This is just a quick report on the recent Symposium entitled “CLIL in a Plurilingual Community of Practice: Introducing Light CLIL in A2 (CEFR) level Foreign Language Classes”
The session got off to a very good start with Dr. Chantal Hemmi’s bilingual presentation about the basic approach of CLIL. Then, she switched to simple English to provide a demo lesson of an Elementary CLIL class based around festivals from around the world, featuring content she had authored herself and even videos of speakers from around the world that Dr Hemmi had interviewed about festivals. These videos features French and Chinese people speaking in English about festivals from their countries. The demo lesson was very well received and there were around sixty participants at the event.
After Dr Hemmi’s session, Richard Pinner talked briefly about his the notion of authenticity in CLIL, and briefly summarised some of the points from his forthcoming book (which features an entire chapter on CLIL and EMI). During the talk, Dr Hemmi translated everything in Japanese, even the bad jokes. Pinner problematised the notion of authenticity, specifically the assumption that authentic materials are ‘real’ (implying that the classroom is therefore ‘not real’) and the way that items such as ‘newspapers’ tend to gravitate unfairly toward ‘native-speakers’ of a language. The idea of the ‘native speaker’ is also very problematic and leads to unfair practices, not just in language teaching but in other domains as well.
After the lunch break, the symposium continued with a presentation about Plurilingualism by Dr Mitsuyo Sakamoto in Japanese (using slides in English). This was a very interesting and informative presentation which covered issues such as globalisation, the hegemony of English (and its so called ‘native speakers’) and of course the role of CLIL.
The fourth presentation of the day was given by Graham Mackenzie, and featured a practitioners’ narrative of an elementary class and how to teach content with lower level learners. The presentation was full of practical ideas and featured interactive content such as videos and other media, with ideas about where to source materials. Graham highlighted four different ways to generate content for CLIL classes; 1) linguistically simplified 2) simplified in terms of content 3) Student generated, 4) short ungraded content. The idea of students creating their own content was particularly interesting. Dr Hemmi also translated this session as well.
The final presentation of the day was a demo lesson for a Beginner level Spanish CLIL class (true beginners, as many of us had never taken any Spanish lessons). The session was taught by Jesús Martínez Astudillo, and it was very dynamic and informative. We learned the countries and capitals of South America, and the language and content focus were both integrated beautifully, all done in a language I can barely even count to ten in! Jesús explained that he was very passionate to try to show that the teaching can be done in the Target Language even at beginner level, having doubts about the value of the current system where most of the instruction is done solely in L1 (Japanese).
To wrap-up, all the speakers sat together for a panel in which questions from the audience were answered in turn, and again this was done bilingually with the help of Emi Fukazawa and Satomi Fuju.
Overall, it was a very fruitful discussion, well-attended and with very active participation. We would like to thank Professor Yoshimi Hiroyasu for organising the symposium and Dr Chantal Hemmi for her hard work in coordinating everything, and of course the rest of the organising committee, Ayako Kitamura, Akiko Masaki, Vincent Durrenberger and Juan Carlos Moyano. Thanks also to all the participants who attended the symposium. We would like to invite you to continue the discussion below using the sites’ comment features!
Chantal Hemmi’s Slides