CONTENT AND LANGUAGE INTEGRATED LEARNING (CLIL)
WHAT IS CLIL?
CLIL stands for “Content and Language Integrated Learning,” meaning the learning of curriculum subjects such as geography, history, or Religious Education through a target foreign language. There is no set methodology or structure for a CLIL program, and this term can refer to varying levels of language exposure. However the common consensus is that both language and content are given equal importance, and that this way of teaching allows a language to be learnt and used in an immediately relevant context.
Publications about us:
Bringing bilingual learning to the table: Should more Victorian secondary schools implement CLIL programs?
WHAT KIND OF CLIL DOES ST MONICA’S OFFER?
At St Monica’s College our CLIL classes are carefully scaffolded to increase the exposure of our students to their target language more and more throughout the year, with the goal of full immersion. We understand that CLIL is more than talking at our students in another language, and as such, class instruction is delivered in simplified language along with gestures and visuals to assist with understanding. Students learn through the use of texts and resources in both English and the foreign language, and will often be asked to present at least part of their work in the target language. They are also encouraged to speak the language in class as much as possible.
We currently have an Italian CLIL program which runs from years 7 – 9.
ITALIAN CLIL SUBJECTS:
Year 7: Italian, Religion, and Humanities
Year 8: Italian, Religion, and Humanities
Year 9: Italian, Religion, and Humanities
Our other four languages at St Monica’s (Japanese, French, Greek and Spanish) are currently offered through the general LOTE stream only. Italian can be studied either through LOTE mainstream or CLIL.
BENEFITS OF CLIL
Faster language acquisition
While we are proud of our dynamic and extensive range of LOTE subjects at St Monica’s College, the fact remains there is only a small number of hours per week for our students to receive instruction in and about the language. By studying a language through CLIL, students are exposed to the language a greater number of hours per week and as a result, we have observed faster language acquisition rates in our students. Through CLIL they not only have more time to learn the language, but are also regularly using it in a real-life context of learning and discussing the subject content. Why would students need to remember the words like “map” and “population” unless they have an immediate need to use them to learn geography? This authentic context for use of the language helps students make deeper connections between vocabulary and the relative meaning, and are therefore more likely to remember them.
Deeper understanding of subject content
The more angles you see something from, the better you will understand it. The same applies for learning a subject through an additional language. Languages are beautifully unique and can shed further light on the subject matter by describing it in a different way.
Parents may feel concerned about the idea of their child learning subjects through a LOTE, for fear they will not achieve the same level of understanding. However, both research and our years of experience with CLIL have dispelled this myth, and we instead feel that our students gain a deeper understanding of the content by engaging with it through two language perspectives. Students are assessed on the same content as their non-CLIL subject peers, and overall show results similar to them – if not better!
Smaller class sizes
At St Monica’s each CLIL cohort attends separate classes for each subject content area than the rest of their year level peers. While it may not always be the case, this usually results in CLIL classes having a much smaller number of students than mainstream content subject classes. This allows students to have much more interaction with and one-on-one assistance from their class teachers. It also results in less disruption in class, and often means the class will be ahead of their mainstream peers in terms of the unit timeline, allowing for further extension and more revision time.
Class unity and strong, lasting friendships
Over the 3 years in the CLIL program, students in each class spend a lot of time together studying the language and CLIL subjects. In addition to the small class sizes this often leads to a strong sense of unity amongst classmates as they share the ups and downs of this unique experience. As part of a CLIL cohort your child will likely feel a sense of belonging to this smaller group, in addition to their homeroom class, forming deep friendships that may continue beyond the CLIL years.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
St. Monica’s College currently has one CLIL program, Italian, which includes several subjects taught through the target language in addition to language focused classes. These CLIL programs run from Year 7 to Year 9, with an additional Advanced Italian class offered in Year 10. After the completion of CLIL, students will rejoin the mainstream content and LOTE language classes, if they choose to continue the language.
Any student studying CLIL will likely find it challenging, but we encourage them to persist and rise to the challenge. We encourage them to discuss their learning and any difficulties they may be having with their CLIL teachers, who can share effective learning strategies and lend some additional support. While we encourage all students to persevere through to the end of the 3 year program, we understand that sometimes CLIL may not suit your child. In these rare cases we suggest returning to mainstream LOTE and content classes at the beginning of the next year.