Extending is good
I really like extending topics from my course book. Combining children’s knowledge of the world and foreign language is my priority. I usually look for an opportunity to show some real world that is unknown to children. We sometimes compare things from different countries with our familiar ones.
The brainstorm and inspirations
This time, I took the topic of transportation. In the coursebook we have names of different vehicles and adjectives describing their features like slow, fast, big, small, etc. I taught them needed vocabulary and structure ‘It is…’ and we could simply go with the flow.
When this idea to effectively implement some additional information to the topic of transportation came, I thought, ‘what can I do more in this topic? The division to land, air and water means is too easy and we’ve already talked about it.’ Then the brainstorm began and I refresh my memory of CLIL lessons I’ve ever seen.
During my study visit to Slovenia, I saw a lesson which had some parts worth trying in my teaching context. Thanks to the inspiration of the Slovene teacher, I came up with a nice presentation for my students and a worksheet to complete.
The lesson consisted of a slideshow and some basic information about road safety from children’s experience. They shared some ideas concerning traffic lights, road reflections, travelling by bus, etc. Then, I introduced them two policemen who were with us during the whole lesson. Later I asked some crucial questions included info about lights, vehicles, pavements and crossing the road. They mostly used their L1 while explaining some complex concepts, but they were able to name all means of transport that we covered during previous lessons.
As a following exercise students went on a trip around Poland using ‘a bus’. They needed to buy a ticket and behave according to safety rules that we talked through. It was plenty of fun having children making the bus and then perform some actions from the popular song ‘The wheels on the bus’. As a conclusion, using the road signs pupils had to lead the school bus to school. In each class they were able to do it perfectly. They even were given opportunity to prepare their own maze with road signs for the bus driver.
It was a little bit time-consuming for me, but one brief looks on their faces glowed with happiness made me realised that all the effort was totally worth it. There are various numbers of benefits coming out of using CLIL lessons. Students are interested in the lesson and they feel satisfied when they understand the content in the second language. Such type of provision results in better fluency, and good motivation to new more challenging things. Also teaching content through medium of English can help pupils acquiring language faster.
I hope this sample of advantages is enough to encourage you to try different perspective and extend easy topics to something more adventurous.