The integration between the content and the language requires in a purely disciplinary manner that the teaching and learning methods are aimed at a linguistic acquisition, which is particularly necessary for the professional knowledge in that phase. In other words, what defines language learning in a classical way of teaching a foreign language needs to be further strengthened in some aspects necessary for disciplinary competence.
We can give as an example the lexical work that must be oriented towards the direction that is necessary for the academic discourse, ie content and ideas that the student must be able to express in a foreign language; linguistic work understood as something more complex than simple vocabulary learning, which is more an expressive, discursive type of work. In the latter case, more emphasis is placed on the vehicle’s vehicle and instrumental capacity, rather than on its formal correctness, which, however, must not be completely neglected.
All this, however, would not be possible without the presence of the basic element of metacognition.
What is meant by metacognition and what role does it play in the CLIL method?
This term is used to denote a term defined by J. Flavell and A. Brown during the 1970s in connection with their studies of children’s meta-memory, that is, their knowledge of and control over their own mental processes. In general, it is possible to establish that metacognition is both knowledge of the task to be performed and of the strategies that are useful to deal with it effectively, and the management of the cognitive process as a whole, including the phases of organization. and the choice of methods of carrying it out, as well as the self-evaluation of one’s work and the application of corrective measures where necessary.
Metacognition thus becomes a skill that is acquired gradually over the course of life and is mutually linked to learning: research on this topic conducted over the last thirty years has shown in an increasingly specific way that where students are aware of their cognitive processes and being able to structure and guide them, learning is particularly effective. It is therefore not complex to understand how fundamentally important it is, in the implementation of CLIL teaching, to ensure that students are able to realize the importance of instrumental language use in the mature achievement of the non- linguistic subjects.
Why is it important to create a student-centered learning environment to promote autonomous and conscious growth?
CLIL, understood as an integrated approach to the discipline and the foreign language, encourages and requires the use of cross-cutting strategies that are particularly useful for the learner’s general maturation. It is about implementing metacognition strategies to support an autonomous and conscious student. The student can be supported in the achievement of his independence by making explicit and clarifying the learning of content and language, defining the skills that characterize the discipline and in this way favoring a useful condition for building a bridge between concepts and knowledge in students. and their language level. CLIL should therefore be a supporter of removing the distance between what the student wants to express and what he is actually able to express.
On the didactic side, this remark addresses, albeit indirectly, the question of error handling: the ability to express concepts and ideas is assessed in a first phase and only in a second phase the linguistic form. It is true that CLIL also provides for the improvement of language skills, a goal for which it is important that the teacher takes care of the formal correctness of students’ productions, even discreetly based on their mistakes, but does not focus their attention so much, or not only on violation of grammatical rules but on the errors that make the transmission of the message complex.
What role does the centrality of the subject taught in a foreign language play in the CLIL method?
It is a consequence that in CLIL teaching, the centrality of the subject taught in a foreign language must never be overshadowed; one should never synthesize or simplify the content for the benefit of the language, nor should one fall into the error of an excessive simplification of the concepts of the subject itself. The learner must express himself correctly and appropriately about conceptually challenging issues; he must be able to appeal to a wide range of strategies which, when necessary, support him in expressing and contextualising knowledge acquired in different contexts.
CLIL, which places more emphasis on communication than exercise, therefore becomes an interactive teaching experience: a teaching methodology that, instead of perceiving students as receptors only, tends to make them an active part as much as possible by stimulating them. research processes, assumption and solution of problems, which in addition to determining more solid and lasting results improve student autonomy. All of this inevitably has a positive impact on learning as it stimulates the student’s desire to learn.
What are the benefits of using the CLIL method over traditional teaching?
The clear advantage of CLIL is revealed precisely in its contribution to the rejuvenation of traditional teaching, based on knowledge transfer, where the teacher exposes content and concepts, produces demonstrations, performs experiments, based on a logical development that is obvious to him, but it is not equally clear to students who do not possess the same disciplinary competence as the teacher. In this situation, the student is called to listen, understand, practice, and reproduce what has been delivered, with the sole role of passive recipient of concepts elaborated by another figure. Otherwise, a learning becomes significant and consequently takes place in the learner’s mind if it is acquired in an active and subjective way, if it produces new interest and stimuli.