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Resources for CLIL and where to find them

Marta Niewiarowska,

a student of the Graduate Programme In Teaching English to Young Learners at the University of Warsaw

 

 

Nowadays in education the term Content and Language Integrated Learning is getting more and more popular all around the world, especially in Europe. As the continent where almost every country has its own language and the amount of immigrants is increasing year after year, Europe is paying special attention to language programs, which may help to unite all European citizens (Eurydice 2006, Mehisto, Marsh, and Firgols 2008)

 

CLIL has an undeniably positive influence on the foreign language learning process. It not only develops students’ oral communication skills but has enormous influence on learners’ thinking skills and learning strategies (Dalton-Puffer 2008). In comparison to the traditional way of teaching, it provides students with the required knowledge and gives them more time to practice foreign language to be better prepared for the future life (Nikula 2007). Despite all of the advantages, CLIL is said to have one serious disadvantage – the lack of resources and readymade materials.

 

Unfortunately, there are not many primary schools were CLIL is implemented. It seems to me that this situation takes place because teachers have mixed feelings about it or are afraid of CLIL. Implementing CLIL into for example Polish primary schools may seem to be unrealistic.  It will require a great deal of special preparations: a lot of additional hangouts and materials, many carefully selected books, which in consequence will mean that teachers will have even more work to do.

 

The following publication tries to respond to those needs and present a few ideas where to look for interesting, stimulating and motivating for students CLIL resources. The author as student of Graduate Programme in Teaching English to Young Learners which specialize in the bilingual and CLIL teacher training would like to share her experience and thoughts gained while designing her CLIL unit. The main aim of this publication is to provide teachers with a wide range of books, useful links and ideas for teaching other areas of the curriculum in English. The selected materials are flexible and can be easily adapted to the students’ age, level and cognitive and linguistic competences.

 

The best CLIL resource books – the sources of lesson ideas and valuable addition to every primary foreign language teacher’s bookshelf.

Today on the market there are hundreds of different coursebooks and resource packs designed for teaching foreign languages. Nevertheless, very few of them take into consideration requirements and needs of a CLIL programme. Choosing the right materials, which will be suitable for many children and develop their content and language knowledge, is not an easy work. The following books directly respond to this need by providing teachers with a wide range of activities for teaching other areas of the curriculum in English.

 

Curricular Content – Resources for Primary

Calabrese, I., Rampone, S. 2007, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press

 

The book is designed to supplement the main course book, to use it alongside the subject area or English class teaching. The materials are flexible and can be easily adapted to the students’ age, level and cognitive and linguistic competences.

 

In the introduction written by Vanessa Relly, the reader is presented with four sections: “background, how to use this book, useful websites and assessment, self-assessment and portfolio”. In the background section the author presents the reasons which contributed to the creation of the book. The how to use this book section offers a list of practical tips on how to integrate the subject content with the foreign language learning and get the best out from the students. The author suggests that the teacher should not forget about children’s previous linguistic and subject knowledge and use it during the lessons. In the primary school, as the children are at the beginning of foreign language learning process, Vanessa Relly proposes that the teachers should focus initially on the listening and comprehension skills, which allows students to get used to the lessons and supports their silent period. The author also highlights the importance of creating a reassuring environment in which children can express themselves in many different ways, such as art, music, drama or writing.

 

The book’s chapters are organised in the form of a mind map. The leading theme of the book, the centre of the map, is the of growth subject. Then, the book is divided in to four sub-themes: plants, humans, animals and living or not living. Each of the sub-themes contains a set of lesson activities which, depending on the level of students, may be developed into lesson plans.  At the beginning of the every sub-theme there is a short lessons summary, which describes the lesson aims, both the language and content, list of activities and needed materials. The activities are organised from the introductory, pre-teaching tasks, through experiments, to art or information and communication technologies exercises. Moreover, the content of actives is supported by sets of worksheets, which are readymade and fully photocopiable. Each sub-theme also has the assessment part which lists informal and self-evaluation tasks for students.

