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CLIL: A Project - A Brief Look At The Miniskirt

(with Rob Ledbury)

This is a description of one part of a project designed to build a bridge between content-based subject teachers and language teachers working in the context of a private English-medium university.

The institution, Izmir University of Economics, located on the Aegean coast of Turkey, is by no means unique. Students in the various faculties of the university study on undergraduate and post graduate programmes delivered in the medium of English. In order to gain entry to these programmes, students must either demonstrate a pre-determined level of language competence by passing a proficiency-style entrance examination, or, as is the case for some 1250 students per year, embark on a one-year intensive preparatory language programme.

There are inevitable problems. For decades, the Turkish education system has seen English as a pivotal subject in the curriculum. Successive attempts to teach English to a high level in the space of one year, first at the age of eleven, then later between middle and high school, have been, for the most part, unsuccessful, largely due to the inertia of an entrenched rote-learning system, poor teacher training facilities, and norm-referenced testing. Hence, the majority of students entering university are not yet capable of studying effectively in a foreign language. Nevertheless, a ‘bilingual’ programme is a major marketing point for private institutions, and preparatory schools within foreign language departments are expected to do the job that high schools were unable to do.

The scenario outlined above has produced a gap between expectation and reality, with the following components contributing to a widening chasm.

  • It is almost impossible to bring students from elementary level to a point at which they can function academically in English in the space of a year, however intensive the programme may be. Research shows that it takes 5 – 7 years in a quality bilingual programme to achieve this, and that intensive learning may even be detrimental if language acquisition is the underlying philosphy.
  • Language instructors are not aware of the subject specific language which students will be expected to know, nor perhaps of the surrounding academic language, or the tasks that students will be asked to perform using that language. Preparatory programmes tend to consist of general English plus ESP, where ESP is defined as academic reading and writing without a specific subject focus.
  • Faculty lecturers (subject teachers) are not aware of the task facing language teachers, nor of the adjustments they need to make in order to compensate for the low standards of language competence they are likely to face. Rather than confront the issue, the common tactics are to carry on regardless, teach in the mother tongue, and to blame the language teachers.
  • There is a lack of interdisciplinary communication.

This is where Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) may play a role, providing that the institution acknowledges the problem. CLIL has emerged as an umbrella term covering both learning a language through a content-based subject and learning a content-based subject through the medium of a foreign language. Whichever angle one comes from, interdisciplinary co-operation, awareness-raising and training are prerequisites.

At Izmir University of Economics, the Teacher Development Unit has taken on the task of providing subject teachers with the tools necessary to provide ongoing language support to students unable to gain maximum benefit from studying in the English medium. This ‘toolkit’ has four components:

1 How to deal with vocabulary and lexis. This involves raising awareness of the subject specific and academic vocabulary that students need and of existing tools such as the Academic Word List which can assist in developing that knowledge. The lexical approach is also shown to be a way of drawing learners’ attention to the set phrases, expressions and collocations which they need to function efficiently.

2 How to make lectures and presentations more interactive. Here, ELT training methodology is used to demonstrate how different styles of lecture can give students the opportunity to assimilate and comprehend a large body of information.

3 Teacher and learner classroom language. Techniques for creating a learning environment which is as close to ‘immersion’ as is feasible, and ways of selecting and grading language by the teacher to make comprehension easier for the learners.

4 Dealing with texts. Reading remains the major learning and research skill in most subjects. Subject teachers are made aware of the ways in which language teachers deal with reading texts, the stages and tasks involved, and how this approach may be applied to their own subject matter.

It is the last of these which is described in detail here. The training session involved a group of instructors from the faculty of fashion and design. The participants had already been made aware of the different types of lexis in a text, and had been introduced to the Academic Word List in a previous session. The procedure was as follows:

Stage 1. Lead in through three pictures.

Brainstorm words and phrases – sixties, pop-art, geometric, colours, mini, pop groups. Tell participants that they are going to read about some or all of these things.

Stage 2. Distribute text and picture matching task. Participants find names, words or phrases in the text to match the pictures, compare findings in pairs or groups. (see Appendix 1)

Stage 3. Focus on the first paragraph of the text. Elicit examples of subject-specific vocabulary, academic words and other useful lexis. Note that there may be some overlap between categories.

