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CLIL: Challenge or opportunity ?. Belluno, September 9th, 2011 Gianfranco Porcelli. What exactly is CLIL?. C ontent and L anguage I ntegrated L earning It means learning new subject matter via the second or foreign language (from now on: L2 )

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CLIL: Challenge or opportunity ?


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    1. CLIL: Challenge or opportunity? Belluno, September 9th, 2011 Gianfranco Porcelli

    2. What exactly is CLIL? • Content and Language Integrated Learning • It means learning new subject matter via the second or foreign language (from now on: L2) • Corollary: if the learners already know the contents, then it is not CLIL • “not CLIL” does not mean “bad” but simply “different”

    3. CLIL vs. LSP • “Languages for Special/Specific Purposes” (LSP) have been part of our school system for decades • I taught Business English in Istituto Tecnico Commerciale in the 1960s! • The students were already familiar with the topics covered during my English classes – so, that was ESP, not CLIL!

    4. Why CLIL? • The basic principle is • Use as you learn and learn as you use • not • Learn now and (maybe) use later • We start mastering a language when it stops being a school subject and begins to be used for “real-life” purposes – tourism, entertainment (songs, comics, etc.), reading for general information…

    5. Why CLIL? (2) • CLIL brings out-of-school life and experience into the classroom • It compels learners to focus on what is said, not on how it is phrased • Terminologies (not just words but also complex expressions) are presented in meaningful contexts, which facilitates memorisation

    6. Who can benefit from CLIL? • In principle, anyone – whenever something new is acquired in a language that is not one’s mother tongue • Technically, we can speak of CLIL proper only in secondary and tertiary education • Can baby-CLIL be considered CLIL proper? • The example of arithmetic

    7. Who teaches CLIL classes? • Not the language teacher (this is another difference from LSP) but the teacher of the specific subject matter (n-LT, non-Language Teacher). Why? • Teaching a subject is not just having the learners read a textbook (adding perhaps a few explanations and clarifications) but organising a course with its labs and workshops, assigning homework, marking papers, evaluating the acquisition of the “logic” of the subject, and a lot more.

    8. Who teaches CLIL classes? (2) • In the countries that have included CLIL modules in the school syllabus (including Italy) the n-LT – in the Italian jargon, “insegnante disciplinare” - has been the choice • What are the problems? • The main problem in Italy is that few n-LTs know another language well enough to use it professionally

    9. The language problem in Italian schools • Bi- or tri-lingual immigrants find that they cannot communicate with most school principals and teachers in any language of wider circulation, e.g. English, French or Spanish • English is now required in competitions for posts of School Manager but many candidates try to avoid learning it, in various ways

    10. The language problem in Italian schools (2) • At the origin is the absence of a foreign language in some State examinations at the end of secondary school, notably Maturità Classica and Maturità Magistrale • As a consequence, several top people (politicians, leaders of all kinds, teachers, etc.) boast they know Ancient Greek and are not ashamed they cannot communicate in any modern language except Italian

    11. The language problem in Italian schools: towards a solution? (1) • The Italian Ministry of Education has launched a plan for the language training of n-LTs. The primary choice is English but Associations like ANILS are urging policymakers to adopt a plurilingual and multicultural perspective • The immediate target is preparing n-LTs for CLIL modules but positive side-effects can be expected

    12. The language problem in Italian schools: towards a solution? (2) • The side-effects will hopefully include: • Better communication with foreign learners and their families • A wider, less provincial perspective in the teachers’ personal education, sources of information, etc. • More and better tools for their professional training (most up-to-date sources are not in Italian and some are never translated)

    13. CLIL, CLIL, wherefore art thou notCLIL? This is the cry of despair from a colleague who, during an ANILS seminar, discovered that what she was doing in her English classes was not CLIL – nor it could be, by definition

    14. Preconditions for CLIL modules • A) “Disciplinary” (i.e. n-LT) teachers who are also competent in L2 • They know their subject and how to teach it; they are being trained to do so in English • B) Classes that have been prepared to • follow oral presentations in L2 with an adequate degree of understanding; • Write texts (notes, homework, reports, etc.) in L2; • etc.

