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Teaching Other Subjects Through English

Sheelagh Deller & Christine Price
Oxford, 2007, 151 pages
ISBN: 978-0-19-442578-0

CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) is an umbrella term covering aspects of cross-curricular teaching, content-based teaching and ESP. CLIL, however, requires the teacher to focus on content and provide the language support required to fully comprehend the subject within a single lesson. The last five years have seen the adoption of CLIL, in a variety of forms and for a variety of reasons, in many countries, particularly in Europe and South America. CLIL teachers, however, face a number of problems including a lack of training, the slow development of a consistent CLIL methodology, and a scarcity of materials.

Teaching Other Subjects Through English is one of the first books designed specifically to provide resources and materials for CLIL teachers, particularly those working with the 11-18 age group. The bulk of the book consists of more than sixty classroom activities, each using a ‘demo’ subject from the mainstream curriculum, which can be adapted to suit a variety of teaching contexts: the activities are arranged in seven sections, covering the main language skills but also dealing with giving new information, consolidation and revision, using supplementary resources and project work.

Teachers unfamiliar with integrating content and language may at first find the book difficult to use in terms of striking a balance between subject and language. However, the authors sensibly begin with a detailed introduction explaining how to use the book, the basics of CLIL methodology, and how each activity is organised. There is also a useful list of Websites, which provide further subject material and a booklist for those interested in CLIL, multiple intelligences and cross-curricular teaching in general. Two appendices contain useful task language for students and language to help the teacher in the classroom.

Given that CLIL methodology is still embryonic, this book adopts a sensible approach by presenting materials and activities in such a way that they can also be used by teachers of multi-lingual classes, subject teachers, teachers providing language support, and both subject and language teachers needing supplementary material. Both the activities and the materials should appeal to a wide variety of learners.

CLIL purists might criticise the book as having specific language aims in most units, since there is no language syllabus in the CLIL curriculum, and language is not graded. However, language teachers will find that the language focuses make the book easier to navigate and to make a transition from the conventional language lesson format to more content-based teaching.

Teaching Other Subjects Through English is something of a milestone in ELT publishing, and is a book which will appeal to subject teachers, language teachers, trainers and trainee teachers working in a wide variety of contexts. It represents a step towards providing resources for content and language integration, which, if current trends continue, is likely to be a feature of the modern classroom.

202 May/June 2008