Cafe CLIL Discussion 17: English in the Wider World

Discussion 17: English in the Wider World

This discussion has come from suggestions from colleagues that English is now more than just a school subject. For many people around the world it is a life skill which they employ daily in their normal routine, beyond the walls of the classroom.

18.05.11 (5 to 6 pm Central EU time)

You can listen to a recording of this discussion at this YouTube link.

Cafe CLIL Participants:

KK - Keith Kelly (Host - Bulgaria)
JC - John Clegg (UK)
DN - Dennis Newson (Germany)
LS - Lida Schoen (Holland)
N C-S - Noreen Caplen-Spence - (Qatar)
EW - Egbert Weisheit (Germany)

The agenda is set:

- English in the world where are we going – for a quick view on numbers: 

- Language opportunities for children today - mobility in Europe, European legislation, regions with ‘natural’ multilingual groups (Malaysia), Middle East (Sri Lanka)

- Multilingualism, lessons from everyday life (taxi drivers are the best language learners)

- Supporting parents in their language choices for their children (Multilingual Mania in FB)

- Working towards English for International Communication / English as a Lingua Franca (does English have a role in international communication for debate, emergency, unrest – Facebook and North Africa?)

- Implications for education (teaching and learning additional language skills), rising numbers (32,000 International Passenger Survey in 2006 – EAL-bilingual, national achievement initiatives-Impacts and Experiences of Migrant Children in UK Schools

Problem with access to internet and technology

The question is asked about the technology not being freely accessible to everyone around the world, including the social media, which is a problem in creating means for communication. Security seems to be the problem.

There is a suggestion that we should take the opportunity to get learning outside of school, not necessarily to access internet outside school so much as access language outside school and encourage learners to investigate the language they see outside the classroom - the term offered for this is ‘capturing English’.  Using mobile phones to document student life is mentioned, and so is qik software ( as a medium for live broadcasting

The role of English for international communication

English and its role for international communication – you can only be on top of the latest discussions if you speak English, you have to use the English language to learn about opinions and to contribute to discussion. The European Day of Languages are mentioned and activities to 'celebrate' language through whole school language days as an approach.

English as an additional language

There was some agreement on the inclusive nature of this term, which allows the learner to make the language their own and also comments about the inclusive nature of the EAL methodology. If you're interested in literature on EAL, look for Pauline Gibbons, Geri Smyth, Haslam, Wilkin and Kellet.

Conclusions and implications for education

If CLIL is to succeed further as an approach for offering more learning support, it needs to go beyond individual teachers to include top-down measures of support for more teachers. There was pessimism about CLIL in Germany, optimism about CLIL in Holland (where 136 / 600 secondary schools are said to be bilingual now and the jury is still out on the UK.

Second Life, thanks Dennis!

Colleagues were offered a number of prompts in advance of the discussion. We didn't cover everything, but we had a very good debate.

'English in the wider world' (read this as the role of English in the global context, English for international communication). It's a very broad topic, but also an interesting one we haven't touched on. There is the Graddol work we can refer to (Future of English 1997 and English Next 2006), pick up on and talk about where we're going since his pieces were written, and there are tendencies (English as a medium in the Middle East, in Africa) which are significant in many aspects.

Other links on the question - What is the future of language?

Should we promote a common global language, should that be English?

Sarkozy said that Arabic is the language of the future addressing the French National Assembly in 2008 at a conference on Arabic language and culture teaching (Brussels Journal

What about the technology? Software to listen, translate and write what we say into another language   Babelfish

 Multilingualism is becoming / is already the norm. The future of language, in Science by Graddol 2004 

Graddol in English Today, English won’t be the sole language of the future, but rather will people switch between 2 or more languages during the course of their day 


 Panglish – the global English of the future