Three Frameworks for Developing CLIL Materials


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Three Frameworks for Developing CLIL Materials
  Three Frameworks for Developing CLIL Materials Dario Luis Banegas, University of Warwick and Argentina Any language learning process traditionally needs the mediation of semioticresources such as print materials (Donato, 2000: 45) or nonprint materials(Reinders and White, 2010; Richards, 2001: 251; McGrath, 2002: 125-136).These materials need to be looked at within a given context and a syllabusderived from a specific approach (McDonough and Shaw, 2003: 4-14). But howshould we see materials in ELT? According to Tomlinson (2008: 3-4, 2010: 83),successful materials development, regardless of whether based inCommunicative Language Teaching (CLT), Task Based Learning (TBL) orContent and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), should be envisaged aslearning materials and the principles to follow need to show the central role thatlearners should play. In this article I will look at ways teachers can organisetheir own CLIL learning materials in EFL contexts. Materials and CLIL CLIL has been widely adopted in Europe, but also in other parts of the world.Because the integration of content and language needs to be more context-responsive in terms of school curricula, and students’ linguistic and cognitivelevels and needs, there is a clear lack of marketed coursebooks, a concernwhich is often viewed as a drawback in CLIL (Alonso et al., 2008:46;Cammarata, 2009:562; Coonan, 2007:628; Lucietto, 2009: 12-13; Mehisto etal.2008:22; Moore and Lorenzo, 2007:28-35; Stoller, 2004:267; Sudhoff, 2010:34; Vázquez, 2007:103).In the case of EFL, teachers who need more than one-off activities fromcoursebooks wrongfully claiming to have a CLIL component may want toproduce their own materials in order to make them truly context-responsive.McGrath (2002:159) observes that one advantage of teachers adapting ordevising their own materials within a content-based approach is that coherencemay be easily achieved as it derives from the common theme or subject-mattercontent. Furthermore, flexibility may be sought through the negotiation ofcontents and the freedom to start with any given unit of work. However, due tothe nature of this flexible approach, principles such as sequencing and evolvingcomplexity may be put at risk as the sequence of themes could be arbitrary. Inrelation to this, I believe that teachers can reduce this tension if they think ofdeveloping materials as building blocks which when put together fulfil the overallaims of a given course. In other words, each block, with its specific set ofsubject-related contents will follow the principles of flexibility and sequencing.Teachers may start with any given block since any of them, whatever thesequence, will contribute to the main aims established.Regardless of content, a unit of materials needs to follow an order. In thefollowing sections I will present three similar ways of organising materials, thatis, sources and activities. These examples are based on my experience withteenage learners in Argentinian state education.    Framework 1: Mohan’s k nowledge structures Following Mohan (1986: 35), I will illustrate one possible sequence. Anymaterials, or subsequent adaptation, should start by relating their structuring topics to the learners’ lives thus encouraging elicitation to benefit from what learners know already.For example, if my aim is to introduce tourism management, I may ask studentsto describe some tourist destinations in Argentina, maybe places they havebeen to or that they know about. From their descriptions I can brainstorm somegeneral ideas about tourism. Through an example of a tour I may introduce newlanguage by making them notice connectors, discourse organisation andspecific vocabulary. Next, learners may be asked to sequence and organise atour for foreign tourists. Once they have covered this activity, they may contrasttheir sequencing with principled aspects which rule tours such as transportation,budgets, hotel and overall management among others. Finally, learners ingroups may respond to a scenario in which tourists complain about somearrangements. Their decision-making will be contrasted again with a similarevaluation taken from another context, perhaps reported in a newspaper article.It is interesting to see how learning is built up stage by stage from the particularto the more general allowing learners to apply reasoning thinking to arrive atmore general conclusions that will be subsequently used to assess otherconcrete situations. Framework 2: A revised version of Bloom’s taxonomy   Teachers may need to sequence their activities according to the following orderof cognitive processes: remembering, understanding, applying, analysing,evaluating and creating (Anderson and Krathwohl, 2001). The categories gofrom low-cognitive to high-cognitive thinking skills; however, I do not think thatteachers should design an activity for each of these categories as everythingdepends on the aim of the lesson, or the final output task. Also, they can coverthese in two consecutive lessons. Let’s imagine that my aim is ‘to talk about TV programme charts ’. First , I mayask my students about their favourite TV programmes. They can discuss inpairs what they like about Argentinian TV and American sitcoms for example.To introduce new vocabulary I may give them a text in which different types ofprogrammes are mentioned. I may ask students to recap the text by telling mewhat types there are without looking at the text (REMEMBER). Then I can givethem an authentic TV programme chart and based on the brief descriptions ofeach programme, I can ask them to classify those programmes into types(UNDERSTAND). Imagine that now, I make them notice and infer connectors,and specific terminology which is used to describe each programme featured. Imay ask them to get in pairs through an information gap activity. Pairs completea TV programme chart in which connectors, times, and people are missing(APPLY). Based on that students watch shots from different programmes andorganise them as a regular TV viewer would see those programmes(ANALYSE). I may ask them to judge whether those programmes may besuitable in the Argentinian context and if so how they can be timetabled to fit our  culture (EVALUATE). Last, I can ask them to plan in groups a TV programmechart for a day and present it the following class together with a handout fortheir peers (CREATE). Framework 3: The CLIL Matrix Coyle et al. (2010: 43-45) take Mohan and Bloom above into account, but theyfurther develop concerns about cognitive challenge accompanied by languagesupport. Their CLIL matrix proposes ‘ quadrants ’ . They move from building students’ confidence, by resorting to the content and language they know through group or more interactive tasks to ‘ quadrants ’ in which learners dealwith more individual tasks on the one hand, and further demands in