    15. Point (B) is our job! • Ministry programmes or “Indicazioni” no longer prescribe “literature” but “culture” – which may mean just about anything, but in particular: • nature and structure of argumentative discourse • general scientific/technical terminology. • [NOT specific terminologies]

    16. The teacher of “lingua straniera” • One of the oddities in our “licei scientifici” is that, as far as L2 is concerned, “scientific” means “literary” • Or better, it used to mean: now there are no specific rules prescribing (the history of) literature; the culture of the foreign country/ies also includes much else and a lot of this “else” will be of much more use than the study of an anthology

    17. How do we prepare for CLIL? • Our duty is to hand over to n-LTs pupils who can follow classes, labs and workshops, do their homework and perform any other assignments in L2 • We are qualified as experts in textuality and are in a position to provide the clues and tools to process texts and discourses even when they are non-literary

    18. Textual Genres • An example: the English of Industrial Chemistry is basically found in: • a) Catalogues: new products, their qualities and advantages • b) Instructions for use, transportation and storage; what to do in case of accidental contacts and/or dispersal in the environment

    19. Keys to text analysis • Catalogues often include comparatives, both overt (better, more efficient, safer, etc.) and covert (improved, preferable…) • Instructions provide wonderful opportunities to develop the “deontic modality”, i.e. how to express obligations, permissions, prohibitions and the like – in English, mostly with imperatives and modals but there are other important and interesting linguistic devices that can be found in texts of that kind

    20. LSP Texts

    21. Problems of oracy arthritis leukemia/leukaemia cesium/caesium chlorine vs chloride silicon vs silicone

    22. Pronunciations and voices • All languages show several variations - regional, social, topic-related and depending on the channel of communication • It is imperative to train learners to understand different voices – male or female and from different areas (for example, at least UK and USA for English) – by means of suitable video and audio aids, plenty of which can be found on the web.

    23. Examples of English lessons • www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jdtt3LsodAQA short video on the concept of isotope • www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCARhVfeX5UThe reaction of caesium with water • www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXYlrw2JQwoSaturday Morning Science: a set of experiments in a microgravity environment (on the International Space Station)

    24. Towards “pre-CLIL” ? • There is no clear divide between everyday language andspecialist/specificlanguages • Instead there is a wide area of overlapping where the language teacher can find quite a lot to do with effectivevess • Let’s see how

    25. Language abilities common to all fields • Notice in particular logico-grammatical operators: • time: as long as, until , once (something has occurred), as soon as, whenever, on or before, since (something has occurred)… • concession: although, however,… • finality: for the purpose of, in order to, so that,… • condition: if, if... then..., only (e.g. only if...), unless, suppose... then..., as if,… • Cause and effect: because, as a result of, therefore, …

    26. If (but not “only if”…)

    27. Cause and effect

    28. “Scientific concepts” may refer to… • certain characteristics of the habits of thought of the individual scientist; • a number of concepts prerequisite to science but not unique to it; • certain linguistic skills common to all advanced academic or scholastic study; • one special prerequisite, that of practical numeracy; • those concepts which are unique and proper to a science, or at least inseparable from it.

