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Communication is one of the five “C”s of CLIL. It refers not only to how the teacher and learners communicate with each other in a new language – but also how students can learn (1). The CLIL approach recognises that learning is not a purely internal and cognitive process, but instead results from interaction in which knowledge and understanding are shared.
Through interaction, learners build on their existing knowledge as they compare it with, and discuss, new content and new language. At the same time, they become aware of what they still need to learn (2). For language learning especially, interaction provides an opportunity to improve both fluency and accuracy.
How do CLIL teachers increase interaction between students?
When the teacher asks a HOTS question, or outlines a problem to solve, or sets a creative task, some students are going to search for ways to avoid speaking in front of the whole class (3). If the teacher sees that this is going to be a problem, she can use ‘think, pair, share’ to help (4).
First of all, the students are given some silent thinking time, so that they can rehearse the answer in their own mind.
Then, each student is asked to tell their ideas to a partner, so that they can both find out if their ideas make sense, and if the language they use is understandable.
By this stage, the students will have had an opportunity to try out what they want to say, and will be much more confident of sharing their ideas with the whole class (5).
While students are interacting in pairs, they will be getting to know one another better and building new relationships (6). This is likely to be especially useful for project work, in which interaction between members of a group is essential for cooperation (7).
Interacting in groups, students can relax, work creatively, and take more risks with their language skills.
They can work to their strengths and can take control of their own learning.
By the time the project is successfully completed, students will have had numerous opportunities to speak together and to co-construct learning of content and of new language (8).
Pair and group work are nothing new, but they are a focus of the CLIL approach. When a school decides it is adopting CLIL, any teacher involved needs the time to review and reflect on their teaching and to decide what adaptations will be needed (9). Spending time becoming familiar with this student-centred and interactive way of learning will allow the teacher to say with confidence 'tomorrow is the first day of term, and I'm teaching CLIL!’ (10)
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This Unit forms part of a language course designedto help teachers refreshtheir English language skills.
It was developed as part of the EU Project ‘CLIL4U’, and is intended as preparation for the main CLIL4U course onTeaching through CLIL.
To follow the language course, click on the CLIL4U Pre-Course Homepage button below.
Short url: https://clilstore.eu/cs/2312