THE ROLES OF INTERACTION IN CLIL CLASSROOMS, by Ana Llinares

The Roles of Language in CLIL

For many advocates of CLIL, the most important advantage of the approach is that it encourages more meaningful spoken interaction in the classroom than does traditional language teaching. Through engaging in cognitively demanding and meaningful activities, students will have more opportunities to communicate in the foreign language, and will be more motivated to do so. While many language teachers do use language-rich, meaningful tasks in the classroom, this is a powerful justification for using a CLIL approach. Yet, the nature of classroom talk in CLIL lessons is not always very well understood by practitioners.

This points to a clear need in CLIL practice and teacher education. Teachers need a framework which will provide them with a metalanguage with which they can identify ‘ways of talking’ in the classroom and how these might impact on furthering their students’ learning. The framework we present for the understanding of CLIL classroom interaction (see Llinares, Morton and Whittaker 2012 for more detail) is based on research on classroom talk in science education (Mortimer and Scott 2003) and work on classroom interaction with second language learners (Haneda and Wells 2008). As the framework in table 1 shows, any piece of talk in the CLIL classroom can be analysed and planned for by asking key questions at three levels, those of ‘focus’, ‘approach’ and ‘action’. more detail) is based on research on classroom talk in science education (Mortimer and Scott 2003) and work on classroom interaction with second language learners (Haneda and Wells 2008). As the framework in the table below shows, any piece of talk in the CLIL classroom can be analysed and planned for by asking key questions at three levels, those of ‘focus’, ‘approach’ and ‘action’.

FOCUS
  • What is the specific content or topic being focused on in this bit of classroom talk?
  • What is the teacher’s purpose in focusing on this topic?
APPROACH
  • How are the teacher and students talking about the topic?

ACTION
  • What specific actions/interventions is the teacher using to support the learners in expressing their meanings?
  • What recurring interaction patterns appear in the classroom talk?

Applications of this framework to the CLIL classroom can be found in the  book The Roles of Language in CLIL  (PART I: chapters 1, 2 and 3)

The Roles of Language in CLIL provides a theoretically-based approach to the integration of language and content in primary and secondary contexts addressed to a range of stakeholders in Content and Language Integrated Learning. Adopting the framework of systemic functional linguistics, this book raises practitioners’ awareness of how language functions in CLIL.

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Una respuesta a THE ROLES OF INTERACTION IN CLIL CLASSROOMS, by Ana Llinares

  1. Maite Pardo dijo:

    I totally agree with the postulate stated in the first paragraph of this post: CLIL fosters students’ engagement in demanding and meaningful activities and, as a result, more opportunities to use the target language are generated. I also think that a framework that may help teachers plan activities that provide rich input and output can be really helpful.
    Anyway, I’m of the opinion that the framework should be as clear and practical as possible, i.e. closely adapted to the teaching context, using common metalanguage as far as possible, and easy-to-use. I look forward to listening to the talk and getting to know more details about the applications of this way of structuring the language used in the classroom.

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