Example 3

CALL Materials for a CLIL Class

Special Interests

With this teaching package I have attempted to develop on a class I used to teach at the Hiroshima YMCA School of Languages in Japan.

The class, titled Around the World, was part of the school's Special Interest programme, a subdivision of the overall syllabus, which offers students the opportunity to study English through a particular area of their own personal interest. Such dual-focus, integrated content and language studies have included subjects as Film Studies, Art History, Greek Mythology, Drama, Current Issues, Renaissance Studies, Music, Tango and even English Football (a weekly children's training session where all instruction was done in the target language).

These courses provide a step away from traditional second language teaching models, where language provides the class with both the object and the medium of study (Allwright, 1984), and further go beyond the mere incorporation of topic-material or exposure to authentic sourced items of interest, in attempting to engage and motivate students in language learning by tapping into the person behind the learner. As asserted by (Brumfit, 2001),

"Teachers work in a world of real people, real motives, and conflicting interests, and their prime task is to survive in this world, in order to influence learning and direct it towards the most profitable activities and routines for success." (p153)

Through the students' fancies, through their enthusiasm for particular realms of personal appeal, students are able to pursue their interests on account of their second language skills, while developing their language abilities in service of their pursuits.

Increasingly a hot-topic of interest in its own right, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)

"refers to any dual-focused educational context in which an additional language, thus not usually the first language of the learners involved, is used as a medium in the teaching and learning of non-language content. It is dual-focused because whereas attention may be predominantly on either subject-specific content or language, both are always accommodated." (Marsh, 2004)

As a great deal of the literature on the topic tends to situate CLIL in institutional contexts, often in relation to bilingual, ESL, or immersion programmes, rather than the recreational (the same seems to be true for most other equivalent acronyms that have surfaced in recent years) [1], I am reluctant to apply this term in its full force to an educational context where participants gather once or twice a week for a number of hours of personal development and enjoyment.

As such, I will refer to this class orientation as soft-CLIL, in an attempt to evoke a more inclusive, user-friendly version that can be applied across educational contexts, include a wider reach of content, and be explored for its richness of learning opportunities afforded second language learning. [2]

[1] Others include CBLL (Content Based Language Learning), DBLI Discipline Based Language Instruction), CORI (Concept Oriented Reading Instruction) and CBI (Content Based Instruction).

[2] A further phrase I have been known to use is Social Pursuit Enabled Content-Integrated Acquisition of Language (S.P.E.C.I.A.L.). Quite a mouthful, but one that makes for a much more pleasant acronym.