The significance of content and language-integrated learning of the English language
Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №6 - 2014
Author: Oskolkova Anna, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan
In the strategy of Kazakhstan -2050 the trilingual policy emphasized equal acquisition of the third English
language in the bilingual country. It is supposed that through learning subject
content in three languages students will get access to additional information,
new perspectives, and deeper understanding of other cultures [4, p. 5]. The
created trilingual environment increases students’ potential, develops their
flexibility, critical and creative thinking, and ability to cross-cultural
cooperation, fosters respect towards themselves and others, and increases their
willingness and skills to learn the languages. In this regard CLIL approach in
education might be the nearly single solution which combines the content of the
training curriculum and teaching in a foreign language. “CLIL is an umbrella
term covering a dozen or more educational approaches (e.g. immersion, bilingual
education, multilingual education, language showers and enriched language
programs). If learning content through languages has been practicing in
Kazakhstani tertiary education, for secondary schools it still needs developing
and determining ways of implementation [4, p. 543]. According to the last
elaborated curriculum for these schools, History of Modern Kazakhstan, Kazakh
language and Literature are taught in Kazakh, the language of instruction for
Russian language and Literature is Russian, subjects like Visual Arts, Global
Perspectives, Economics lessons, half of Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, and
Physics are taught in English [2, p. 21].
The other reason to state that CLIL
approach is able to bring our country trilingualism is based on recently held international
practice results. In 1998 the European Platform, in cooperation with the CLIL
schools network, laid down a standard for bilingual VWO [3, p.130]. In 2003, a quality project was launched to monitor the development of CLIL in individual schools. This
standard is considered to be the guideline for new schools and underlies school
efforts to secure a CLIL quality guarantee. The standard recognises four
components, namely ‘results’, ‘educational process’, ‘quality’ and ‘preconditions’.
The first component, ‘results’, describes the final aims of the CLIL streams
for students to study not only for language purposes, but also with a view to
preparing themselves for an international future. Knowledge of English and the
ability to live and work in an international environment are considered to be
important aspects of CLIL. Today schools are main providers of learners to
universities and by the results of obligatory IELTS exam for school-leavers;
they have an opportunity to study overseas too.
The second component,
‘educational process’, defines quantitative and qualitative requirements.
Quantitative requirements include the number of hours taught and the subjects
to be taught using CLIL. English as the second or third language is
specifically mentioned as having a similar status to that of first language.
The ‘quality’ component
includes teaching skills and human resources, required language proficiency to
at least B2 according to Common European Framework level, native speakers to
support the CLIL stream, etc. Undoubtedly, teachers are informed about the work
expected of them and how they are meant to carry it out, for example a
didactical profile of teachers is given. CLIL makes demands on teachers that
differ somewhat from those experienced in mainstream education [1, p. 143].
They are meant to encourage their students to actively use the target language
as often as possible. In this way knowledge of specialist terminology in each
subject is acquired. Naturally, a lot of attention is paid to communication
skills. The second component also includes internationalization, which is meant
to play a central role in the school's policy and curriculum.
third and fourth components include measures to ensure that the school pays
attention to the quality of its CLIL stream and the preconditions for setting
it up. In this respect, it is important to mention that teachers have special
pedagogical development courses or sharing workshops. Like other language
teachers we are encouraged to make contribution in developing subject course
plans, enriching it with supplementary materials on CLIL. Teacher is allowed to
fulfill the course plan with other relevant material according to the new
experienced teachers can teach English without a textbook. However, it is not easy
to do it all the time, though they may do it sometimes. Many teachers do not
have enough time to make supplementary materials, so they just follow the
textbook. Textbooks therefore take on a very important role in language
classes, and it is important to select a good textbook or be collateralized
with a data base of supplementary materials.
moment is that during English lessons, students need to activate their ability
to apply English in the context of core curriculum subjects. Further it is projected
that all elaborated and selected materials will be applied in designing of new
textbooks based on CLIL approach. Therefore, every teacher should be a
specialist and be able to modify not only teaching process but also teaching
materials in terms of to meet today’s students’ need.
If to analyze the background of teaching
materials development experience, it can be found that critical distinguishing
of materials development from a holistic methodology sub-section started to raise the interest of educators from the middle of 1990s.
Before, materials usually served as examples of a particular method but it was
little said about the principles and procedures of materials development.
There were only some publications reflect the questions of how to evaluate,
select materials on practical way.
Language policy is Kazakhstan's path of integration into the world community. Today in Kazakhstan society, it is
carried out the policy of trilingualism which aimed in acquiring by the population
Kazakh, Russian and English languages. Secondary
schools in Kazakhstan make contributions on realization of the policy in
different levels. In schools Kazakh, Russian and English languages are taught
not only as language subjects but also as a medium of instruction for content
subjects to give an incentive to academic language as well as content learning.
The significance of shifting the focus from a language as a subject to a
language as a tool is that through learning subject content in these three
languages students will get access to additional information, new perspectives,
and deeper understanding of other cultures. The main reason why CLIL has
become essential to Kazakhstan is that it might be the way of State Language Policy
Schools work on
implementation of this policy in a curricular level. The content language
integrated curricular and other supporting documents developed together with
the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education.