    29. Certain characteristics of the habits of thought of the individual scientist • Reference here is to the effort towards objectivity, rationality and methodologicrigour that must characterise anyone doing scientific research • This is none of our business • Similarly, we can ignore the ability in calculation processes

    30. Concepts prerequisite to science • These include being able to deliberately generalise from observations, to talk abstractly about the generalisations, and to discern and describe relationships, influences and patterns. These abilities seem to relate to aspects of intelligence in the individual, as well as to a fairly late stage of mental development. • Therefore we must make sure that we do not expect levels of abstraction that are not compatible with the age of our pupils • e.g., no algebra in primary schools

    31. Affixes (prefixes and suffixes) in Italian • Prefissi: a- non- anti- pre- ante- post- co- con- de- sotto- infra- iper- ri- contra- sub- extra- trans- ultra- ecc. • Suffissi: -ismo –zione –azione –ico –ale -etico –izzare –abile/ibile ecc. • solfato solfito solfuro solforoso solforico solfidrato solfidrico • perborato iposodico transgenico • neutroni e neutrini – fermioni, bosoni e…

    32. Affixes (prefixes and suffixes) • Prefixes: a- non- anti- pre- ante- post- co- con- de- under- infra- hyper- re- contra- sub- extra- trans- ultra- etc. • Suffixes: -ism –tion –ation –ic –al -etic –ise –able/ible etc. • sulphate sulphite sulphide sulphurous sulphuric sulphuretted • perborate hyposodic transgenic • Neutrons and neutrinos • fermions and bosons

    33. classifying measuring space-time relations communicating inferring observing quantifying abstraction-making generalising model-making hypothesis-making testing theorising predicting replicating extrapolating etc. Some conceptual processes involved in learning science

    34. Some basic scientific concepts • observation • identification • differentiation • classification • experiment • description • problem • model • etc.

    35. Some “experimental” notions • crystallise, evaporate, volume, pressure, flow, vacuum, electrode, hydrolysis, distillate, residue

    36. Some “theoretical” concepts • evidence, support, model, postulate, prefer, reject, axiom, law, principle, hypothesis, pre-supposition, corollary… • interesting, trivial, irrelevant, important, valid, invalid , tenable, untenable… • infer, suppose, assume, validate, stand/fall, confirm, etc.,

    37. Some “mathematical” concepts • alike, different, greater, less, sequential, simultaneous, subsequent, infinite, indefinite, random… • include, exclude, increase, decrease, reduce, add, subtract, take away, combine, separate, precede, follow… • class, unit, set, member, order, sequence, zero…

    38. Intercultural differences • We cannot take any notions, even basic ones like time and cause, for granted • For example, in Islamic cultures there are difficulties about foreseeing and hypothesising about the future, which is in the hands of God • “I’m seeing friends tonight, inshAllah” • The several medicines (homeopathic, Chinese, Tuareg,…)

    39. Ordering • Are they in the correct order? • Friday • Monday • Saturday • Sunday • Thursday • Tuesday • Wednesday • It is a very simple test of the ability to make abstractions

    40. Co-occurrences • Atom • Ice • Cold • Companies • Point • Banks • Con…

    41. The odd-man-out • simultaneous different greater smaller same equal • evidence proof axiom hypothesis postulate • measure observe predict verify evaluate

    42. An important tool: NVRs

    43. Collaborative teaching • The LT is an EXPERT IN TEXTUALITY • The n-LT and the learnersare EXPERTS IN THE SUBJECT-MATTER • Is co-teaching in the classroom an optimal condition? • The essential condition is very close collaboration in total agreement

    44. CLIL: Challenge or opportunity? • Introducing CLIL proper into Italian schools poses a number of problems, considering the low level of bilingualism in most teachers; • The Ministry is doing something but all the stakeholders are required to prepare themselves for the new modules; • As we have seen, this also applies to LTs, who are to hand over students who can follow non-linguistic classes in L2. This means we are facing a CHALLENGE

    45. CLIL: Challenge or opportunity? • Non-literary texts often show a high degree of multi-modality (words, pictures, graphs, tables, diagrams…) that is interesting in itself, beside being an aid to learning; • A well-defined teaching objective favours motivation (ours, even before the students’); • It will be gratifying to see that what the students have learned will be fruitfully used immediately, before leaving the school. CLIL offers plenty of OPPORTUNITIES

    46. Contacts • gianfrancoporcelli@yahoo.it • www.gporcelli.it • [gp.anils@yahoo.it] • www.anils.it