The miniskirt is a skirt whose hemline is high above the knees (generally 200–300 mm above knee-level). Its existence is generally credited to the fashion designer Mary Quant, who was inspired by the Mini Cooper automobile, although André Courrèges is also often cited as its inventor, and there is disagreement as to who invented it first. Some credit the Miniskirt to Helen Rose who made some miniskirts for actress Anne Francis in the 1956 Sci Fi movie, Forbidden Planet.

Stage 4. Participants work in groups to find similar examples from the remainder of the text (one paragraph per group), recombine to share their findings. (see Appendix 2) Show participants a highlighted version of the text showing the academic words. Compare with their own lists. (see Appendix 3)

The text contains examples of subject specific vocabulary, academic words and other useful language such as collocations and set phrases. Find more examples of these:

Subject specific vocabulary

Academic words

Other language

miniskirt

hemline

knee-level

fashion designer

Sci Fi

credited

designer

cited

inspired

invented

above the knee(s)

credited to

inspired by

cited as

disagreement as to

Stage 5. Introduce classic pre/while/post model for a reading lesson. Participants reflect on tasks so far in light of the model and identify task-types and purposes from the following chart:Stage 6. Look at language. Remind participants about collocations and fixed/semi-fixed expressions as lexical items. Reintroduce the Academic Word List and show how the Nottingham University AWL site can produce a gap-fill exercise for consolidation purposes. (see Appendix 4)

Pre-reading

While-reading

Post-reading

Purposes

Purposes

Purposes

Provide purpose

Stimulate interest

Activate prior knowledge

Add background knowledge

Provide reason for reading Develop reading strategies and skills

Improve control of second language

Integrate with other skills Check comprehension

Deeper analysis of text

Transferring skills to other texts

Tasks

Tasks

Tasks

Discuss author

Discuss text type

Brainstorm topic

Consider illustrations

Consider titles, headings

Listing expectations

Skimming for gist

Scanning for facts

Meaning from context

Meaning from word structure

Dictionary work

Finding key lexis

Predicting content

Confirming predictions

Reading for specific information

Analyzing reference words

‘Read and do’ tasks

True/False type questions

Note taking

Discussion

Debate

Role play

Parallel writing

Presentation

Research project

Listen to a lecture

Stage 6. Look at language. Remind participants about collocations and fixed/semi-fixed expressions as lexical items. Reintroduce the Academic Word List and show how the Nottingham University AWL site can produce a gap-fill exercise for consolidation purposes. (see Appendix 4)

Stage 7. Ask what students will do with with this new lexis. Remind participants of ways of storing vocabulary meaningfully based on the following underlying principles:

  • Organised material is easier to learn.
  • New words are more easily learned when is incorporated into language that is already known.
  • Word pairs can be used to learn a great number of words in a short time.
  • Knowing a word entails much more than knowing its meaning.
  • The words and phrases must be retrievable.
  • Students have different learning styles.

Give examples of an organised vocabulary notebook page and a personalised thematic vocabulary network. (see Appendix 5 and 6)

Stage 8. Summarise. Focus on follow-up activities – a project on a similar fashion item, a different fashion era, parallel writing, a talk. Remind participants of their role in providing language support for students, given the right tools.

Stage 9. Remind participants that texts taken from the Web often contain internal links to further information and related subjects as well as pictures, suggestions for further reading and external links. Students might be encouraged to broaden their knowledge by way of a Web-based research project. (see Appendix 7 - Interactive Text)

Appendix 1. Match pictures to lexis in the text.

Find names/words/phrases in the text to go with the pictures

www.sixtiescity.com http://images.google.com/

Appendix 2. Complete Text and Appendix 7. Interactive Text

The miniskirt is a skirt with a hemline well above the knees (generally 20cm or more above knee level). Its existence is generally credited to the fashion designer Mary Quant, who was inspired by the Mini Cooper automobile, although the French designer André Courrèges is also often cited as its inventor, and there is disagreement on who invented it first. Some credit the Miniskirt to Helen Rose who made some miniskirts for actress Anne Francis in the 1956 Sci Fi movie, Forbidden Planet. [1]

Recently, Marit Allen, a Vogue "Young Ideas" editor at the time, has stated that "John Bates, in particular, has always been completely unappreciated for his contribution to the innovation and creativity he brought to the London design scene." He bared the midriff, used transparent vinyl and, Marit Allen asserts, was responsible for "the raising of the hemline. It was John Bates, rather than Mary Quant or Courrèges, who was responsible for the miniskirt." Bates' costumes and accessories for Diana Rigg in The Avengers define "Mod style." [2].

