackaging information in a manner that facilitates understanding. Charts, diagrams, drawings, hands-on experiments and the drawing of key concepts and terminology are all common CLIL strategies. Content from subjects is used in language-learning classes. The language teacher, working together with teachers of other subjects, incorporates the vocabulary, terminology and texts from those other subjects into his or her classes. Students learn the language and discourse patterns they need to understand and use the content. (Mehisto, Marsh and Frigols, 2008:11)
Language showers CLIL camps Student exchanges Local projects International projects Family stays Modules Work-study abroad One or more subjects Partial immersion Total immersion Two-way immersion Double immersion (Mehisto, Marsh and Frigols, 2008:13-19)
Core features of CLIL methodology (cf. op.cit.: 29-30): Multiple focus. Safe and enriching learning environment. Authenticity. Active learning. Scaffolding. Cooperation.
3. Classroom management techniques 3.1. The need for creating intrinsic motivation Intrinsic motivation: that taking place inside the classroom (Harmer, 19912: 3). The importance of English in the modern world as a lingua franca in many facets of life. In the CLIL context, this intrinsic motivation is helped by the interest on the part of students in the different subject areas taught in English. Useful techniques: Brainstorming previous knowledge students have about that particular subject. Eliciting English equivalents to specific vocabulary related to that subject. Using a bilingual content dictionary in English.
The atmosphere created in class contributes to their liking of the subject. Contributing factors: Relaxation. Good rapport between the teacher and the students. Affect. Opportunities to take part. The students’ sense of feeling themselves important. The conviction that what you say/do is taken into account, that you are listened to.
Humanistic methods (cfStevick 1990): Suggestopedia Counselling Language Learning The Silent Way Total Physical Response
CLIL provides us with a first step to overcome the fact that some students do not like languages in general, foreign languages, or particularly English as a foreign language. Teaching their favourite subjects in English may have the additional benefit of practising the foreign language while enjoying Geography, History, Mathematics, Physical Education or any other subject. Activities should make it clear that the purpose is studying those subjects (while the learning of English goes practically unnoticed).
3.2. Reducing Teacher Talking Time for the benefit of Student Talking Time Successful language classrooms are those in which the students do most of the speaking. The Silent Way (the teacher is silent most of the time). What is taken for granted is that if we want our students to talk in class, we should stimulate them and, next, keep quiet for them to have the opportunity to speak. Classroom observation procedures. One of the many characteristics of a learner-centred classroom is the reduction of Teacher Talking Time (TTT) for the benefit of Student Talking Time (STT). This also means that part of the leading role is switched to students.
In some language classrooms both students and teachers often state that there is not much talking on the part of the students because they do not have much to say. In a CLIL atmosphere, hopefully, students are familiar with the content areas and therefore their possibilities to intervene are increased. This is demanding For students For the teacher
Lesson planning: Presentation time is reduced in favour of Practice and Production. This is particularly true in the case of a CLIL context: an experiential, learning by doing, hands-on approach. Presentation time is almost exclusively occupied by the teacher. If we want our students to participate, Practice and Production are to be encouraged. An inductive approach.
3.3. Presenting content through language An interactive CLIL classroom should focus the presentation of content in English by exposing students first of all to plenty of examples in a context. Contextualization is crucial if we want to present the new language as meaningful and functional, and this is paramount when dealing with CLIL.
Useful techniques: Elicitation of previous knowledge about the content area. The teacher can build on that (scaffolding technique) to present the content in English. In this way, students will discover by themselves that language learning has a semantic purpose. Without their noticing, while they center their attention on Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Physical Education, History, Geography or Computing, they are presented structures and vocabulary in English.
Elicitation: The teacher elicits examples, rules and exceptions, expansion of given items, etc. from students. This allows them to participate and to feel they are part of the presentation stage, traditionally considered the teacher's territory. This sense of participation encourages them to inquire about controversial aspects and to pose doubts and problems in need of solution. We encourage them to use English at all moments, although they are dealing with content related to specific subjects.
3.4. Practising and manipulating content and language In a learner-centred approach, students are responsible for their own learning. The teacher is a facilitator. The objective of Content and Language Integrated learning is for students to learn the different subjects by using the language, playing with it, manipulating it, experimenting with it. For some of them it is probably the first time they are taught a given content area in English.
