Issues Ideas Educ.

A Study on The Attitude of Secondary School Teachers of West Bengal Towards CLIL

Piku Chowdhury

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  • DOI Number
    https://doi.org/10.15415/iie.2017.52012
KEYWORDS

Content, Language, Integration, CLIL, Teacher attitude, Knowledge, Teacher education

PUBLISHED DATE November 2017
PUBLISHER The Author(s) 2017. This article is published with open access at www.chitkara.edu.in/publications
ABSTRACT

Cognitive development goes hand in hand with linguistic development, and language emerges as a tool through which a learner comes to understand the world. In the first language these processes are paired naturally, though for second language learners like the majority of learners of English in India, traditional methods for teaching second/foreign languages often dissociate language learning from cognitive or academic development. By contrast, an integrated approach brings these domains together in instruction. Integration of language and content, commonly known as CLIL, therefore emerges as significant for effective education. However, though the West Bengal Elementary Teacher Education Curriculum Framework encourages? CLIL, there seems to be a significant knowledge gap among practising secondary and higher secondary teachers regarding language and content integrated teaching and learning. The present study seeks to explore the knowledge and attitude of teachers of West Bengal regarding the CLIL methodology.

INTRODUCTION

There is growing interest in a model of teaching in which language is integrated with content instruction in the language classroom. This approach contrasts with methods, in which language skills are taught in isolation from substantive content. For young children, cognitive development goes hand in hand with linguistic development, and language emerges as a tool through which a learner comes to understand the world. In the first language these processes are paired naturally, though for second language learners like the majority of learners of English in India, traditional methods for teaching second/foreign languages often dissociate language learning from cognitive or academic development. By contrast, an integrated approach brings these domains together in instruction. Moreover, language is learned most effectively for communication in meaningful, purposeful social and academic contexts. In real life, people use language to talk about what they know and what they want to know more about, not to talk about language itself, whereas in the typical school setting, the emphasis remains on content of different academic subjects and language finds attention and focus only in language classes In most cases, language learning and content learning are treated as independent processes. Mohan (1986) notes: “In subject matter learning we overlook the role of language as a medium of learning. In language learning we overlook the fact that content is being communicated” (p. 1) Again, the integration of content with language instruction provides a substantive/firm basis for language teaching and learning. Content provides a primary motivational incentive for language learning insofar as it is interesting and of some value to the learner and therefore worth learning. Language then will be learned because it provides access to content, and language learning may even become incidental to learning about the content. Content also provides a cognitive basis for language learning in that it provides real meaning that is an inherent feature of naturalistic language learning. Meaning provides conceptual or cognitive basis on which language functions and structures can be placed. In the absence of real meaning, language structures and functions are likely to be learned as abstractions devoid of conceptual or communicative value. In India, especially in West Bengal English is taught in most secondary schools as a second language and CLIL remains a largely unexplored concept for many practising second language teachers. Interestingly enough CLIL finds a place in the West Bengal Elementary Teacher Education Curriculum Framework and certain practicum in the prevalent revised B.Ed. Courses imply practice but how far the teacher education system prepares teachers for the same and how far practising and trained teachers are aware of this remains to be brought under the scanner. Habitat/Context? appears as an important factor in the study since teaching in rural belts practically boils down to translation in second language classes and in most cases note giving practice in vernacular with scant scope for CLIL which would be much needed for the learners’ linguistic as well as cognitive development.

Page(s) 185-198
URL http://dspace.chitkara.edu.in/jspui/bitstream/1/910/2/52012_IIE_Piku%20Chowdhury.pdf
ISSN Print : 2320-7655, Online : 2320-8805
DOI https://doi.org/10.15415/iie.2017.52012
CONCLUSION

The study reveals that content teachers in tandem with language teachers should be provided with a systematic approach to the identification and instruction of language aims within content teaching, and that the main teacher development courses are failing in ways more than one in doing so, despite NCTE curriculum revision in both elementary and secondary level teacher education. The need for in-service professional development of the teacher educators themselves emerges as a necessary corollary The teacher education curriculum clearly points to the development of CLIL skills and techniques as a part of the cours, though the study reflects teacher education not developing tachers adequately for this approach. .

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