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CLIL for learning more than just languages

CLIL for learning more than just languages

What does CLIL stand for? Content and Language Integrated Learning, which translates to teaching non-language subjects as integrated topics, although we can simplify that further still.

The CLIL method involves the teaching of a second language via skills training in a completely different, language-unrelated area. This way, you can get better at the things you enjoy doing, not necessarily just learning a language. You can learn in an intuitive way, alongside learning to paint, code, or studying science, for example.

Use the language more naturally

What is the biggest difference between learning using CLIL and traditional language teaching methods? First of all, CLIL is way more fun. This way of learning a language doesn’t involve any vocabulary or grammar drills, nor translating sentences word for word or boring model situations. With CLIL, you learn the language “on the fly” and even though you may not have perfect grammar initially, you certainly won’t be afraid to speak in English.

Speak English immediately

One of the biggest advantages of CLIL is undoubtedly the natural context in which learners immediately put their language skills into practical use. You don’t just learn something you might use in the future, instead you get an opportunity to try out a new skill right away, without delay. Seeing immediate results gives you positive energy and motivates you to continue learning.

How does it work?

Traditional language teaching is focused primarily on endless practice of four different skills – reading, listening, speaking, and writing. By teaching a non-language subject in a foreign language, i.e. using the CLIL method, these four skills are integrated and become the means to acquire new information, rather than the goal. This enables students of the CLIL method to learn, in the classroom, how to approach different situations in a foreign language.

The CLIL method with us

We use the CLIL method in all our children’s courses with the aim of linking the language with real life as much as possible. We use CLIL textbooks in our lessons instead of traditional ones, in which children closely follow what they are currently learning in school, only this time in a different language. The big advantage is that on top of improving their English skills children also get to revise their school material and learn a little extra.

Lessons are conducted entirely in English, meaning that children simply have no choice but to speak it. They quickly get used to communicating in English and start to acquire sentence structures and whole phrases innately, without the need for rote learning. In short they learn not only to express themselves, but also to think in English.

Less is sometimes more

You cannot expect to have a perfect command of the language immediately after starting with CLIL. On the contrary, children will not always understand all the vocabulary but that is not the intention. By engaging with the language naturally, the results are not defined as the amount of vocabulary or grammatical rules learnt; but rather as the understanding of the material and the ability to paraphrase it. We are therefore interested in the acquisition of the language as a whole, so that it can used automatically and fluently. In terms of grammar or understanding the teacher perfectly, less can mean more in this case, leading to more active, engaged, and barrier-free language usage.

It’s simple

Using the CLIL method can be expressed as a simple equation: the more experiences the student engages in while learning, the more they learn; making it a great idea to mix it up while teaching. Browse our children’s English courses and let your kids learn English naturally in a real, practical context.