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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: The Importance of Teaching Content to Young Learners

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it has extensive experience of both

teaching and training subject content in

British and European primary young

learner contexts she's authored books

online courses and written articles for

journals on content and language

integrated learning or clil so over to

UK hello

welcome from me to today's webinar the

importance of teaching content to young

learners I'm delighted to be leading

this webinar and look forward to

answering your questions about the

teaching of content at the end of it

thank you for the polls it's great to

see so many of you from different

contexts and also we have people from

all parts of the world thank you I'm

going to start with an overview of the

webinar there are three questions I'll

address they are when was content

noticed in young learner English

language teaching what do we mean by

content how can teachers motivate pupils

to learn about content I'll summarize by

addressing the question so why is it

important to teach content to young

learners as you can see from this slide

teaching content isn't a new approach

it's an approach which has been

gathering momentum for some time in 1991

look what was written in a yachty book

content should be paramount in

determining language to be taught if

children want to learn how to mean in

English in 1994 the term clue content

and language integrated learning was

first used it's important to note that

content is first

in the turn in 1996 a completely new set

of language books is published for young

learners aged from between about 10 to

15 and on the book cover content is an

important element content and concepts

which reflect students own lives

interests and studies many schools still

use these books today and reprinted form

in 1999 cores foresees framework of

krill was used as a planning tool again

content came first followed by

communication cognition and culture all

of these four seas are key elements of

integrated content and language learning

by 2006 content and language teaching

schools was making policymakers take

note in a survey of content and language

teaching carried out in schools across

Europe it was stated that with clear

laws of unusual interests by 2007 wide

range of research had been published

about content and language teaching in

primary and secondary school contexts

not only in Europe where a quilt started

but also in Latin America and Asia as

well in 2009 books written by content

and language primary teachers in

countries such as Spain Italy Austria

were published an example is clear

across educational levels and teachers

in Spain also by this time the LT

publishers were taking note that content

and language learning was no longer a

trend it was a reality one learner

course books such as English ladder in

2012 there were promoted content

learning on their covers a cool feature

in every unit focusing on Quora subjects

such as science and maths and then

2014 the British Council recognized that

a new strategy for content and language

learning in Europe was needed the first

step towards successful schooling is

equipping learners with a language for

thinking about the content in response

to the study evolution of content and

language teaching in primary schools

lower content input is appearing in the

majority of new primary ELT course books

having look briefly at the evolution of

content teaching I'm now going to

address the second content there

question what do we mean by content

first of all

your idea by finishing the sentence what

content is in the chat box so if you

start with content is could you complete

that sentence you don't make it too long

because of time thank you

ideas coming in here yeah different

subjects text pictures mmm cultural

subjects it's an interesting one oh yeah

thank you wait look cool some more here

yeah concerning subjects information

about subject matter cross curricular

lessons interesting subject alright so

yes thank you loss did you have the

writer do about what we mean by content

I'm going to move on now but I'm going

to read all of these again later thank

you so yes content is a subject specific

language needed to think about it and

communicate ideas about concepts from

school subjects for examples subjects

such as science and art look at what's

happening in these for content and

language class classrooms in Europe in

the top two photographs you can see

Austrian pupils learning about science

content on the left the topic is how at

spring flowers grow and on the right the

topic is edible plant parts you can see

the children they're very involved in

examining plants in the two photos below

the subject is art and there these are

Catalan pupils on the Left they're

learning about core traits being made

through the use of fruit and vegetables

and on the right boys exploring shapes

to make a spider's web this topic

therefore combines learning about art

and maths possibly some science too in

addition to content from subjects such

as art and science contents can be from

any school subject whether it's

geography history maths music physical

education of many

you have pointed out here in your

comments and here you can see examples

of content from a range of primary alt

books when we teach content it's

important that we know what is a

corporate content for different age


it therefore helps when we know the

subject topics for the first language

school curriculum and now we can see

what's appropriate for different ages

and stages but we also need to examine

the language needed to learn about new

subject content in English let's look at

how we can do this what we need to

understand is that there is a close

relationship between content and

language and learning outcomes in my

opinion show this relationship here we

have an example from the subject of

geography look at the three learning

outcomes to be able to identify and

describe types of settlements near a

city of town and a village so pupils

first identify them then they need to be

able to describe them such as this is a

big city it's got very tall buildings

and many people work here there are many

types of transport secondly these are

learning outcomes pupils need to be able

to compare types of settlements

therefore they need to communicate facts

about settlements using comparative

forms times are bigger than villages but

there are smaller than cities there are

many people houses and shops they don't

have big airports thirdly the learning

outcome shows that peoples need to know

how to use an identification key

identification keys usually have a

choice of photographs for them to select

from but in order to use the key peoples

ask questions about settlements so they

need question starters such as is it as

it got are their name and pupils

more confident and they're encouraged to

be more accurate so when we know the

learning outcomes we can see that the

content and language are completely

integrated I've addressed that first two


when was content noticed in the young

learner English language teaching and

what do they mean by content and now

we'll explore the third question how can

teachers motivate pupils to learn about

subject content in order to do this I

look at three stages in the content and

language lesson introducing new subject

content presenting new content for

Cadbury and concepts exploring and

thinking about new subject content so

now we'll find out how teachers can

motivate pupils during these stages by

looking at an example of teaching

content in primary contexts first to

introduce your subject content it's

important to activate pupils prior

knowledge of their topic in this example

