Italy - TechnoCLIL-Forever Webinar
Introduction - Seeing the bigger picture
Some colleagues are attracted to CLIL 'projects', small-scale time-bound activities which they can slot into their curriculum. These CLIL projects offer a refreshing supplement to the 'regular' curriculum. We're not going to talk about that approach to CLIL.
I'd like you to imagine that you are sitting with your curriculum document for the year to come. It's late Summer and you are preparing for your classes. Open the document and turn to the first unit of work. What you are likely to be looking at, if indeed your Ministry of Education provides such curriculum guidelines, is a section heading, sub-topics and aims and objectives (outcomes and how to get there) and within each sub-topic aims and objectives there will be information about new concepts and there may be descriptors of skills. The skills may even be divided into categories, such as subject-specific (e.g., 'science skills), creative thinking skills, critical thinking skills, and if it's a very modern curriculum, it may even have 'life skills' or 'soft skills'.
What the document is NOT likely to include beyond key terms (epithelial, muscular, nervous etc), is lanugage needed to help meet the demands of the aims, objectives, and skills.
The first thing to do, is immediately add a column to that curriculum document unit of work and call it 'useful language'. Add a second column and call that 'activities' or 'procedures'. In the empty boxes you now have in your curriculum document, begin to audit your subject for key language.
There are three layers of language that a teacher can pay attention to in preparation of lessons: subject-specific language, general academic language, and peripheral language. The subject-specific language pretty much takes care of itself in terms of the curriculum guidelines. Biology teachers 'know' what specific terms they have to teach in a given unit. This language is frequently 'visible' in the textbooks, may be bolded on the page, and may be listed in a glossary at the back of the book. General academic language, on the other hand, tends not to be so obvious in the subject unless the teacher does something to make it visible. The language of 'cause-effect' is essential language in many areas of the curriculum and making note of some of this language, in order to strategically plan how to integrate it into lessons and activities is at the heart of a CLIL approach. Lastly, peripheral language, is the language of the classroom, the organisation, the 'chat' of the classroom which it may also be useful for the teacher to 'monitor', 'moderate' and plan for strategically.
Using mindmanagersmart to create a map of two year's of Geography vocabulary
Activities / procedures
Let's face it, every lesson on the same topic could be delivered in a very different way. All teachers have their own preferences, their own styles. But, in a CLIL curriculum, there needs to be a strategy where language is linked to what happens in the classroom. To give an example, the best way for a class to learn how to use 'cause-effect' language in a science lesson is for there to be activities which 'make' the learners use this language. Now we are narrowing down the options, we can begin to talk about 'how' we 'make the learners use this language'.
Guiding input and supporting output (use structures to help learners process text, process input media), provide scaffolding for supporting learners to speak and to write. Collect as many examples as possible of these, and list them in your empty boxes.
Now take a step back from your curriculum document for a moment.
Imagine having all of this language audited and all of these procedures listed for the entire curriculum document. You will now be holding a CLIL curriculum document for your subject.
Step back further.
Talk to your colleagues, department heads, school management about what you have done. Share information about what language is common and where in the different subject curricula. Now do this up and own the age range as well. Plot and rearrange curriculum topics so that language and skills (procedures) are 'joined up' across the curriculum. Get everyone to do the same across the entire school curriculum. What you will be doing now is mapping CLIL across the school curriculum. When cause-effect language now appears in Science, it will also make sense for, say, Geography. This same cause-effect language now appears in the English language curriculum, perhaps just before it does in Science so that learners are more prepared for the work they are about to do in Science.
Now, your school is on the same journey, and everyone is using the same map.
What I'd like to do now is look at the above in more detail, and giving examples of 'mapping' in different areas of the curriculum subject areas.
1 mapping subject-specific terminology
Begin mapping your subject-specific terminology. The benefit of giving your students maps of key terminology from your subject is that you give them a 'basis' on which to build their subject language. The maps can also be used for annotating in other languages. Give your students access to the software, and encourage them to edit the maps with their own content terms (colour, shape, symbols, sound, video).
Encourage self-study using the maps (compare this with an approach which asks learners to write out new words x times). Offer techniques for learners to memorise maps. The map is highly learner-friendly and learning-friendly.
Put all your terms into Quizlet lists and give a homework for your learners to work on the week's list on their smart phone, tablet, laptop etc at home, on the bus, at the bus stop.
Build the maps and lists once, use as many times as you like.
2 concept maps and general academic language
Concept maps like those at 'cmaps' allow users to embed general academic language in the branches of maps, unlike mind maps which just have 'cells' populated with language items.
Once you have audited and mapped the general academic language of a sub-topic in your subject, consider how you can combine the subject-specific language with the general academic language in a reference resource for learners to turn to in order to check that they do actually know what they are expected to know in your curriculum document.
Concept map on human organism
3 curriculum maps
The three dimensions of CLIL are language, procedures and concepts. Curriculum guidlines for CLIL must be designed in 3D.
A 'music studio mixing desk analogy', or 3D CLIL, allows teachers to make considered decisions about how much attention they pay to the language, the procedures and the concepts depending on where their students are at any given moment in their learning and in the subject curriculum.
Highlight concepts, procedures and language in your curriculum tables, link them to tasks, make decisions about language here initially.
Heidi Hayes Jacobs
in the US writes about the 'joined up curriculum' and Geri Smythe
in the UK gives guidance to teachers for designing curricula with EAL learners in mind.
A language audit feeds into the curriculum guidelines
4 concept structures
Another interesting way of looking at maps is to consider how you can map concept structures for use in tools during lessons. These tools can be used for both 'guiding input' and / or 'supporting output'.
Identify ideas 'maps' in subject texts and in multi-media content to guide your students through lesson input content.
Identify ideas structures and embed key language in these structures to support your learners in speaking and writing in your subject.
Ideas structures like this one on 'natural and synthetic materials' from tigtagworld clil, can be used to both guide input and support output
Take a look at tigtagworld clil
for lots of ideas for instruments based on structuring content for 'guiding' and 'supporting' learners.
What we've looked at in simple terms is the 'big picture' of organizing learning in a CLIL programme. We've looked at the curriculum guidelines as a starting point for auditing language (3 layers) and for highlighting key procedures (activities) which respect the three dimensions of CLIL: concepts, procedures and language. We've looked at mapping subject-specific language, and the maps as a self-study tool (along with Apps like Quizlet) for learners. We've considered concept mapping for producing pictures of ALL the language in a unit of work. We've also looked in closer detail at maps of content ideas and structures and how they can be exploited to guide learners through input content, and support learners with their own spoken and written content output.
All of the above is at the heart of the course - Putting CLIL into Practice to be held at Plovdiv Medical University, July 9th to 13th, 2018.
((Also, if you register for our course in Plovdiv through Erasmus+ or with other funding, you can send me your materials, texts, and I will incorporate them into the course content - https://erasmus.mu-plovdiv.bg/en/putting-clil-into-practice-course/course-information/
. This way, participants on the course can be sure that we will be working on materials useful for teaching back in their schools.))
My slides from the webinar are given at the foot of this page.
There is also a recording of the talk, which can be viewed online (though I can't say how long it will be available, so get it while it's hot!)