Kill CLIL with imperfect alibis…
The ultimate guide for traditional EFL teachers who want to do away with CLIL and reinstate good ol grammar translation methods.
CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) has been adopted by a growing number of schools and language schools for a number of reasons, including more opportunities for language practice, motivation for learners who are interested in subjects other than English and developing 21st century skills. Yet, some educators are often so biased before trying it that they will not even give CLIL a chance and their students the opportunity to reap benefits from its implementation. The following guide is written in a humorous tone.
Can’t be bothered to leave your comfort zone? Below you can read some ways to kill CLIL without ever being caught red-handed.
Lecture until bored to death
Learning may be facilitated with student engagement and different forms of interaction but who are they to challenge your authority and express their own ideas? After all, pairwork, groupwork and communication among students ruins your class management. Lecture throughout the lesson till the student switch off. Then, ask them if they have understood and once they answer “yes” – the answer is always yes to such a question-, point out that they would not have understood such a difficult lesson without your help.
Teach grammar without context
Who cares if there is a video or reading or a listening text to exploit so that students can use the context to learn? Teach the structure and all its aspects all the way down to the last exception that even a grammarian would not be aware of. Spend the whole lesson presenting and explaining in detail without caring about your Teacher Talking Time. After all, you are the authority! Once the unit is over, complain that there is no time to do everything and that the syllabus is inadequately designed in terms of time.
Test, test and test
Give your students loads of tests as often as possible. They are tangible, measurable and go down well with parents who feel that their kids are closely monitored. In fact, you may see your popularity rising among ever concerned parents. Noone will realise that there is no room left for students to produce language. If they do, it will probably be many years later.
Spoonfeed your learners
Yes, there’s a lot of talk about critical thinking skills and Bloom’s taxonomy with analysis, selection and evaluation being at the top of the pyramid. But you think that spending time developing these skills, takes away valuable time from spelling or your TTT. Give lengthy explanations and discourage students from forming hypotheses. Your alibi? You are a good teacher and you think proactively for your students, even before your student think.
Don’t use technology
Learning more about a natural phenomenon by searching it on the internet, carrying out a poll or creating their own video or animation on the topic you are teaching this week? These may be skills and activities that your students may be doing in their free time in real life but school has to be different and “comme-il-faut”, doesn’t it? Benefits from exposure to L2, activating their schemata from diagrams and flowcharts, developing learner autonomy, broadening their mind… they are all theory that cannot be put to practice. Of course, YOU always know better.
Inquiry based learning may not bring the desired results in terms of language accuracy and surely it cannot be controlled by you. Plus, you may find some parents complaining that the project is time consuming. Give your students instead, some grammar exercises, preferably with forming the present simple and present continuous. It will keep parents happy and children disciplined.
Translate word for word
So far you have managed to survive without relinquishing any kind of control to learners. Why would you do it now with a few difficult words? Why waste time asking them to infer from context? Ask your students to read the text at home and invite parents to demand that their kids read the text aloud and translate word for word. Isn’t this the way they learned English? Should you worry about helping them develop their text and word attack skills? No way! They can wait till they go to university and until then someone else will get the blame.
On second thought,
you don't need an alibi or to plot against CLIL because at the end of the day, you will find that your students love exploring new topics and thinking ouside the box; in a few weeks, parents realize that their children speak more English and they stop worrying. Finally, you may find that the biggest reward is that you have left your comfort zone and you are rising to new challenges. All the more reason to be proud of your teaching!!!
The above text can be classified as science fiction or, to be more precise, as EFL teaching fiction.