 

This book will also find its supporters among children. Students will undoubtedly like the fun and interesting tasks. Furthermore, engaging content and appealing illustrations will not only attract their attention but motivate them to work too. The materials will be appreciated by the parents as well, because topics which refer to the learner’s interests and nearest environment provide a solid educational foundation both for content and language learning.

 

Summing up, the Calabrese and Rampone’s book is a valuable source of lesson ideas and is an important addition to every primary foreign language teacher’s bookshelf, especially for those who want to implement CLIL in their lessons.

 

On display – Blair resource book series

The appearance of this books’ series is timely and significant considering the lack of Content and Language Integrated Learning materials. The series answers these concerns and equips teachers with a rich source of display-based activities and project ideas, accompanied by teacher’s notes and ideas for class projects. The wide range of topics may be easily adapted to students’ age, level and learning style. These books will appeal as well to the teachers who are concerned about the realization of the national core curriculum premises. By providing an inspiring display-based approach students will have a lot of fun and in the same time learn both foreign language and required content.

 

Figure 2: On display – Creative Numeracy

Figure 3: On display – Creative Curriculum through Science

 

 

Up till now 36 books was published in this series. Each of the books takes into consideration different area of the primary curriculum. In the series the teacher will find subject oriented books like Hands on science, Hands on history, Hands on geography, Creative literacy, Hands on design and technology and books which aim in developing students’ culture awareness and tolerance – Art Inspired by Belief or Art Inspired by Different Cultures.

 

Figure 4: On display – Hands on History

 

The main goal of the series is to support teachers and educators with interesting and creative project ideas, which will encourage students to express themselves visually and present a record of their learning journey in a form of a school display.

 

The series’ layout is organized in clear and reader friendly way and supported with a range of real life classroom displays. All of the activities are explained in details and provide teachers with the task procedure, list of needed materials and ideas for further activities.

 

The Internet – the place where free and open educational resources and ideas are shared

In my opinion the Internet is one of the biggest teacher allies. It gives teachers from all around the world opportunity to exchange their ideas and materials in one place. They can also find thousands of websites with exercises and activities for children, which can be quickly downloaded and use on English lessons. Nevertheless, despite the fact that there are numerous internet websites which provide free worksheets or flashcards for language teachers, very few of them pay attention to the content factor. Preparing to write my CLIL lesson plan unit, which was required during my teaching practice, I researched many different websites. A few, which I found the most interesting and useful I will describe in more details.

 

Figure 5: activityvillage.com

 

The first website, which I would like to recommend to the English teacher, is http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/. It offers teachers over ten thousand pages of free children’s activities, like colouring pages, kids’ crafts, puzzles, Sudoku and educational resources. It covers many popular children’s themes, as well as the main holydays of the year. It seems to me that not only English teachers may find this page helpful. Content and language integrated learning teachers will immediately like this website, because it contains exercises, which can be used for mathematics, science or art lessons. What is more, new materials are added to the website very often and concern the current events like the birth of royal baby or Mothers Day. The website’s layout is simple and easy to navigate, so even an experienced teacher may work with it. Colourful and interesting worksheets and craft projects certainly will motivate children to learn English.

 

Figure 6: primaryresources.co.uk

 

The second website which I strongly recommend for CLIL primary teachers is http://www.primaryresources.co.uk/. This website offers teachers thousands of readymade worksheets, flashcards and PowerPoint presentations. The materials are divided into typical school subjects (maths, science, history, geography and physical education)  and themes (like seasonal holydays, behavioural, rewards and motivational  or bilingual resources). The resources which are created by teachers from all around the world are well thought out and colorfully designed. They will certainly be liked by both the children and teachers. What is more, the website is connected to other sites which offer free CLIL games and activities for interactive white boards (http://www.primaryinteractive.co.uk/index.htm) and a base of useful links (http://primarylinks.co.uk/). All of the sites are carefully organized and easy to use.

