CLIL Teachers' Beliefs and Practices: How Can Teacher Training Help?

CLIL Teachers' Beliefs and Practices: How Can Teacher Training Help?

Ruth Milla, Amaia Aguirregoitia Martínez
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-6179-2.ch007
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This chapter presents the main aspects of a study conducted to explore existing beliefs and perspectives on CLIL-teaching specific practices and methodological aspects. The study aimed at identifying the educational practices accepted by CLIL experienced teachers and comparing them with prospective primary education teachers' underlying assumptions both before and after explicit instruction on CLIL based on experts' advice. The analysis of the results seems to indicate that instruction has modified students' beliefs and that specific training may contribute to the alignment of in-service teachers' praxis with the suggestions by experts in the field, in areas such as identifying problems in advance, using the learners' mother tongue, correcting language errors, using authentic materials, or presenting content. Interestingly, the answers of both teachers and students acknowledge the effectiveness of CLIL, although they reveal that appropriate qualification and training are a matter of concern that could benefit teachers greatly.
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CLIL has been described as “a dual-focused educational approach in which an additional language is used for the learning and teaching of both content and language” (Coyle, Hood, & Marsh, 2010: 1). That is, CLIL teachers have a two-folded aim: to teach a certain content, defined by the official curriculum and the subject itself, and to develop linguistic and communicative competence in a second (typically foreign) language. As Cenoz et al., (2013) put it, CLIL is an umbrella term for varied programs where language and content are taught in an integrated manner but, depending on sociocultural and educational factors, they might take different forms in their realization in the classroom. According to Mehisto, Marsh, and Frigols (2008), CLIL methodology needs to be focused on three types of outcomes: content-related, language-related and general skills related. The integration of these multifaceted goals proves difficult in practice for teachers new to CLIL programs (Villabona & Cenoz, 2022), therefore, teachers resort to their background training, resulting in content-oriented or language-oriented lessons, but without an actual integration of both. Actually, as Pellicer García (2017: 65) explains, “most teachers starting to teach content in the foreign language taught it as they would do in their mother tongue”, unless they have been trained with CLIL-specific methodologies, such as the 4C framework: cognition, community, content and communication (Coyle et al., 2010). In this sense, the roles of language in CLIL lessons have been redefined, including academic language for specific subjects and the language of classroom interaction (Llinares, Morton, & Whittaker, 2012).

Key Terms in this Chapter

HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills): Cognitive operations related to abstract thinking that learners must develop when they are challenged with analytical, creative and evaluative tasks requiring a higher degree of difficulty.

Recast: A widely used pedagogical practice consisting of offering feedback on error to facilitate students’ progress in their ability to use a second language. The teacher’s correct restatement of a learner’s incorrectly formed utterance offers an alternative model of the attempted production of the target form and recognizes the content of the previous turn.

Translanguaging: The deliberate or spontaneous use of two (or more) languages inside the same lesson. Pedagogical translanguaging consists of pre-planned activities or strategies for the inclusion of the learners’ native language in the foreign/second language classroom with pedagogical objectives.

Teachers’ Beliefs: Ideas teachers hold about what should and should not be done in their practice and that tend to guide their behaviour.

Elicitation: Feedback strategies to evoke correct responses from the learners after an error has been made, which are provided with the aim of drawing their attention to the erroneous form and achieving learners’ self-repair.

Communicative Task: It is a goal-oriented activity where learners have to communicate using the target language to reach a specific outcome or result.

LOTS (Lower Order Thinking Skills): Cognitive operations related to concrete thinking that require a low degree of difficulty, such as defining, describing, classifying or identifying. These skills constitute the base to reach the more complex processing levels or HOTS.

Scaffolding: A variety of instructional techniques used to influence students progressively toward a more profound comprehension and, ultimately, greater independence in the learning process. Teachers use diverse tactics to offer levels of temporary support skill acquisition that they would not be able to achieve otherwise.

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