Sentence starters for your CLIL lesson

If you want to help your students speak English (or more advanced English), it can help to give students some sentence starters. This will help steer them in the right direction regarding sentence structure and (if you want) even content. It can also help to avoid those awkward delaying moments in a lesson.

This is how students tend to answer questions...

When we observe lessons, we notice that the interactive part of the lessons often consists of a teacher asking the class questions. We appreciate that the teacher tries to connect with the class instead of just explaining information. However, what we often see happening is: - a student gives an answer that could be correct in another context, but it is not the answer the teacher is looking for;


- a student misinterprets the questions and gives a wrong answer; - a student gives a (partly) correct answer but doesn't phrase it correctly; - a student doesn’t give it a go and stays quiet. Improve the success rate with content and language support

If you want your instruction and questioning to be effective, Rosenshine's principles teach us that you need to aim for an 80% success rate in answers. In a CLIL lesson, students will have to think about the subject content and the language they need to answer the question. In this case, it's not a bad idea to give students the start of an answer. Content-wise, this could solve the problem of vague questions (and we all get in trouble with those from time to time) and steer the students in the direction you were hoping to take them. Language-wise, you could help students understand which tense to use or how to phrase an opinion. All of the above can be seen as (temporary) support in the zone of proximal development. At some point, you can take (part of) the support away, eliminating words of the sentence starter. There is also the option of not giving the support to all students, but just to those who need it or choose it.


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