Updated: Sep 2, 2022
When you teach a subject through another language, you have to think about WHAT you want to teach the class and HOW you want to teach it. When your students speak another language or are not proficient in the language spoken in class, you need to become a very strategic teacher. stop talking! You can't just start talking about any topic because there is a risk that students won't be able to follow you. 'Just talking' to a class is a strategy (or lack of) that we see too often in teaching. It's a difficult habit to let go of. In a regular class, you might get away with it (although research has shown that little 'deep' learning occurs when students only have to sit and listen), but in a bilingual class, it will cause immediate disruption of the learning process.
strategy When teaching a CLIL class, teachers become more aware of the strategy. Several questions will pop up before you get ready to teach: Do students have the language to understand this topic? How can I support their understanding? Can I show them instead of telling them? How can I simplify the language in this text? How can I help them express their opinion or demonstrate their knowledge? Do they have the language for this? Can they help each other? monolingual Once I saw the benefits of actively supporting students' understanding and supporting their written and spoken output, I realized I needed to start doing this for all my classes, not just the bilingual classes. Even in a mother tongue, students will need to learn new words and practice more complex sentences to share their opinion or, for example, how to make a comparison. We can't assume students will be able to do this. It doesn't matter in which language we teach; we need to be aware of the language we use. Not just the specific subject language but also transactional language and everyday language.
variety Teaching a bilingual class taught me to vary more in the techniques/activities I use. Overall there has been a lot more interaction in the classroom. Not just between the teacher and students but also in student-student interaction. CLIL was the incentive to start developing these activities and techniques, but it doesn't stop me from using them in more traditional settings!