Mary Quant ran a popular clothes shop on Chelsea, London's Kings Road called Bazaar, from which she sold her own designs. In the late 1950s she began experimenting with shorter skirts, which resulted in the miniskirt in 1965 - one of the defining fashions of the decade.

Owing to Quant's position in the heart of fashionable "Swinging London", the miniskirt was able to spread beyond a simple street fashion into a major international trend.

The miniskirt was further popularised by André Courrèges, who developed it separately and incorporated it into his Mod look, for spring/summer 1965. His miniskirts were less body-hugging, worn with the white "Courrèges boots" that became a trademark. By introducing the miniskirt into the haute couture of the fashion industry, Courrèges gave it a greater degree of respectability than might otherwise have been expected of a street fashion.

The miniskirt was followed up in the mid-1960s by the even shorter micro skirt, which covers not much more than the intimate parts with the underpants. It has often been derogatorily referred to as a belt. Subsequently, the fashion industry largely returned to longer skirts such as the midi and the maxi. However, miniskirts remain popular. Miniskirts are also seen worn over trousers or jeans, or with strap-on trouser "leggings" that provide coverage of each leg from above the knee.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miniskirt

Appendix 3. Highlighted Text

The miniskirt is a skirt whose hemline is high above the knees (generally 200 - 300 mm above knee-level). Its existence is generally credited to the fashion designer Mary Quant, who was inspired by the Mini Cooper automobile, although André Courrèges is also often cited as its inventor, and there is disagreement as to who invented it first. Some credit the Miniskirt to Helen Rose who made some miniskirts for actress Anne Francis in the 1956 Sci Fi movie, Forbidden Planet.

Recently, Marit Allen, a Vogue "Young Ideas" editor at the time, has stated John Bates, in particular, has always been completely unappreciated for his contribution to the innovation and creativity he brought to the London design scene." He bared the midriff, used transparent vinyl and, Marit Allen asserts, was responsible for "the raising of the hemline. It was John Bates, rather than Mary Quant or Courrèges, who was responsible for the miniskirt." Bates' costumes and accessories for Diana Rigg in "The Avengers" define "Mod style."

Mary Quant ran a popular clothes shop on Chelsea, London's Kings Road called Bazaar, from which she sold her own designs. In the late 1950s she began experimenting with shorter skirts, which resulted in the miniskirt in 1965 - one of the defining fashions of the decade.

Owing to Quant's position in the heart of fashionable "Swinging London", the miniskirt was able to spread beyond a simple street fashion into a major international trend.

The miniskirt was further popularised by the French designer André Courrèges, who developed it separately and incorporated it into his Mod look, for spring/summer 1965. His miniskirts were less body-hugging, worn with the white "Courrèges boots" that became a trademark. By introducing the miniskirt into the haute couture of the fashion industry, Courrèges gave it a greater degree of respectability than might otherwise have been expected of a street fashion.

In the United Kingdom, the increasing interest in the miniskirt in the 1960s necessitated a change in the way skirts were taxed. Previously, skirts were taxed by length, with the miniskirt qualifying as tax-exempt by effectively being a child's length.

The miniskirt was followed up in the mid-1960s by the even shorter micro skirt, which covers not much more than the intimate parts with the underpants. It has often been derogatorily referred to as a belt. Subsequently, the fashion industry largely returned to longer skirts such as the midi and the maxi. However, miniskirts remain popular. Miniskirts are also seen worn over trousers or jeans, or with strap-on trouser "leggings" that provide coverage of each leg from above the knee.

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~alzsh3/acvocab/awlhighlighter.htm

Appendix 4. Gap-Fill Text

The miniskirt is a skirt whose hemline is high above the knees (generally 200-300 mm above knee-level). Its existence is generally to the fashion Mary Quant, who was inspired by the Mini Cooper automobile, although André Courrèges is also often as its inventor, and there is disagreement as to who invented it first. Some credit the Miniskirt to Helen Rose who made some miniskirts for actress Anne Francis in the 1956 Sci Fi movie, Forbidden Planet.

