Thursday, 10 November 2011

Doubts about CLIL: food for thought?

In the most recent IATEFL magazine, "Voices", Chaz Pugliese (a trainer and author working out of Paris) voices his doubts about CLIL in his regular column. Here are some of his concerns. What do YOU think?
  • English will in the long run threaten some weaker European languages.
  • In several European countries the language level requirement for a content teacher is B1, so teachers' English is not good enough.
  • The lack of adequate teacher training for CLIL: a two-week summer school is not enough to teach a CLIL class (just as a two-week biology summer school would not be enough for an English teacher to re-train to teach biology!).
  • CLIL seems to rely on the fact that languages are acquired, not learned. Second language acquisition research, on the other hand, indicates that focus on noticing and practising language is needed for internalisation and automaticity. Learning by just using the langugage "just doesn't do it".
  • Some research in Hong Kong indicates that CLIL learners' motivation suffered in CLIL classes.

1 comment:

  1. I agree B1 is quite a low requirement. I hate it when a CLIL teacher uses English incorrectly. It is a fact that some pupils achieve C1 proficiency during their secondary school education, and therefore their teachers MUST have the same or a higher level of English!
    When this is not the case, pupils end up refusing to speak English in class. That motivation might diminish in these cases should not count as being odd.
    I disagree that CLIL would rely on the aquisition of languages as opposed to learning it. The only way to teach a CLIL class in my opinion, is with a healthy focus on language used. I do recognise that many CLIL teachers do not teach in ways that focus on language, they just use it.
    I am really worried that poorly translated books are sometimes used in class. That is, a Dutch method translated into English without employing a native English editor who is most excellently versed in the subject matter.
    I almost wept when I had to work with the 'numbers and space' books. A new version is being published, and I hear it is better, but I have not had opportunity to look at the newer versions extensively.