For carrying out this issue, it was
necessary to consider CLIL because it has lots of verges and interpretations.
The European Commission gives the next definition "Content and Language
Integrated Learning (CLIL), in which pupils learn a subject through the medium
of a foreign language……" this explanation proves CLIL is perceived as
a part of a Curricular, which is true but is not precise about the level of
students and to what extent should be the language immersion. The other
definition is more detailed "CLIL refers to situations where subjects,
or parts of subjects, are taught through a foreign language with dual-focused
aims, namely the learning of content, and the simultaneous learning of a
foreign language". Content and Language Integrated Learning: The
European Dimension - Actions, Trends and Foresight Potential). This citation
emphasises the 'dual-focused' objective of CLIL and justifies its importance
within the implementation of bilingual or trilingual policies. Moreover, observations
showed that CLIL based curricular is able to lead to several of benefits. Coyle
wrote that CLIL is "… an approach to bilingual education in which both
curriculum content (such as science or geography) and English are taught together.
It differs from simple English-medium education in that the learner is not
necessarily expected to have the English proficiency required to cope with the
subject before beginning study" [4, p.546]. These observations once
again demonstrate us that CLIL is much more powerful in terms of improving of
language skills, and the most essential consideration is that learners of
different levels in a foreign language can be involved to do their 'CLIL-ing'.
This sounds fabulously, but there several reasons to state that relying on the
practice of introduction of CLIL.
- Teachers consider carefully their
teaching methodology from both content and language in order to learners understanding
the content properly and are able to apply English;
- CLIL input requires careful lesson
planning starting from introducing key terms, usually science subjects’ vocabulary,
encouraging students to work in groups, eliciting appropriate tasks which would
result in an increase of the skill-based focus of the learning;
- As CLIL involves curricular it goes
without saying that the educational materials need to be elaborated;
- Language learning is likely to be more
clearly focused and seen from different sides, for example science terminology
is studied equally as common widely used vocabulary.
All these bullet-points are desirable, in
educational terms. Ensuring that students understand the content, reducing
teacher-talk, increasing the focus on skills, making students to learn language
items that are always contextualized are always functionally necessary in the
classroom. Undoubtedly, there are many pros which school administration,
students and teachers can face in implementation of this policy. First of all,
students are motivated in not only learning English as a foreign language with
a set of grammar and vocabulary but in acquiring it through the relevant and
realistic meaning. If students cannot relate a studied foreign L2 or L3 to
their own life and the L2 or L3 is not taught in connection with authentic context,
students might have problems. They may find it difficult to understand why they
need to learn the foreign language if it is not related to their lives in any
way. However, if language and also content learning demonstrated more relevance
to the everyday lives of students, their motivation for learning an L 2,3 and
their general interest in a particular subject might increase [1, p. 112].
Therefore, introduction of CLIL in Kazakhstani secondary education in the scope
of implementation of the trilingual education comes in handy forcing the policy
to teaching and learning methods. However, regarding secondary and high schools
there is little experience and outcomes’ analysis of content language
integrated learning or one can find examples of their overlapping in teaching
and learning English as a temporary phenomenon. Therefore, CLIL in English
class still needs developing and determining ways of implementation.
developed English course plans require from an English teacher to teach content
through language regarding some topics and facilitate student’s progress on
science subjects. Up-to-date requirements to the implementation of this policy
gave rise to many questions in teaching and learning language. From one hand,
students with different language levels (L3) have to understand the appropriate
grammar and vocabulary structures and on the other hand, they must memorize and
retain more specific information, specific vocabulary of Science subject.
Observation and discussion between academic and linguistic subjects’ teachers
determined students’ poor performance in English takes place in the learning of
Science subjects. That’s why CLIL is becoming a call of the time in the Science
lessons as well as in English.
spite of counted above advantages of CLIL approach, teachers today face the
main hindrance to implement this approach into practice, the shortage of materials.
Moreover according to the new curricular there is no tie to the course book and
teachers are free to use any relevant materials, especially with CLIL input.
Therefore the central issue of the thesis became the consideration of
possibilities for materials development with CLIL approach. The first taken
action was the research of the theory on teaching materials development.
include textbooks, video and audio tapes, computer software, and visual aids.
They influence the content and the procedures of learning. The choice of
deductive versus inductive learning, the role of memorization, the use of
creativity and problem solving, production vs. reception, and the order in
which materials are presented are all influenced by the materials. The overview
of literature on EFL materials development shows the significance of the topic
for linguistics and reflects its way during the last forty decades. As it is
seen, now it is focusing less on ways of selecting materials and more on the
application of theory to practice and practice to theory. But there are still
little investigation’s results about their actual communicative effectiveness.
