This month we’ve decided to discuss some of the problems that teachers may face when taking a CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) course. Problems such as a lack of confidence in their abilities to teach their own subjects in CLIL.

“My English is not good enough to be a CLIL teacher.”

During all CLIL courses there are inevitably teachers that bring up this point, as they feel intimidated by the daunting prospect of having to face a crowd of more competent English speakers, even if these are their own students whom they have known for quite some time.

Surely the idea of teaching a well-known subject in a foreign language can easily put teachers off even attempting such a task. However, although only a minimum knowledge of the CLIL language is a requirement, most CLIL teachers still feel they lack the fundamental tools to deliver content-based lessons.

Although only a minimum knowledge of the CLIL language is a requirement, most CLIL teachers still feel they lack the fundamental tools to deliver content-based lessons

Teachers need to bear in mind that if being fluent in the CLIL language was essential, there would be no non-native teachers in this field. Luckily, this is not the case, as there are multiple ways to ensure the teaching happens effectively.

The following considerations on this issue will help teachers feel reassured:

  • always ensure the amount of information included in each lesson is not too vast;
  • be realistic about the amount of content and language students can learn during single classes;
  • consider language that students might have encountered either in previous or in language lessons;
  • predict language that students are bound to use during specific tasks;
  • support students with items of language that can help them grow linguistically;
  • identify language that needs to be pre-taught; 
  • promote learner independence;
  • collaborate with language teachers;
  • be part of a network of CLIL teachers;
  • use resources and materials which are already in the CLIL language;
  • rely on the powerful tool of the Internet.

Hopefully, by following this advice teachers will feel more empowered to deliver their CLIL lessons!

Are you interested in Teacher Development? Click here to read more about our CLIL course.

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