Figure 7: esl-kids.com

 

The third website, which I would like to recommend, is http://www.esl-kids.com/. It will be especially useful for designing introductory lessons, because equips teachers with basic lesson starter materials. Thanks to cleverly design worksheet making device the website allows teachers to create countless papers with vocabulary, games or useful classroom realias like puppets, cubes and masks. In addition the website provides educators with many flashcards, worksheets, classroom games and children’s song lyrics. They are colorful and cheerful, so children will definitely like them. Moreover, the resources are organized into theme units, which make the website easy to navigate and use. The author of this page has also posted a lot of tips there and made a list of links, where teachers can find other useful materials.

 

Figure 8: teahcingenglish.org.uk/clil

 

The next website, which I think will be helpful for English teachers, is http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/clil. The website is dedicated strictly to teachers. It provides both the theoretical and practical knowledge about CLIL. On those pages teachers will find loads of free teaching recourses. There are readymade lessons plans, activities, worksheets and useful teaching tips, which will make lesson organizing process much easier. The website includes also teachers’ development materials and information about conferences or seminars. It enables teachers to take a CLIL Essentials online course with the British Council too. As far as the resources are concerned they are divided into subjects units. I recommend this website especially to the upper primary teachers, because some of the materials may be too advanced for the beginners learners.

 

Figure 9: en.iscollective.com

 

The next fantastic source of CLIL materials is https://en.islcollective.com/ website. The website brings together more than half of million ESL and EFL teachers who share their ideas, tips and worksheets for free. The site offers materials for different age group students from kindergarten children to adult learners. The really well designed searching device allows teacher to specify what kind of material (for what age group or level, what type of material, which subject or theme, what skill it should develop, etc). As far as the resources are concerned they may be easily adapted into CLIL teaching context.

 

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Figure 10: techchildrenesl.com

 

The last website, which I found interesting and may recommend for CLIL teachers, is http://www.teachchildrenesl.com/.  As other suggested websites this has a lot various materials for teacher too. On the website teachers can find free flashcards, worksheets, games and songs. What makes this website unique is the content of materials connected with ecology. Children will certainly like this fun and entertaining activities and in the same time develop their ecological awareness.

 

The foreign language coursebooks – how to utilize and adapt them into the CLIL teaching context.

Today publisher houses offers hundreds of different foreign language coursebooks. Choosing the right one, especially for the CLIL context is not an trouble-free work. Teachers should take a lot of factors into consideration when choosing a coursebook; they need to think about their students’ level, needs and interests as well as the core curriculum requirements.  Before making the final decision is good to do book research and analyze both their language and content. During my teaching practice in one of the Warsaw bilingual primary schools I have an opportunity to work with a few foreign language coursebooks, some of which were especially design to provide elements of CLIL instruction. Before conducting my own CLIL unit I analyzed their structure, language and content, and then adapted them to the class needs. I would like to present the process of adapting the coursebook to the CLIL context and describe it in more details.

 

The school in which I had my teaching practice few years ago decided to implement elements of CLIL into their teaching system. In this school students learn science and mathematics in two languages Polish and English. During lessons children use Macmillan Science and Macmillan Mathematics coursebooks.

 

Figure 11: Macmillan – Science                                 Figure 12: Macmillan – Mathematics

 

Their authors are David Glover for science and Paul Broadbent for mathematics book. The coursebooks are recommended for children in primary school and include many additional resources, like DVD, CD, workbooks and the teacher’s book. My first impression about it was very positive. The book’s units are divided into lessons which are based on the child nearest environment and previous knowledge. The coursebooks’ exercises and activities equally stimulate all students’ language skills and implement some elements of the subject’s content. Although those coursebooks are really good, they are limited only to one subject’s content and it is worth to expand it. Even the best coursebook will not replace creative and ingenious teacher. Despite the fact that the process of redesigning the lesson plan is time-consuming and sometimes complicated it is worth the effort.

