Café CLIL Discussion 04: The CLIL Debate CLIL: Complementing or Compromising English Language Teaching?

Discussion 04: The CLIL Debate
CLIL: Complementing or Compromising English Language Teaching? 

You can listen to the entire recording of our discussion in this YouTube link

We were joined by John Clegg, Lyubov Dombeva, and Egbert Weisheit.  Introductory text from colleagues new to the discussion follows here as well as a contact email.

The topic comes directly from the debate on the same theme at IATEFL Cardiff.  You can catch up on that debate at the IATEFL Website, or the onestopclil website.  

There is an article from Lyubov Dombeva at onestopclil with a subject teacher's perspective on the debate.  There is an English teacher's perspective at the onestopenglish website.

You can also give your opinions at the discussion forum at onestopclil after the debate at the conference is over.  The debate will go on!
There is also a PPT of questions related to CLIL attached below. It is from a meeting I had with trainers in Milan and the issues may be of interest to those listening to this discussion. 

Topics discussed:

I started out by setting the scene for the discussion.  The panel discussion in Cardiff at the IATEFL conference was the same morning of our discussion.
I said that I thought it would be interesting to hear the opinions from subject teachers about this theme as it comes from the ELT event.  I also thought it would be interesting to hear what the subject teachers thought about why the debate was going on.  Why this anxiety from the ELT world?  
Egbert says that in Germany there is little collaboration between the subject teachers and the language teachers and Lyubov says the same that in Bulgaria it's rare to find cross department collaboration.
John suggested that EU directives may be the source of some of the anxiety as the demand for more subjects taught through foreign languages will mean changes for language teachers.  This could be the source of the worry.
I always think that for language teachers CLIL should be an opportunity for enriching your teaching repertoire, about having more ideas for things to do in class.
Lyubov reminds us that content is actually there to stay in the language classroom and in textbooks you won't be able find a course that doesn't have chapters on some content area: environment, health, diet, etc.
Egbert points out that in Germany there is a tradition for 'pure' language teaching and there is a gap between the 'ideal' science learner and the ideal language learner, a gap built by the system which is hard to overcome.
Lyubov points out that in her experience students who are strong in language tend to be good at the science and the opposite is also true.

John states that there is a great need for more training for teachers.  There is a discussion about the role of universities and that there is still little initiative to coordinate pre- and even in-service training for teachers in Germany.  CLIL training does happen but it tends to be from individual institutions without supervising coordination from regional organizations.  Though there is a growing interest in English-medium education at University level, there is little provision for this to trickle down the system in the form of training for school teachers.
John mentioned that there is disquiet in the UK about English-medium education being shipped abroad to countries like Holland and Germany which will mean losses for UK universities.
In reality in Germany schools compromise and accept teachers who can teach their subjects through English, but who aren't certified to do so. Frankfurt University has a project for in-service training to offer certification for practising teachers.

I wanted to make sure we get in some discussion on the motivation of learners about studying their content through the medium of English.  In my experience, students flourish and it should be said that this is so.
Lyubov says that motivation comes from both parents, and students.  Some students will never be enthusiastic, but others find it fun and generally speaking their motivation comes from the development the learning will have for their English language and the access this will give them to study abroad.
Egbert states that there is usually some initial 'irritation' from the students when they have to do their science in English, but that in fact the motivation of the students motivate him to go on and do more each year.
John concludes for us that actually it's telling that the debate about CLIL is going on in the ELT world, where the caution is on the part of the language teachers, when it's actually the subject teachers who are doing the work.  There is a need for more training for subject teachers, and more investment in CLIL for content teachers, and there is a risk that the investment in the EFL world CLIL draws away necessary funding for Content CLIL.

Lyubov mentions a trip to the European parliament, you can find out more about it here:
Eurscola day at the EU parliament

Attached files

CLIL Questions