Recently, Marit Allen, a Vogue "Young Ideas" at the time, has stated John Bates, in particular, has always been completely for his to the and he brought to the London scene." He bared the midriff, used transparent vinyl and, Marit Allen asserts, was responsible for "the raising of the hemline. It was John Bates, rather than Mary Quant or Courrèges, who was responsible for the miniskirt." Bates' costumes and accessories for Diana Rigg in "The Avengers" "Mod ."

Mary Quant ran a popular clothes shop on Chelsea, London's Kings Road called Bazaar, from which she sold her own . In the late 1950s she began experimenting with shorter skirts, which resulted in the miniskirt in 1965 - one of the fashions of the .

Owing to Quant's position in the heart of fashionable "Swinging London", the miniskirt was able to spread beyond a simple street fashion into a international .

The miniskirt was further popularised by the French André Courrèges, who developed it separately and it into his Mod look, for spring/summer 1965. His miniskirts were less body-hugging, worn with the white "Courrèges boots" that became a trademark. By introducing the miniskirt into the haute couture of the fashion industry, Courrèges gave it a greater degree of respectability than might otherwise have been expected of a street fashion.

In the United Kingdom, the increasing interest in the miniskirt in the 1960s necessitated a change in the way skirts were taxed. , skirts were taxed by length, with the miniskirt qualifying as tax-exempt by effectively being a child's length.

The miniskirt was followed up in the mid-1960s by the even shorter micro skirt, which covers not much more than the intimate parts with the underpants. It has often been derogatorily referred to as a belt. , the fashion industry largely returned to longer skirts such as the midi and the maxi. However, miniskirts remain popular. Miniskirts are also seen worn over trousers or jeans, or with strap-on trouser "leggings" that provide coverage of each leg from above the knee.

The following words will fill the gaps:

cited

contribution

creativity

credited

decade

defining

designer

designer

designs

editor

incorporated

previously

revealing

style

subsequently

trend

unappreciated


design

define

innovation

major



http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~alzsh3/acvocab/awlgapmaker.htm

Appendix 5. Vocabulary Notebook Page


word

part of

speech

other forms

meaning

my notes (sentences, collocations, phrases etc.)

1

necessitate

v

(un)necessary

necessity (n)

to make necessary

-ate

the miniskirt in the 1960s necessitated a change in the way skirts were taxed

2

popularise

v

(un)popular

popularity (n)

to make popular

-ise

The miniskirt was popularised by the French designer André Courrèges

3

innovation

n

innovate

-or

new idea


4

the scene

n (sing)


the way of life in a particular area of activity

the London design scene

the fashion scene

the political scene in Turkey

5

credit to

v


to say sb has done sth well

The miniskirt is generally credited to Mary Quant

6

contribution

v




7

trend

n



a major international trend

8

creativity

n




9

revealing

adj




10

define

v




11

incorporated

adj


included


12

subsequently

adv



opp. peviously

Copy the information into your vocabulary notebook.
Add more information and examples of your own.

Appendix 6. Personalised Vocabulary Network

Information on CLIL in the classroom

British Council/BBC - http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/
transform/teachers/specialist-areas/clil

Comenius Project TL2L - http://www.tl2l.nl/
European Centre for Modern Languages - www.ecml.at
Forum for Across the Curriculum Teaching - http://www.factworld.info/
Getting Started in CLIL (PowerPoint) - www.factworld.info/clil.ppt
Norwich Institute for Language Education - www.nile-elt.com
Science Across the Curriculum - www.scienceacross.org
Tips and Materials - www.onestopenglish.com/business/bank/clil/index.htm

Two short radio programmes are available from the BBC:
www.teachingenglish.org.uk/download/radio/innovations

first published 10 April 2006                                                                                          http://www.factworld.info/turkey/miniskirt/index.htm

revised and reprinted as 'A Short Course on the Miniskirt: Providing a Language Toolkit for University Instructors in Turkey' in Integrating Language and Content, J. Nordemeyer & S. Barduhn (eds), TESOL Classroom Practice Series, 2010