CLIL teaching (part 1)

Another teaching method that I love is CLIL teaching. Although a lot of tefl teachers use it often they aren’t aware of it. In this post I will go into the concept and the benefits of CLIL Teaching. In this series I will try to give CLIL teaching ideas and help you to have successful CLIL lessons.

Now what is CLIL? CLIL stands for Content and Language Integrated Learning. I can hear you think well that doesn’t says much does it… It actually does. We integrate content in language learning, but what is this content? Content are other subjects like maths, science, geography, history,… So basically you integrate other subjects into your language lesson.

Especially when you have good material and prepare your lessons you can benefit a lot. I find it a great method to use with young learners, but also with older students it can be the perfect way to get their attention and to motivate them.

There are a few disadvantages that I found online while investigating and I would like to go over them first:

  • A lot of lesson prep: I think honestly that that depends on the whole teaching experience that you have. I used to have great CLIL based text books. I will go into them in a later stage. That already help a lot. Yes there was a lot of prep but not more than with other methods.
  • Risk of less developing the productive skills: it is indeed a risk but it depends again on the choice of material and activities.
  • English teachers feel uncomfortable with the subjects: although yes you might not have thorough knowledge of the subject, the aim is not to teach the subject thoroughly, the aim is to teach a language. Most textbooks and materials are very teacher friendly so don’t worry you’ve got this.

Those were the disadvantages now for the advantages:

  • More motivated and involved students: which leads to better manageable classes and students who are eager and willing to learn.
  • Students are challenged on different abilities which grows strong and confident students.
  • A wide range of subjects to pick from which will lead to more variation and interesting lessons.
  • Students will learn more academic vocabulary and therms that wouldn’t be touched in a normal language lesson. In science for example often English is already the common language by getting familiar with certain terminology students will get an advantages later on in life.
  • Project work is easy to implement and has a wide variety of options.
  • You can easily adapt and use material that is developed for the original content.

As you might guess, my experience with CLIL teaching was very positive and I would definitely recommend it. It requires dedication and preparation, but you gain a lot by having motivated students who love your English lessons.


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