CLIL
In Primary School
By Barbara Buchholz MA
College of Initial Teacher Education, Eisenstadt, Austria,
presented at CLIL workshop Vienna University, July 2005
This presentation looks at
• Primary curriculum (very
briefly)
• CLIL in primary school (i.p.
Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills - BICS)
• Action research in general
• An action research project
on BICS – A case study at
an Austrian primary school
© Profil
What does the Curriculum say?
1. English language acquisition should be experienced within concrete and situative activities
based on children‘s everyday life. (Aller
Anfang5/98:12)
2. The English language should be applied integratively within other school subjects (Sciences,
Maths, Music, Physical Education) ...(ibid. page
15)
3. In these subjects English should be used as a
means of instruction over certain periods of time
in order to explain, describe or show simple facts
...(ibid. page 14)
A call for CLIL ...?
The Curriculum frame
•
•
•
•
•
English as a foreign language (EFL) is compulsory from
year1
No additional lesson time provided for EFL in year 1 & 2;
one lesson per week in year 3 & 4
EFL is integrated in other school subjects (except German)
Main objectives focus on communicative FL skills
Didactic principles include monolingual and cross-curricular
English Language Teaching (ELT)
A breeding ground for CLIL...?
Integrating FL = CLIL ?!
“How is the FL to be integrated?“
The answer to this question is a matter of definition (and of teachers‘ views)
A
A matter of time slots in general primary tuition:
There are five minutes left until the break, so let‘s do a little English...
B
A matter of subject swapping:
In our music lesson we‘ll learn an English song today.
C
A matter of teaching the obvious:
Let‘s talk about animals: fish swim, birds fly...
D
A matter of content based language teaching:
Today you‘ll learn about the water cycle.
_________________________________________________________________
A, B, C or D?
“The discussion around that question is still ongoing and needs serious attention.“
What is relevant for Primary CLIL?
BICS
Language
Lexis
REFRAMING
Structures
Extension
YOUNG
LEARNERS‘
CLASSROOM
FL
L1
Environment
Influence
DISCOURSE
Primary teachers‘ FL competence
Native speaker assistant‘s support
THE
ACTION RESEARCH
PROJECT
Action Research - Definition
Action Research is a family of research methodologies
which pursue action (thus is change - improvement)
and research (thus is enhancing understanding) at
the same time.
It uses a cyclic process alternating between strategic
action and systematic reflection.
(Dick, 2000)
The Action Research Spiral
Action research is perfectly suitable for case studies.
In most cases action research is pure qualitative research.
The Action Research Cycle
Problem
identification
& questions
Results,
analyses &
interpretation
Reflection
& data
collection
Exploration
Action
Research
Hypothesis
Application
in practice
Planning of
action steps
The Research Case
ORGANISATION & METHODOLOGY
The Research Organisation
Participants
• 25 primary pupils aged 9 (third grade English emphasis
•
•
•
•
class, i.e. 2 English lessons per week plus EFL integration
from year1)
A teacher colleague as non-participating teacher observer
A pupil‘s mother as outside observer
A native speaker assistant as ‘language consultant‘ and
outside observer
Myself as class teacher, inside observer and participating
teacher-researcher
The Research Organisation
Setting & Time
• Original settings in primary school, classroom, school
yard, gym
• Normal English lessons respectively
• Integrated English instruction sequences
• School breaks
• Research period: February to September 2002
The Research Methodology
Instruments, techniques & sources
• Research diary & fieldnotes
• Lessons observations
• Peer observation
• Audio tape recordings
• Students‘ inventories
• Students‘ interviews
• Students‘ protocols (initiated after first spiral)
• Classteacher‘s documents (lesson plans, records, protocols)
• Relevant literature and curriculum
• Triangulation & discussion (teachers and students)
Problem Identification
“Long-term” problem: Students’ avoidance to speak English
Initial Problem:
Although receptive FL communication skills are sufficiently present,
most students lack the productive component. Thus resulting in the
fact that oral interactive communication as such cannot take place and
Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skills (BICS) are not existing.
Therefore, young FL students need special communication training,
particularly in speaking.
Research questions
Problem Identification
Initial research questions
•
•
•
Why do students predominantly speak German during English
lessons?
Why do students permanently switch codes, even though the
classroom language is English?
What can be done to improve the classroom discourse
situation?
Exploration
The Research Process
Exploration & Reflection
First inquiry steps
• Self – reflection
• Literature
• Documents
Teacher talk in lessons
‘Quick translations‘ vs ‘Explain in English‘
Amount/occasions of peer talk in class
Buckmaster vs Krashen
Peltzer-Karpf‘s studies on bilingual primary education
Studies by Johnstone, Gerngroß
Vygotsky‘s ‘Zone of Proximal Development‘ (ZPD)
Lesson plans: exact definition of language goals
Course books, teaching material etc (languages mix)
The Research Process
Exploration - First inquiry steps
• Research Diary 
• Preliminary
Inquiries



