By Maribel Durá
CLIL is an acronym whose meaning is: Content and Language Integrated Learning. CLIL methodology has been implemented in San Pedro Pascual School for the last two years in the technology area. The target students in this project have been those in the secondary level, more specifically the ones in the 3rd and 4th of ESO levels.
The results for the moment have been quite good, as the students have been able to develop oral abilities impossible to acquire otherwise.
Several studies demonstrate that a tangible benefit can be obtained from this experience if at least one third of the total lessons are taught in English. That is what we have achieved in our school: one of the three weekly technology lessons is taught in English, particularly the practice lesson, where the students build projects and carry out electronic experiments. It’s much easier for them to pay attention to the teachers’ explanations in a practical lesson than in a more theoretical one. The theory lessons are still taught in Spanish.
It’s very important to motivate the students to get involved, but this is not always an easy task. In the technology classroom students can obtain positive marks every time they use the English language to express themselves. The correct use of the language is not so important at the beginning. The main objective is to make the students lose their fears when talking in a foreign language. Students are generally very shy at first, but they feel more and more comfortable after a couple of months. They can also gain extra points in the exams by answering the optional English questions included in them. Answering the questions wrongly or with a lot of mistakes, won’t reduce their marks. This is very important for them because they are very worried about their academic results. In this way they get another opportunity to improve their marks!
After building the project, the students have to write a report about it in English. This report should include several items or areas, such as materials and tools, design and specifications, construction steps, budget, problems and solutions and proposals for further improvements as well.
At the end of the school year the students will, in groups of three, make an oral presentation of their project to the rest of the class. It’s really amazing to watch and listen to them and see their progress.
To conclude I would like to say that this is a very enriching experience for both students and teachers, so I warmly recommend it!