terms oflanguage and content on the other.In addition, the authors note that this matrix needs also to cater for a carefulbalance in terms of language and content learning. In a view similar to thetaxonomy in Framework 1, teachers need to organise materials in the followingorder: familiar language, familiar content, new content and last new language.To organise language activities better, Coyle et al. (2010: 36-38) develop aLanguage Triptych. Materials should expose learners to language of learning,that is, the learning of key words and phrases to access content, language forlearning   focusing on the language students will need to carry out classroomtasks such as debating, and language through learning to make room forunpredictable language learning that may arise as the lesson unfolds. If thelesson starts with a text, teachers need to look at its complexity, that is, itslinguistic and cognitive challenge, to make sure that materials move fromfamiliar language and content to new content and language. They can managesuch a sequence by exploring bullet-point texts, tables and diagrams and morevisuals. Teachers can also adapt texts through synonyms, cognates, andsimplification of language and content load per sentence. For example, let’s imagine now that I am planning a lesson about populationand migration. I can start by resorting to familiar language such as simple present asking students ‘What do people do to escape civil war?’ I can also ask them about their ancestors, whether they know why and how their great-grandparents arrived in Argentina. From these conversations I can elicit familiar knowledge such as ‘immigration’. Through more oral examples, or documentarysnapshots taken from YouTube I can introdu ce them to ‘internal/externalimmigration/emigration’ for political, economic, socio -cultural, and educationalreasons also explaining the push and pull factors behind these migration types.I may introduce if- clauses by recapping the factors mentioned, ‘W hat would you do if you wanted to get away from Buenos Aires and live somewhere quieter?’  and completing sentences so that they use conditional forms to link migrationtypes to push and pull factors. Students can then, in small groups, discussthese issues based on case studies from around the world and organise apresentation in which they retell and evaluate the case study they talked about.  Conclusion Because the integration of content and language has travelled outside Europe,it is an illusion to think that big publishers will produce CLIL materials which suiteach context. Some attempts in materials development show that more oftenthan not students who lack language proficiency are underestimated from acognitive perspective (Tomlinson, 2008: 8). Teachers, therefore, can recovertheir agency by having a stronger say in materials development. I admit thateven when they can follow principles published elsewhere and some of theframeworks reviewed in this article, it is a challenging adventure as it is timeconsuming and it requires that teachers pay attention to content and languagetogether. However, if teachers work as a team, efforts are divided and gains aremultiplied. I believe we need to pay more attention to what teachers do byresearching how they adapt marketed textbooks and what principles they followwhen engaged in producing their own CLIL materials to suit their uniquerealities. References Alonso, E., Grisaleña J. & A. Campo (2008) Plurilingual Education inSecondary Schools: Analysis of Results. International CLIL Research Journal  1/ 1:36-49.Anderson, L. W. & Krathwohl, D.R. (2001) A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing. A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy for Educational Objectives.  Cammarata, L. (2009) Negotiating Curricular Transitions: Foreign Language Teachers’ Learning Experience with Content-Based Instruction. The Canadian Modern Language Review/La Revue canadienne des la langues vivantes   65/4:559-585.Coonan, C. (2007) Insider Views of the CLIL Class Through Teacher-Self-observation-Introspection . International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism  10/5:625-646.Coyle, D., Hood, P. & Marsh, D. (2010) CLIL Content and Language IntegratedLearning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Goodchild, L. (2009) A Pedagogic Framework for an Intercultural Approach toLiterature. Folio  13/1: 9-11.Lucietto, S. (2009) Writing Materials for CLIL: A lost cause? Folio  13/1: 12-14.McDonough, J. & Shaw, C. (2003) (2nd edition) Materials and Methods in ELT.  A Teacher’s Guide . Malden: Blackwell.McGrath, I. (2002) Materials Evaluation and Design for Language Teaching.Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Mehisto, P., Marsh, D. & Frigols, M. (2008) Uncovering CLIL: Content andLanguage Integrated Learning in Bilingual and Multilingual Education. Oxford:Macmillan Publishers Ltd.Mohan, B. (1986) Language and Content. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Moore, P. & Lorenzo, F. (2007) Adapting Authentic Materials for CLIL Classrooms: an Empirical Study.’ Vienna English Working Papers  16/3:28-35.Reinders, H. & White, C. (2010) The theory and practice of technology inmaterials development and task design. In Harwood, N. (ed.) EnglishLanguage Teaching Materials. Theory and Practice. Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press.Richards, J. (2001) Curriculum Development in Language Teaching.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  Stoller, F. (2004) Content-Based Instruction: Perspectives on CurriculumPlanning. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics  24:261-283.Sudhoff, J. (2010) CLIL and Intercultural Communicative Competence:Foundations and Approaches towards a Fusion. International CLIL Research Journal  1/3: 30-37.Tomlinson, B. (2008) Language Acquisition and Language Learning Materials.In Tomlinson, B. (ed.) English Language Learning Materials. A Critical Review.London/New York, NY: Continuum.Tomlinson, B. (2010) Principles of effective materials development. In Harwood,N. (ed.) English Language Teaching Materials. Theory and Practice.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Vázquez, G. (2007) Models of CLIL: An evaluation of its status drawing on theGerman experience. A critical report on the limits of reality and perspectives. Revista española de lingüística aplicada  1:95-111. At (Date accessed 6December, 2010).Dario Luis Banegas is a teacher of English in Argentina. He holds an MA in ELTfrom Warwick University where he is currently working towards his PhD inmaterials development for CLIL through Action Research. Apart from teachingin secondary and tertiary levels since 2001, he is a curriculum and coursedesigner for the Ministry of Education of Chubut, Argentina. His interests are:classroom research, materials development, content and language integration,curriculum design, state education, initial and continuing language 
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