Concentrate teacher‘s own perceptions:
When exactly do children switch codes?
Are emotions helpful or distractive?
Does hearing German have any negative impact?
Teacher observer‘s appraisal: ‘Differing‘ views
Exploratory teacher discussion: ‘Common‘ fact
Students‘ discussion: ‘Lack of chunks‘
First conclusion
The Research Process
First conclusion
As the classteacher I had to accept, that there was a need to change my
own unstructured approach and more or less random use of L1 / L2.
Teacher and students had to avoid language mix without any exception.
In order to achieve this, appropriate action steps were to be developed.
They should meet students‘ needs.
Hypothesis
Hypothesis
Creating a monolingual FL classroom language
environment will provoke (predominant) monolingual
FL classroom discourse that is conducive to develop
basic interpersonal communication skills (BICS) for
content and language integrated learning (CLIL).
End of first spiral
First spiral results
Research Issues
• Language management
• Language education
• Language contents
Classroom
Timing
Grouping
Social interaction
Consequence measures
Awarding
Communication tools
Output remedies
Subject-specific terms
Supplementary material
Further spirals - Action Strategies
Language Management
• The EZ
• Flag-Is-Up
The ‘ English Zone‘ – an ‘as-if‘ monolingual model
Spatial division of language environment
No German at all – and for all!
Free access, voluntary stay
Inclusion of devices (PC, piano, reading corner, pet)
Expanded EZ
Regular ritual – action and shouts
Hoisted flag and classroom door
Further spirals - Action Strategies
Language Education
•
•
•
Social
interaction
Games, drama, cooperative tasks
Matchstick
system
Group monitors - group awards
Red card
‘Refugees‘ and ‘penalty‘
Further spirals - Action Strategies
Language Contents
•
Posters
Speech models
Metaphors
Visuals
•
Stickers
Dialogue sets
‘Word-pool‘
•
CTA
Come-Together-Activity
Music or FL background
Further spirals – Data collection
• Language
Management
• Language
Education
• Language
Content
Teacher‘s reflection (permanent)
Outsider observation
Teacher observation
Peer observation
Tape recordings
Students‘ discussion
Teacher observation
Peer monitoring
Students‘ protocols
Teacher observation
Outsider observation
Students‘ discussion
Further spirals – RESULTS
Language Management
EZ
&
Flag
Surprising success – very high motivation to speak
Average 85% of pupils used EZ even in the breaks
75% more speaking activity (words & phrases)
Active use of passive vocabulary doubled (words)
High effort was made – no one wanted to leave the zone
NLP and role-play happened unconsciously
Speaking blockades were overcome – no ‘stuck-states‘
Voluntary brain wreck exposed students‘ idleness in
former settings
 17 pupils built an ‘English Zone‘ even at home

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

-
Arguments about peer observation rules
Students‘ observation records were biased
Danger of temporary restriction of EZ‘s appeal
Further spirals – RESULTS
Language Education
Interaction




Matchsticks
 75% appreciated justification/rewarding system
 Code-switching rate decreased from 25% to 2%
 Students as organisers – raised self-esteem
- Applicable only in EZ
Red card
Stronger impact of all interactions in the EZ
Less pressure – EZ could be left
More flexible implementation
Children ‘invented‘ English learning strategies (in L1)
 Very strong effect – only 4 cases in 2 weeks
-
Deterring rules (the penalty - ‘a housewife‘s job‘?)
Action step dropped
Further spirals – RESULTS
Language Contents
Posters
Stickers
CTA
Music
&
English
-
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



