Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Day at Aston

Aston University is hosting a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Day on Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Aston University has long been at the forefront of using CLIL in higher education, and teaching in the target language represents one of its unique selling points. Student recruitment to modern languages is above the national average. Results in the National Student Survey show almost 100% student satisfaction across all languages, and students especially mention teaching in the target language as key to their success. Moreover, employability prospects for Aston language graduates are regularly amongst the top 5 nationally.

At Bordesley Green Girls School (BGGS), an inner city school in Birmingham, 89 percent of girls study languages at GCSE and 81% of these girls report that they enjoy learning a language. A sizeable group of 28 students also study languages at AS and A2. Value-added scores for languages are the highest of all EBacc subjects in the school. Languages are at the heart of whole school improvement. The Head Teacher Judith Woodfield has indeed shown that standards have risen in all other subjects at Key Stage 3 thanks to the adoption of a European curriculum which has CLIL at the heart of its delivery. Research in the UK and internationally shows that this approach to language learning leads not only to language improvement but also to cognitive acceleration.

The results from both BGGS and AU demonstrate that the negative national trend for languages is not inevitable. Given the right approach, children from any context and at any level of education can achieve success in languages. We believe that language is a skill that can be accessed by all; its potential for inclusivity is a key strength that needs to be advertised widely.

The aims of the workshop are:

  • To present CLIL success stories internationally (Estonia) and locally at different levels of education;
  • To share your own good practice during the Show and Tell sessions
  • To network for the promotion of CLIL as a highly effective approach to language learning and of its related benefits for the individual and the society.

Plenary talks:
Peeter Mehisto  (University College London Institute of Education) – Getting concrete with CLIL

Judith Woodfield  (Head teacher, Bordesley Green Girls School) – How Content and Language Integrated Teaching Can Halt the Decline of Languages in Schools

Elisabeth Wielander (Aston University) – Something to talk about: Integrating content and language in tertiary education

Workshop with Peeter Mehisto – Scaffolding through the unavoidable gateway of short-term memory: A CLIL essential

Show and Tell Event

Programme:
9.30-10.00     Registration
10.00-11.00    Welcome and Peeter Mehisto
11.00-11.30    Coffee
11.30-12.15    Judith Woodfield
12.15-13.00    Elisabeth Wielander
13.00-13.45    Lunch
13.45-14.45    Workshop with Peeter Mehisto
14.45-15.30    Show and Tell 1
15.30-16.00    Coffee
16.00-16.45     Show and Tell 2
16.45-17.00    Closing

Register to reserve your free place at this event

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Addressing English as a Lingua Franca in Language Teaching Theory and Practice: Challenges and Opportunities

This CPD event was run by Nathan Page (lecturer in applied linguistics at Aston) on May 4th, and was attended by staff and students of the university. The session was based around an overview of major theories and findings in the English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) research movement, and then an application of those to a specific context of language teaching and learning which formed the basis of Nathan’s PhD research.

ELF research tells us that many features of standard English lexicogrammar and pronunciation can be varied with no effect on mutual intelligibility between speakers. It has documented some of the processes involved in maintaining that mutual intelligibility, and has also pointed out which specific features are likely to cause breakdowns in communication and which are not. Given this backdrop, the audience were asked to consider a rather controversial question: to what extent is the teaching of all standard forms of English relevant in English education today?

Of course there are many ways of approaching that question, and certainly matters of educational context and individual identity, aspirations (and so on) are of paramount importance. It was noted that it is not uncommon for teachers or learners to have either ambivalent or openly hostile reactions to some of the concepts and ideas associated with ELF. This issue was expanded upon by demonstrating that – in a Japanese context where the English learners are volunteers preparing to work overseas in diverse global contexts – there certainly must be a strong case for adopting an ELF-type position on teaching practices, and yet some teachers were openly dismissive of global diversity in English, preferring to adhere strictly to standard forms of the language. This was shown to be a complex, multi-layered issue as research from the context shows many reasons which justify an ‘intelligibility based’ approach but this comes with many caveats indicating that some focus on standard forms of English is still important to the volunteers.

Ultimately, the session pointed out that an awareness of the issues raised by ELF is important for all teachers of English, but that the associated concepts represent both challenges and opportunities for classroom pedagogy, largely dependent on context and also learner identity.

If you would like more information, Nathan can be contacted on n.page@aston.ac.uk. He also has an open-source publication available at http://www3.caes.hku.hk/ajal/index.php/ajal/article/view/28 .

Educational Conference

On Friday, February 26, Bordesley Green Girls’ School is hosting an Educational Conference focussing on CPD at primary and secondary level where CLaRA member Prof Urszula Clark will be the keynote speaker and will also present a session and a workshop on Language Based Pedagogy.

For more detailed information about the programme, please go to the website.

Conference at Bordesley Green

CPD: ICT as motivational tools in MFL classrooms (with Joe Dale)

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CPD: Assessment and the New National Curriculum for MFL

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CPD event: Teaching Languages through Poetry

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CPD event poster_Poetry

Show and Tell for Language Practitioners at Aston University

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Poster_Show n Tell event Feb 2015

CPD event: ‘Multimedia Language Learning on the iPad’

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CPD event: Getting Started with French – Niveau bleu

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How to be OUTSTANDING in the Secondary MFL Classroom

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Twilight CPD session: How to be OUTSTANDING in the Secondary MFL Classroom at Aston University 10th June 2014

Due to the successful event held on 11th February 2014, CLERA ran a repeat session aimed at Secondary school Modern Foreign Language (MFL) practitioners. The course was attended by Class Teachers, MFL Co-ordinators and Heads of department from across the West Midlands and even as far as Essex.

The aim of the event was to help practitioners to think about what an OUTSTANDING lesson in MFL is and how it is achieved. Gemma Riley, Assistant Principal at Sidney Stringer Academy in Coventry, delivered this practical session with her colleague, Andy Compton who gave some suggestions on how to use iPads in the MFL classroom. Their school was recently awarded ‘Outstanding’. They shared resources, lesson plans and ideas with the delegates.

Many thanks go to Gemma Riley, Andy Compton and to the delegates for making this CPD session such another great success.