As in many other human activities, practice is needed in CLIL: Mechanical vs meaningful practice. Meaningful, contextualized, practice familiarizes students with language and content, although it is more manipulative than creative. Actual examples: Using a lexical item in different contexts. Providing examples. Posing content problems and doubts. Giving definitions. Asking questions with the lexical item after being presented.
All kinds of structure manipulation can be included here, providing that some context is given: Questions should be placed in authentic contexts related to the subject at issue. Negatives should refer to real content facts. Temporal verb references can be very useful for History matters. Geography teaching can be used as an excuse to use place prepositions and adverbials. Maths is useful to practice numbers and operations in English. Definitions can be used in a variety of subjects.
Functionally, practice exchanges can involve the use of short remarks (almost automatic, spontaneous) to teacher interventions and frequent repetition of them. Repetition is the art of learning and teaching: a lot of repetition must take place at this stage.
Replication of given language items provides students with confidence to be more adventurous with the language and to be able to produce something creative as much as their knowledge of the subject allows them. Practice activities help to establish trust, build confidence and help to break the ice, especially in the case of oral practice. In the CLIL classroom the terms trust and confidence have to be understood as related to Personal feelings Language proficiency, and Content knowledge
3.5. Encouraging creative production Main criticisms of drills and the audio-lingual method. Manipulative practice can only be justified on the grounds of its being a preparatory and necessary step before creative production. It provides some kind of guidance before attempting free, personal use of the language. Practice is more concerned with usage, production has to do with use.
Features that characterize language production: The need to use the language is created and, consequently, a desire to speak or to write. Clear goals also have to be established so that students can see the purpose of using the language in relation to the content area. The speaker/writer possesses a store of language items s/he can use as a consequence of meaningful practice and/or contextualized presentation. The language user selects from his/her stock language items to express ideas and to verbalize their knowledge of the subject matter.
Production has to be interactive. Linguistic contextualization allows the language user to see the language as related to the content area, globally, not as isolated chunks. The situational context, the setting, helps the speaker/writer in the selection of language items appropriate for the topic at issue. For that, previous instruction on the part of the teacher is necessary, both concerning the content and the language. Last but not least, for production to take place, opportunities should be provided for students to be creative and personal.
3.6. Responding to students' work and providing feedback Students expect the teacher will do something in order to respond to their work. They need some kind of feedback. This is an essential part of classroom dynamics and, obviously, creates other possible interaction patterns. Respondingvscorrecting. Correcting is part of responding but responding comprises many more issues, the sum of which can be termed feedback.
Suggestions for responding: There must be a response not only to what students did wrongly but also -and predominantly- to what they did rightly. We cannot forget that in a CLIL context content and language are integrated but content is paramount. Therefore, fluency is more important than accuracy, although the latter can neither be forgotten. Suggestions should be provided, not only about how to remedy something that was wrong, but also on how to expand and improve on something that was acceptable. Teachers should warn students against recurrent and systematic faults. From the linguistic point of view teacher's feedback helps students to anticipate problems. Gaps in the content area can be solved in the mother tongue.
Students expect not only to be told where their weaknesses appear but even more important how to solve them, i.e. some suggestions for remedial work. Anyway, the CLIL classroom should not be dominated by excessive attention to language. Reasonably acceptable English is desirable and unless a communication breakdown is produced, the teacher should try and avoid on-the spot correction and use delay correction if necessary. As in other teaching contexts, indication is preferable to correction. A response on the part of the teacher helps students to know how they are doing not only as regards content but also language, to identify areas which they have already mastered and those which are in need of deeper study and practice. In sum, responding to students' performance becomes an unavoidable and highly productive interaction pattern in the CLIL class.
4. Interactive patterns A learner-centred classroom: Different groupings (pair and group work). Different interaction patterns in which students are the main protagonists. Benefits in the CLIL classroom with regard to both content and language.
Forming the pairs or the groups: One possibility may be for students to form them spontaneously, according to their preferences, which can be quite motivating. Concern for keeping a quiet classroom when forming pairs and groups or other reasons may lead the teacher into the convenience of forming them by him/herself. Students who are brilliant or weak in the subject can -and should- be mixed, the grouping of shy and talkative participants may keep the group alive. Working with different people in class each time is always enriching for the general atmosphere. Sometimes, the teacher's intervention for this matter simply makes things go quicker, which is often a priority.