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
Very high motivation through active participation
Children‘s genuine conversation phrases recorded
Creative hands-on learning with script and text
Contextualized language application done by students
All children involved autonomously at flexible levels
Boosting effect on English peer talk (15% - 65% average)
Wide scope for inspiration (choice of CTA topics - CLIL)
Decreasing embarrassment in speaking English
Concentration plus fun maintained – no one left out
Diversion, improvisation, pantomime – adventurous but serious
language learning, self-directed and rewarding
 Monolingual FL classroom discourse periodically realised!
CTA results not transferable to working situations
Posters/stickers and CTA need lots of space and time
The Action Research Cycle
Problem
identification
& questions
Results,
analyses &
interpretation
Reflection
& data
collection
Research
Exploration
Action
Research
Evaluation
Hypothesis
Application
in practice
Planning of
action steps
Research Evaluation
Inventories & interviews
Students‘ feedback on action steps
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
super
ok
not so good
EZ
Flag
Match
Red
CTA-M
CTA-E
Posters
Research Evaluation
Inventories & interviews
Students‘ feedback on the observers
80
70
60
50
super
40
ok
30
not so good
20
10
0
Peers
CT
Insider
Outsider
NSA
Research Evaluation
Inventories & interviews
Did you improve your English?
70
60
50
very much
40
much
30
medium
20
no
10
0
Girls
Boys
Research Evaluation
Inventories & interviews
How do you like speaking English now?
80
70
60
50
much more
40
more
30
equally
20
not really
10
0
Girls
Boys
Discussion & students‘ comments
•I didn‘t know how to speak English and what to say...
•It‘s so cool to really speak English...
•We want to keep the English zone in our classroom...
•I‘ve always wanted to know what‘s „Halt den Mund!“ in English...
•First they (group monitors) were unfair, but it worked out finally...
•The CTA is my favourite game... In English only...
•Now I‘m not afraid anymore of travelling to England.
•It was great to see that I speak a lot better than my elder brother.
•I helped my mother translating an English pop song.
Teachers‘ quotes
•I never thought that this is going to happen…
(Teacher observer)
•It was amazing when children started speaking unconsciously…
(Native speaker assistant)
•I could not believe what I saw in that class…
(Headteacher)
Parents‘ quotes
•I‘ve also benefited from that project by adding a big deal of
everday English to my business vocab ... (Outside observer)
•My children are building an “English zone“ at home... (Mother)
•My younger son is challenging his elder brother –
he speaks much better English … (Father)
Conclusion
Answering Research Question 1
Why do students predominantly speak German
among each others during English lessons?
•Thoughtlessness
•Pure idleness
•Lack of motivation
•Lack of vocabulary
•Lack of language structures
•Embarrassment
•Fear of being laughed at
Conclusion
Answering Research Question 2
Why do students permanently switch codes,
even though the classroom language is English?
•Lack of concentration
•Lack of motivation
•No vocabulary available
•No language structures available
•Teacher uses L1
•Shyness
•Inhibition & fear of being corrected too often
Conclusion
Answering Research Question 3
What can be done to improve the classroom
discourse situation?
•Set clear goals and reflect on achievements
•Set spatial language environment zones
•Make vocabulary available (stickers)
•Make language phrases accessible (posters)
•Use L2 only
•Set flexible steps towards self-directed learning
•Motivate for practice (topics beyond schoolbooks)
•Provide tools for peer- and self-control
Action Research Aims Achieved
• Overall FL competence improved
• Receptive and productive FL use increased
• Better quality lessons
• Monolingual English classroom periodically
End
present
• BICS predominantly realised
When children find themselves in the company
of others who speak other languages, they will
make an effort to understand and use the new
language. (Brumfit, 1991)
Exploit this benefit for your English lessons!
This action research project was carried out
during my MA study in Education
(Foreign Languages
Focus )
THANK
YOU Pedagogy
FOR YOUR
at Norwich University, England
2001 – 2004
Barbara Buchholz !
ATTENTION
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