An introduction to scaffolding in the CLIL classroom

One of the biggest challenges of learning a content area through English is how to make sure pupils have sufficient language resources to match the complexity of the concepts they are learning about. Careful scaffolding is essential, argues Florià Belinchon.

Author: Florià Belinchon

RTEmagicC_An_introduction_to_Scaffolding_image_1_03.jpgConventional foreign language teaching is usually based on controlled input and on practising the language. However, when teaching a subject through a foreign language, the methodology differs in some ways. As the subject dictates the language needs, we have to analyse the language our pupils will require in order for them to understand and express their understanding of the content area and make sure we give them the necessary linguistic support to do this. This means carefully planning the language we are going to use when delivering the content, plus the language (in terms of lexis, language chunks and structures) that pupils will need to be able to speak and write about what they’ve learnt. As well as this linguistic support, we need to help pupils with cognitive functions (ie the thinking skills they require in order to understand the concepts) and the study skills necessary to do this.

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