 

As Cole, Hood and Marsh proposed in their book (2010) it is good to start working on a CLIL unit from designing a CLIL mind map. The map is a very useful tool because it not only garters all of the ideas in one place but also in clear way presents if all of the CLIL areas are equally developed. While designing my unit I focused on 4Cs Framework (ibid.) which takes into consideration following CLIL elements: content, communication, cognition and culture. The content part concerns the students’ knowledge and understanding development, the communication aims at expanding learners’ foreign language interaction competence, the cognition element reflect on the pupils’ engagement in problem-solving and higher-order thinking skills and the culture part tries to evolve children’s culture awareness and identity (ibid.).  The main theme of my CLIL unit was animals. After analysing the course book’s requirements and gathering my ideas I designed the following animals themed mind map:

 

Figure 13: Animals – mind map. ©Marta Niewiarowska and Magdalena Łukasiewicz

 

In the following step I took into consideration aims and objectives which I would like my student’ to attain after finishing the unit. My general aim for this CLIL unit was to develop students’ communication skill, especially their ability to describe different animals. To attain this goal students had to reach objectives which are listed below:

 

Unit Aims: – to develop students’ communication skills

– to broaden students’ knowledge about animals

– to create relax atmosphere in classroom

Unit  Objectives :

content

thinking

language

culture

·         By the end of the lesson the student will be able to name different continents, habitats and describe what animals live on them. Moreover students will revise ways in which animals can move and the animal babies’ names

·         By the end of the lesson student will be able to classify chosen animals to correct continents.

·         By the end of the lesson student will be able to classify chosen animals to correct habitat: jungle, forest, desert, pole, farm, ocean

·         Learners will be able to:

–          Describe an animal: name its movement style, tell if it can swim, fly etc.

–          match an animal to its baby Learners will be able to:  give at least 4 examples of animals living in each of the  continents

–          describe an animal: name its movement style, tell if it can swim, fly etc.

 

*At this point it is worth noticing how CLIL may easily fit into any national curriculum requirements. As far as the Polish Curriculum is concerned, my unit fulfilled the following demands:

 

  • Development of communication skills – „w kulturalny sposób zwraca się do rozmówcy, mówi na temat, zadaje pytania i odpowiada na pytania innych osób, dostosowuje ton głosu do sytuacji, np. nie mówi zbyt głośno”
  • Reacts to instructions- „rozumie proste polecenia i właściwie na nie reaguje”
  • Creates the animals book – „wypowiada się w wybranych technikach plastycznych na płaszczyźnie i w przestrzeni; posługuje się takimi środkami wyrazu plastycznego, jak: kształt, barwa, faktura”
  • Development of science knowledge – „rozpoznaje rośliny i zwierzęta żyjące w takich środowiskach przyrodniczych, jak: park, las, pole uprawne, sad i ogród (działka), wymienia warunki konieczne do rozwoju roślin i zwierząt w gospodarstwie domowym, wie, jaki pożytek przynoszą zwierzęta środowisku: niszczenie szkodników przez ptaki, zapylanie kwiatów przez owady, spulchnianie gleby przez dżdżownice”
  • Development of mathematic knowledge – „wyprowadza kierunki od siebie i innych osób; określa położenie obiektów względem obranego obiektu; orientuje się na kartce papieru, aby odnajdować informacje (np. w lewym górnym rogu) i rysować strzałki we właściwym kierunku, sprawnie liczy obiekty (dostrzega regularności dziesiątkowego systemu liczenia), wymienia kolejne liczebniki od wybranej liczby, także wspak (zakres do 20); zapisuje liczby cyframi (zakres do 10)’”
  • Development of IT knowledge – „posługuje się komputerem w podstawowym zakresie: uruchamia program, korzystając z myszy i klawiatury” (Polish National Curriculum for Lower primary classes 2014)

 

Finally, when my CLIL unit had clear aims and objectives I could start designing the lesson plans. I have started from gathering readymade materials which I found in the Internet and the CLIL resource books (they are described above). In the Internet I found thousands of pages which offer animals themed sites. They contain many different animals themed resources like pictures, sounds, videos, games or even sites when students may take virtual visit to the zoo and watch animals live in their homes.

