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Eugen Gusser

Challenges of Differentiation in a Primary CLIL Classroom

ISBN: 978-3-95993-078-9

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Produktart: Buch
Verlag: Bachelor + Master Publishing
Erscheinungsdatum: 02.2019
AuflagenNr.: 1
Seiten: 40
Sprache: Englisch
Einband: Paperback


CLIL stands for Content and Language Integrated Learning and describes a dual-focused form of teaching a subject: through a foreign language by being at the same time exposed to learning of content and learning of a foreign language. Since English is a global language this modern instructional foreign language education provides authentic settings by creating real-world situations. In this work the challenges of Differentiation in a Primary CLIL classroom will be examined theoretically as well as analysed according to experiences of teachers of CLIL classes gained through an interview. The work poses the question how teachers can effectively plan for CLIL and what competences teachers need to successfully hold a CLIL lesson.


Text Sample: Chapter: 2.3 Differentiation in CLIL Settings As shown in the two previous chapters (2.1 & 2.2), CLIL demands the teacher to adjust the lesson according to various factors (e.g. relation between content, communication, cognition and culture learners' individual and cultural background and development of skills planning procedures) making differentiation essential. According to Hoenselaar et al. (2014: 3), this is notable, since ''pupils learn more effectively when their individual needs are taken into account''. Respecting these individual demands, the teacher can adjust a lesson in subject matter, cognitive processing, and output or product (Hoenselaar et al., 2014: 3). Regarding subject matter, it is the question of what students must understand (Hoenselaar et al., 2014: 3). Moreover, to be able to provide students with more challenging assignments educators need to concern the students' previous knowledge (Korosidou and Griva, 2014: 241). With regard to Tomlinson (2001, cited in Hoenselaar et al., 2014: 3), differentiation in content is guaranteed by providing the students with different resources (e.g. text and content based material). Burmeister and Ewig (2010: 104) indicate, that this material should ''be self-explanatory, with dear illustrations that 'speak for themselves' […] giv[ing] the students the chance to explore the content on their own or in groups''. Furthermore, the educator should prepare scenarios that force students to think critically, and enable them to seek creative solutions to a problem (Hoenselaar et al., 2014: 3). According to Welsh Assembly Government (2010: 6), ''[o]ne of the overriding features of improving the quality of thinking and developing assessment for learning is the importance of establishing effective group work in the classroom''. To manage effective group work, the educator has to consider the group size being affected by ''the task, the learners and their ability to work in larger groups [and] the 6 classroom itself'' (Welsh Assembly Government (2010: 8). Moreover, the educator may decide on social roles within a group formation such as ''chairperson, ideas person, ideas developer, questioner, summariser, observer, envoy'' (Welsh Assembly Government, 2010: 10) and establish simple ground rules for discussions such as turn taking and listening to co-students while looking at them (Welsh Assembly Government (2010: 9). Besides offering differentiated input and deciding on strategies in social forming, the teacher must consider the students' outcome to be measured as part of a lessons' reinforcement to reveal their understanding of the processed material, as well as their approaches to solve a problem (Hoenselaar et al., 2014: 3). Here, it is important that the teacher gives students the chance ''to show their understanding in multiple ways, not only through written products but also for example through the production of graphic organizers, art, performance, demonstrations, models, posters'' (Chamot and O'Malley, 1994, cited in Hoenselaar et al., 2014: 3). Likewise, Griva and Semoglou (2013, cited in Korosidou and Griva, 2014: 241) note that teachers ''presenting information in a multisensory way and multimodal classroom environment […], mostly by using the new technologies for educational purposes (video clips, power point presentations, web-quests, interactive materials on English websites etc.), could provide students with ample and stimulating input''. Meyer (2010, cited in Korosidou and Griva, 2014: 241) underlines the importance of this very input to be authentic in matters of a real life setting or problem, and thus meaningful, but challenging as well being ''within the pupils' reach'' (Coyle et al. (2010: 29, cited