Giving clear instructions for pair and group work. From experience we know of the difficulty of some students (Spanish students are a good example of that) to keep themselves speaking in English. Instructions should be clear from the very beginning (even in the mother tongue if necessary) and this means students really spend their time on carrying out the activity itself and not talking about it.
Circulating round the classroom: Not as an invigilator but as a helper. Without interrupting rudely, the teacher may decide to take part for some minutes in order to encourage particular members of the group to speak or to prevent some of them from monopolizing the activity. Circulation obviously helps the teacher to check that they are working on the subject and that they keep using English. "Better in English", "Too much Spanish heard over here", "Why not in English?", etc.
Other suggestions: Organizing some kind of rounding off: Presenting contributions from the groups by means of speakers. Mingling the groups. Some kind of homework follow-up can also be suggested by the teacher.
5. A battery of CLIL techniques, resources and activities Taken from Atención a la diversidad en la enseñanzaplurilingüe (2009), a CD publication which contains the main contributions of the I, II, and III Jornadas de Formación del Profesorado held at the University of Jaén in 2006, 2007 and 2008, funded by the Plan de Fomento del Plurilingüismo. Unapolíticalingüísticapara la sociedadandaluza. Most of these teaching practices were implemented in Andalusian schools. Some of them are placed in the university context either in Andalusia or in other places. All of them are interactive and demand classroom management techniques of the type suggested above. A reference is made to the authors and the activities and the interested teacher and/or researcher is advised to check the CD for more detail and didactic exploitation. This is just a selection and more interesting ideas can be found in the publication. Thanks are due to the different contributors.
Using eTwinning for teaching cultural diversity(Ana Mª MalagónGarrido, Mary J. Dunmall Connor and Manuel Moral Martos) Cooking Day Cooking Contest Idols International Dictionary of Young People’s Slang Expressions
Connecting multilingualism and interculturality(Mª Carmen MéndezGarcía) Awareness-building activities Comparing and contrasting cultures Using maps Deconstruction and reconstruction of cultural facts
New technologies and CLIL(Isabel Pérez Torres) Hot Potatoes activities Clic activities Treasure Hunts Web tasks WebQuests Projects The Web Learning Tube Activities with e-mail, blogs and chats Wikis Radioblog
A bilingualMathsdictionary(Almudena Casares Fernández) Elaborating the dictionary Presenting entries in English and Spanish helped by illustrations Using web pages Creating a bank of activities Vocabulary cards Cards with exercises Posters to illustrate vocabulary
Useful resources for CLIL(Isabel Mª Espinosa Zafra) Classroom vocabulary Classroom norms Posters Songs and poems Room labels Conocimiento del Mediodidacticunits (OurEnvironment + Science + PhysicalEducation + English) Samples of tasks
Using Open Office in CLIL(Francisco GarcíaJiménez) Written documents Flashcards Posters Presentations Web pages WebQuests Treasure Hunts Interactive documents on the screen Crossword puzzles Logos Maths activities
Teaching non-linguistic areas in CLIL(Francisco GarcíaJiménez) Using English for: Environmental Sciences Visual Arts Music Maths Spanish Language Classroom routines
The use of wikis in CLIL(Monsalud del Moral Villalta) Sharing knowledge through the Internet Collaborative learning Learner-centred curriculum Autonomous learning Web links An additional learning space
Spanish learning materials for immigrants (EncarnaciónSánchez Robles andPedro GonzálezRus)
A selection of materials and activities.
Using the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol in CLIL (Teresa Gerdes) Think – Pair – Share Lesson preparation Previous knowledge Comprehensible input Learning strategies Classroom interaction Practice Classroom dynamics Revision and assessment Useful examples
Using Web 2.0 in CLIL(Monsalud del Moral Villalta) Wikis Blogs RSS (Real Simple Syndication) Podcasts GoogleDocs and Spreadsheets Social markers
Attention to diversity in the integrated curriculum (Domingo Ruiz Gómez andCarmen Mª VilchesPeña) Integrating Spanish language (reading, writing and grammar) and study techniques. Integrating Maths and English.
Further Reading Works cited Otherusefulreferences