 

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Figure 14: animals’ action verbs – to breathe              Figure 15: animals’ action verbs – to slide

 

On other sites I was able to create my own crosswords, mind maps or flashcards.

Figure 16: animals’ action verbs – crossword. The authors’ personal source.

 

Figure 17: animals’ action verbs – words mix. The author’s personal source.

 

However, if I could not find materials which were needed, I designed them myself and it was rather an easy process.

Figure 18: Baby animals – matching activity. The author’s personal source.

 

Figure 19: Animals from all around the world – worksheet. The author’s personal source.

 

Next I selected and adjusted the materials to my students’ needs.  My pupils were very clever and liked to move around a lot, that is why I increase the difficulty level a bit and introduce many movement activities.  At the end, on the base of my resources I planned individual tasks and exercises.

 

As it turned out the students liked the lessons very much. Moreover, they were eager to participate in all of the activities. Some of the learners become so interested in the topic of animals that they continue their studies at home.

Figure 20: Animals from all around the world – one of the student’s work. The author’s personal source.

 

Taking everything into consideration, I think that today Content and Language Integrated Learning is one of the most promising approaches in the educational scene.  In comparison to the traditional way of teaching, it provide students with the required  knowledge and gives them more time to practice foreign language to be better prepared for future life. As far as CLIL materials are considered it is only partially truth that they are hardly available. I hope that this short publication would help teachers and provide them whit some useful ideas where to find CLIL connected resources.

 

Bibliography:

Calabrese, I., Rampone, S. 2005 Curricular Content. Resources for Primary. Oxford: OUP.

Coyle, D., Hood, P. & Marsh, D. (2010). CLIL: Content and language integrated learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dalton-Puffer, C. 2008. Outcomes and processes in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL): current research from Europe. In Werner Delanoy and Laurenz Volkmann, (eds.) Future Perspectives for English Language Teaching. Heidelberg: Carl Winter, 139-157.

Eurydice. 2006. Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) at School in Europe. Brussels. the Eurydice European Unit

Mehisto, P., Marsh, D., Frigols, M. J. 2008. Uncovering CLIL : Content and Language Integrated Learning in bilingual and multilingual education. Oxford: Macmillan.

Podstawa programowa kształcenia ogólnego dla szkół podstawowych, 2014.

Nikula, T. 2007. The IRF pattern and space for interaction: Observations on EFL and CLIL classrooms. In C. Dalton-Puffer & U. Smit (eds.) Empirical Perspectives on CLIL Classroom Discourse. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 179-204

 

Keywords: CLIL, CLIL resources, EFL, foreign language teaching

 

Summary:

Nowadays, as the Content and Language Integrated Learning is becoming more and more popular in the field of foreign languages teaching, the need of CLIL materials is constantly increasing. For this purpose the aim of the following publication was to equip teachers with a few ideas where to look for readymade CLIL resources. The publication consists of three parts, in which following CLIL resources were discussed:

  • The best CLIL resource books – the sources of lesson ideas and valuable addition to every primary foreign language teacher’s bookshelf
  • The Internet – the place where free and open educational resources and ideas are shared
  • The foreign language coursebooks – how to utilize and adapt them into the teaching context

 

Biographic entry:

Marta Niewiarowska – in 2013 I graduated from University of Warsaw and hold Bachelors degree in the field of Primary Teaching and Early English Teaching. Currently, I am continuing this field of study at Master’s Degree programme. My Bachelors diploma project Foreign language vocabulary acquisition through story-based CLIL raised the issues of teaching vocabulary through content and language integrated learning with the use of children’s literature. What is more, since October 2014 I have been studying a second Master’s Degree programme in the field of Bilingual Education – the Graduate Programme In Teaching English to Young Learners.  At my studies I am constantly working on developing myself as a future teacher, researcher and decent human being.

 

 



Published: 2015-06-19