CLIL Bites

New CLIL publications:

Cummins, J. (2014). Rethinking pedagogical assumptions in Canadian French immersion programs. Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education, 2(1), 3-22.

Abstract: Bilingual education and second language immersion programs have operated on the premise that the bilingual student’s two languages should be kept rigidly separate. This paper argues that although it is appropriate to maintain largely separate spaces for each language, it is also important to teach for transfer across languages. In other words, it is useful to explore bilingual instructional strategies for teaching emergent bilingual students rather than assuming that monolingual instructional strategies are inherently superior. The central rationale for integration across languages is that learning efficiencies can be achieved when teachers explicitly draw their pupils’ attention to similarities and differences between the languages and reinforce effective learning strategies in a coordinated way across languages. The paper explores the interplay between bilingual and monolingual instructional strategies within French immersion programs, and bilingual education more generally, and suggests concrete strategies for optimising students’ bilingual and biliteracy development.

Some main ideas:

  • Immersion is a form of bilingual education that aims to develop fluency and literacy in two languages,6
  • Extensive reading and writing in a wide range of genres might significantly improve students’ range of vocabulary and grammatical accuracy, six
  • The interdependence principle suggests that L1 and L2 academic skills are interdependent
  • Monolingual instructional assumptions
    • instruction should be carried out exclusively in the target language without recourse to students’ L1
    • no translation between L1 and L2 is appropriate
    • within immersion and bilingual programs, the two languages should be kept completely separate
  • Critique of monolingual instructional assumptions
    • minimal empirical support
    • translanguaging, multi-competence, dynamic systems theory, interlingual classrooms,
    • bilingual instructional strategies
    • a shift away from a focus on teaching two separate autonomous linguistic systems, 12
  • The social and cognitive benefits of translation; comparing and contrasting both languages
    • practical applications: group work in the L1, report in the L2; dual language books; writing in the L1 then translation or vice versa
  • “students’ L1 is a legitimate resource for learning and … Instructional benefits can be realised when the two languages are brought into productive contact” 18

Let me draw your attention to  a new CLIL book that seems to focus on language issues and which will be published in March, 2012:

Llinares, Ana; Tim Morton and Rachel Whittaker, The roles of language in CLIL, Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Drawing on their wide experience as CLIL educators and researchers, the authors explore data collected in real CLIL classrooms from two interrelated perspectives: the CLIL classroom as an interactional context for developing language and content, and the genres and registers through which the meanings of the different academic subjects are enacted.

Reviews and impressions very much welcome.

Egger, Gerlinde and Christine Lechner, Primary CLIL around Europe, 2012 Flyer_EggerLechner_Primary CLIL fin

Marsh, David; Mehisto Peeter; Wolf Dieter; Frigols Martin, Maria, Jesus; 2012, European Framework for CLIL teacher education. A framework for the professional development of CLIL teachers

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