in Gjendemsjø, 2013: 21). Nonetheless, students may rely on teachers' support to achieve a higher educational level. Coyle et al. (2010: 29, cited in Gjendemsjø, 2013: 21) refers to Vygotsky's 'zone of proximal development' (ZPD) indicating that it makes a difference whether someone is left alone with his or her learning, or is provided with supportive guidance and scaffolding. The latter is essential to make students understand the subject matter (Peregoy, 1991, cited in Burmeister and Ewig, 2010: 104). When teaching CLIL, educators need to include ''content-obligatory language'' (Lorenz and Met, 1990: 11, cited in Burmeister and Ewig, 2010: 103) and ''content-compatible language'' (Lorenz and Met, 1990: 11, cited in Burmeister and Ewig, 2010: 104). The latter draws attention to words that name materials used during the lesson having a crucial connection to the topic (Burmeister and Ewig, 2010: 104). 7 Content-obligatory language refers to content-based phrases used for investigation such as '''I assume', 'we explore', 'an experiment', 'a questionnaire', 'we observed', or 'our results/hypotheses' '' (Burmeister and Ewig, 2010: 103) and as well for terms like '' 'seed', 'spring', 'germinale ', 'germ', 'plant', 'grow', 'light', or 'nutrients' […] when [d]ealing with seed germination in spring'' (Burmeister and Ewig, 2010: 103f.). In addition, the teacher ''needs to 'visualise' the content via gestures, body language, pictures, manipulatives and realia'' (Burmeister and Ewig, 2010: 104), especially when learners' language skills are low (ibid.). Furthermore, students rely on helpful feedback (Tomlinson, 2001: 18) to know where they stand and where to go. However, educators need ''to use supportive methods and strategies to reduce the amount of support as learners develop'' (Coyle et al., 2010: 29, cited in Gjendemsjø, 2013: 21) achieving a higher self-awareness of their own skills, and feel more confident in regulating their learning processes, both content and language based. According to Papaja (2013: 148), ''it is not only the teacher’s linguistic competence which is of importance, but also that of the learners […] lead[ing] directly to the notion of methodological shift […] from teacher-centred to learner-centred methods'', guaranteeing a more susscessful outcome especially when lessons are engaging for all students focussing the learner's interest (Tomlinson, 2001, cited in Hoenselaar et al., 2014: 3). Nonetheless, ''teachers need to have the ability to develop the language skills needed in social situations […] because students need to learn conversational language in order to succeed socially in the foreign language […] as well as the language needed to success in academic learning […] which includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing about subject area content material '' (Bernabé, 2013: 205). In addtion, Marsh (2002, cited in Bernabé, 2013: 205) states that ''CLIL teachers should be proficient in the content area and at the same time have a broad knowledge of the foreign language, thereby providing optimal conditions for students’ communication''. However, the second language teacher ''needs to reflect upon that knowledge and ability, and upon his/her knowledge of the underlying systems of the language, in order to ensure that the learners receive maximally useful input for learning'' (Andrews, 1999, cited in Papaja, 2013: 149). All aspects stating that teachers must, need, should arrange an extraordinary setting to achieve individual development of each learner, is a great challenge. ''Major problems in providing differentiation identified by […] teachers […] were lack of time, 8 limited human resources, pressure from other educational innovations and classroom management'' (Statistics and Research Branch, 1996: 1). In addition, teachers may have difficulty in creating additional material supportive to every student's needs and skills (ibid.). Likewise, ''limited guidance regarding how to create their own CLIL material, and […] lack of provision of a clear framework and ready- made material [as well as] […] limited methodological resources'' (Korosidou and Griva 2014: 241) were identified as main problems for a failing CLIL approach (ibid.). Nonetheless, it is a ''language teachers’ inappropriate education in relation to using language as the vehicle” for teaching content in another cognitive field'' (ibid.), that has been viewed as the core reason for unsuccessful implementations of ''productive language skills […] in the CLIL classroom , as inappropriate academic discourse functions, poor academic writing skills and inability to verbalize subject-specific issues in an appropriate way'' (Dalton-Puffer, 2007 Vollmer, 2008, cited in Korosidou and Griva 2014: 241).

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