Seda Yaman

Head of English at Kocaeli Gunes Schools, Turkey.

I have always been contemplating different learning environments and their relation to language acquisition. Is language learning only confined to classrooms? What about other areas? Can it be connected to different branches?

Informal learning is an unofficial way that people learn to do their jobs. In other words, informal learning is lifelong learning. I believe in the effectiveness of CLIL method in language education as a means of informal learning.

The abbreviation CLIL stands for Content and Language Integrated Learning. Languages need context. This is why we link subjects in another language with English. Although CLIL is not new, it seems to stir up debate. It is an umbrella term and it is dual-focused. There are people who think that CLIL is just changing the language of instruction in the classroom. In fact, it does more than that.

The works from different areas such as science, maths, and art triggers students’ transversal skills such as collaboration, creativity, critical learning by means of project-based learning. CLIL has a dual function in that it both contributes to second language acquisition and internalization of subject knowledge through experiments outside the classrooms.

I believe interdisciplinary teaching has an important function in informal learning. It facilitates effective learning. The most important aspects of CLIL are the authenticity of materials, the selection of content and the setting of tasks. Unlike traditional learning contexts, CLIL materials and tasks are based on real-life situations, require real interactions and engage students in active tasks. Learners see a purpose in what they are doing

CLIL is used for more hands-on activities in language lessons and to bring innovations to the field and to develop practical resources. Teacher’s role is very significant in CLIL teaching. The teacher should be able to master areas and scaffold the students. CLIL teachers should be flexible with regard to teaching style, and must be willing to use visual aids extensively as well as able to solve language problems and offer help with listening and reading comprehension.

CLIL is goal-oriented, based on tasks, students are engaged in real activities,I believe it is an effective way to foster second language acquisition. In John Dewey’s words, students learn by doing!