Monday, June 14, 2010

ELT Journal/IATEFL Debate - The motion ‘CLIL: Content & Language – an ILlusion?’ – Session 3.2: 11.45 – 12.45

To propose the motion: Amos Poran
To oppose the motion: Sheelagh Deller
Chair: Keith Morrow
Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) is quite a debatable teaching and learning approach being in its infancy. Each of the debaters was given 18 minutes to make an argument for or against the motion that this approach is an illusion.
Interestingly, Amos and Sheelagh advocated the same point of view: CLIL is not an illusion if done well. Amos regarded this approach as elitist, only successful in limited contexts, e.g. Finland. He advised teachers not to do it at all if they don’t know how to do it well. Sheelagh defended CLIL as a work-in-progress still its ‘toddler’ years. It works efficiently under certain conditions. Lessons need to be in L1 and L2. She makes a distinction between a pure language lesson that instills language versus a CLIL lesson that focuses on content. Induction rather than deduction of the rules is essential. Finally, time is needed to see tangible results.
The debaters received several questions and comments from the audience that they jointly addressed. How is CLIL different from Content-based instruction? Is it restricted to European countries? Is it a ‘designer method’ or approach like those that appeared in the seventies? The debaters ended in an amicable note emphasizing their common ground. There are issues related to CLIL that need to be resolved.

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