Implementing Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) approach to TOEIC Preparatory Lessons
Keywords: CLIL, CLIL in Japan, learner motivation, TOEIC vocabulary acquisition, ZPD, cooperative learning, translanguaging, mutual scaffolding, interdisciplinarity
Takashi Uemura is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Engineering at Yamaguchi University. He is currently pursuing an MA in TEFL/TESL at the University of Birmingham. He taught English conversation at the major English conversation school in Japan for 6 years. Before teaching, he worked as an auditor at an international audit firm and also in finance and banking field for approximately 10 years.
Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) has been recognized in the Japanese EFL context since 2011 (Hemmi, 2011). However, the educational as well as the social role of CLIL will be immense in Japan considering the recent low birth rate and increasing number of overseas students at many universities in Japan. It is highly likely that the common classroom language will become English in the near future. One of the strengths of CLIL is its flexibility to adapt various approaches to accomplish a learner’s goals. This paper explores a TOEIC vocabulary series of seminars applying the CLIL approach at a major English conversation school in Japan. In these seminars, the teacher plays a role as not only a language teacher but also a content teacher by making the most of his former experience as an auditor at an international accountancy firm. This paper also examines the strengths and weaknesses of CLIL to discuss the results of the TOEIC vocabulary series of seminars. The former includes, first, activating the zone of proximal development (ZPD) and scaffolding through cooperative learning and, second, pedagogical flexibility to incorporate translanguaging, a strategic use of both L1 and L2 for effective L2 acquisition. The latter contains the required lexical threshold level for effective learning and interdisciplinary issues. The seminars contributed to enhanced learning motivation, mutual scaffolding using translanguaging among learners, and immediate learning of content-obligatory language. However, due to the short duration of the series of seminars, analyses from a longer-term perspective will be necessary. To this end, I put forward reflections on the TOEIC series of seminars towards an ideal situation－a more extended and structured 6 month course.
See page: 305-323