For this sphere to become more valuable and credible it needs to become more
empirical. There might be an investigation which compares the long term effect
on students’ communicative competence of various materials applied by one and
the same teacher to ‘instruct’ the same theme to equivalent learners. Or it
would be interesting to give learners of equal competence to choose different materials
to the same communicative aims, and compare their achievements. Likewise,
comparison of the effects of materials produced in different ways for example,
text driven vs. teaching point driven to achieve the same objectives would be
development materials is now not only undertaken by practitioners but is also
is a field of academic study. In spite of its great importance, materials development
and evaluation has been a new trend in the process of language teaching. It
does not have a long history. Tomlinson explains that the study of materials
development was not given any real importance until the 1990s when books on
this subject started to be published. Literature analysis behind teaching
materials development determined main authors like Tomlinson, Masuhara and
Harwood who are not only practicing writers of language-learning materials but
also academics theorizing about materials development.
This findings gave us
reasons to examine the process of teaching materials development which is
consist of selecting, evaluation, adapting and production. Especially we paid
attention to evaluation's two stages: External and Internal. Evaluation of the
material is decisive stage in material development process and needs attentive
consideration including the selecting of generated materials too. After going
through these stages teacher comes to a conclusion to develop this material
into a teaching material or to get rid of it even after the internal
Next important part is materials
adaptation. It is a part where teachers consider how to adapt materials
systematically or intuitively every day. The analysis of references about
materials adaptation is surprisingly little. In one of the main early
publication on materials development, Madsen and Bowen, paid attention to adaptation
process. They came to the important feature that considerate teachers are
always adapting the materials they are using to the context in which they are
using them in order to achieve the optimal harmony between materials,
methodology, learners, objectives, the target language and the teacher’s
personality and teaching style. In order to achieve this harmony Madsen and
Bowen proposed an example of reasons for adaptation [1, p. 250]. The purpose of
material adaptation is so that to make material meaningful and interesting for
learners. Haines believes that the purpose of adaptation is render materials
‘more relevant and effective and effective’ [3, p. 56]. About the purpose of
adaptation is to cater the heterogenic class mentioned in the works of Gibbons
he acknowledges that adapted in so way materials can be ‘more engaging,
achievable, and memorable [2, p. 67]. As a matter of fact, teaching materials
analysis and evaluation assist teachers to gain good and useful insights into
the nature of the material. In fact, it is extremely important for us as
teachers to evaluate, select and adapt teaching materials to meet our teaching
and students' learning needs in order to get the most out of learning
We found that
CLIL-specific learning materials support the creation of enriched learning
environments where students can simultaneously learn both content and language,
whilst becoming more adept learners of both. CLIL class structure was taken as
the base for developing sequenced material for teaching and below there are
generally approved considerations which teaching with CLIL lesson should
- activating prior
- input and output;
- wait time;
- collaborative tasks;
- cognitive challenge;
- developing thinking
to these stages sample of materials and tasks were described in the thesis.
Appropriate CLIL materials are cognitively highly demanding for learners who
need to assume the additional challenge of learning through an L2 or L3.
However, excessive cognitive load can be avoided by incorporating enhanced scaffolding
and other learner support mechanisms to help students reach well beyond what
they could do on their own. In turn, incorporating scaffolding means developing
them as materials which is an extra challenge for teacher, efforts and extra
time is devoted to materials development.
materials help students build a sense of security in experimenting with
language, content, and the management of their own learning. In addition,
quality CLIL materials are highly integrative and multilayered and they help
increase the likelihood that both content and language learning will be
meaningful. However, to prepare this type of material and to cover complex
content by scaffolding it language teacher should study the material and find
the most appropriate ways to present the material to learners. This process
might challenge language teachers either. To go through the whole process of
materials development and not to give up will challenge a teacher’s stamina as
well. For example, in order to select CLIL appropriate text or an authentic material
teacher should have an access first to the resources and to some extent to be familiar
with available text books.
outcomes are unquestionably against the textbook as a teaching material because
it needs huge amount of supplementary materials development with thinking of
using CLIL in teaching aids. In materials development we should include
requirements to meet students’ needs so that tasks must involve student into
process by the gradual rise of task's complexity from the easy task to the
questions of higher thinking order and to push student to develop their
thinking an communicating skills trough collaboration and interaction. In
addition, the peculiarities of CLIL materials were considered and were taken
into consideration while example materials development. While the process the
main challenges were listed and recommendation for teachers were provided.
experienced teachers can teach English without a textbook and develop materials
with CLIL. However, it is not easy to do it all the time, though teachers may
do it sometimes. Many teachers do not have enough time to make supplementary
materials, so they just follow the textbook. Textbooks therefore take on a very
important role in language classes, and it is important to select a good
textbook or be collateralized with a data base of supplementary materials.
Coyle, D. “Content and Language Integrated Learning: Towards a Connected
Research agenda for CLIL Pedagogies” // International Journal of Bilingual
Education and Bilingualism, 2007.-#10(5) - 543-562 pp.
Dale L., Es W., Tanner R. CLIL Skills. - Expertisecentrum MVT ICLON, Universiteit
Leiden, 2010.-130 p.
Genesee F., Lindholm-Leary K., Saunders W., Christian D. Educating English
language learners: A synthesis of research evidence. -NY: Cambridge Un iversity Press, 2006.-423 p.
Lyster, R. Learning and teaching languages through content: a counterbalanced
approach. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2007. - 54 p.
Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №6 - 2014