new content is presented with a

captivating photograph and a question

about the concept question being where

is food from I'm looking at the

photograph this encourages pupils to say

words and that they have already learned

in previous lessons Sydney these words

could be milk eyes ears nose mouth likes

green blue smell here touch perhaps

pupils will also see words such as farms

or cars in their first language teachers

can then translate these responses but

photographs such as these also stimulate

pupils curiosity and lead them to ask

questions such as what's this where is

it is it a big animal secondly

to present new content a category and

concepts we can motivate pupils by using

photographs of real objects such as

those of plants and animals photographs

help pupils to understand the world

outside the classroom in this activity

pupils classify the source of food by

saying plant or animal but how can this

vocabulary really come alive the answer

is to be able to provide stimulating

video footage of the new content

vocabulary in context

so let's now watch this short video

which supports learners understanding

and processing of new content vocabulary

and a new concept as you watch think

what you like about it

Allister thank you can you play it

where is food from

let's fight

and out

well I hope you enjoy the video I'm now

going to look at the next slide I just

give you a bit of time to keep thinking

about what you like and you're so very

positive ideas here so let's look at

this and what do you like about the

content in the video if you could put a

tick beside three of these pictures

choosing from A to F the three features

that you like about the video three

ticks great this is very interesting the

range of plants and animals you need for

contexts you like the way it's presented

the idea

you've got meals from around the world

right so currently unless the statistics


there are three features which most

people like are the new language in the

meaningful context the range of real

plants and animals and the way the

presenter delivered the content that's

great because that shows us that this

idea of the world outside the classroom

is important but also the meaning of a

new concept for perhaps young learners

is not overwhelming it's being shown so

they understand it

and I think with the presenting yes the

use of a swipe for the speed of delivery

and the friendly presenter also helped

under learners enjoy this I'd like to

point out also see the food being

prepared as well as growing that's very

important in the science concept of

food from the farm to the plate so

that's possibly for subject teachers

like the important point to thank you


all right so the features of video that

we also think are important the dynamic

audio-visual support to hear and see new

content vocabulary in context without

being overwhelmed which is what you

liked a clear explanation of a concept

with age-appropriate examples to show us

simple process the science concept food

source food preparation plate the range

of plants foods and meals from different

countries so there's a focus on culture

I noticed someone said the Towser are

different in different countries we

agree but we tried as best as possible

to have a wide range of different

countries represented here also for me

the names of some additional plants such

as cucumber and red peppers are

introduced so that more able owners to

learn more vocabulary the sort of

inbuilt differentiation here don't have

to just stick to the the list that in a

beginners ylist thank you so we've seen

how we can motivate pupils when

introducing new content and when

presenting it let's now look at the

Third Point ways of motivating pupils as

they explore and think about new subject

content designing interactive activities

motivates most users and also develops

critical and creative thinking as well

here you can see two follow-up

activities after the video the activity

on the Left number three develops pupils

lower order thinking such as remembering

and understanding pupils identify and

classify the sources of food which are

now shown in a different state from the

photo as an activity one food here is

either ready for eating the peel banana

or has been prepared to eating by

heating and

some way such as the barbecued chicken

and boiled egg pupils at this level

level one or therefore helped to

conceptualize and apply their knowledge

of basic food in order to identify which

is from a plant which is from an animal

in other words starting to develop

critical thinking skills the project on

the right activity for develops pupils

creative thinking if pupils are unsure

of their sources of food and drink which

they draw on their own posters teachers

can ask the rest of the class of their

own or if no one knows the word in

English teachers control and say the

name of the food and its source

if pupils draw manufactured food for

example tomato sauce or perhaps some

butter ask pupils if tomato sauce or

butter from a plant in an animal concept

checking the questions such as these

develops reasoning skills because P cute

there are pupils are could require to

think of fruit vegetables and animal

products could be changed to make food

such as sources after finishing the

poster learners can be put into pairs to

comment on each other's work using

language previously learned for example

I like your food from plants what's this

plant what animal is your food from

commenting on one another's work from

early stages encourages the early

development of evaluating skills clearly

it's important that pupils progress

their thinking skills or they won't be

motivated to learn look at these

questions that follow learning about new

subject content there are four pupils

and higher levels of primary the

questions here develop higher order

cognitive processes this is because the

questions involve some analysis

differentiating between content

vocabulary and then making decisions so

learners need

city which feature in art which place in

geography which means of communication

and science or which measurement in

maths is relevant for the responses and

you can see how the cognitive processes

involved in a decision-making part most

eight to nine year olds are less

demanding and there was needed for 10 to

12 year olds these type of questions

therefore do more and personalized

learning and encourage pair or group

work because they develop thinking

skills - well we've seen some subjects

and topics already in this webinar we've

seen the science and the food topic but

what we'd like to know is what are those

subject topics do your pupils like

finding out about in your lessons right

one subject and the topic that your

learners like to learn about okay good

sports astronomy nature

wow it's on a wildlife music yeah

dinosaurs okay really good range here

alright thank you

football still coming in okay so let's

look at what I find out some I'm

teaching in Europe

what they like science animals planets

art patterns and shadows geography maps

and volcanoes history castles fossils

music instruments and sound and as many

people have said up or on the on the

chatbox physical education sport Sport

sport so we can explore and think about

content also by making cross-curricular

links we saw earlier in the webinar that

by making the web and I explained that

it was a combination of art maths and

some science but also we can look at art

example landscape paintings with the

vocabulary river a mountain see Link it

to geography the physical landscape its

coasts mountains deserts link that to

history looking at food settlements word

where are they often placed near rivers

or in valleys and then link that to

perhaps sources of water where we find

water wells Springs rivers and seas so

by making links between subject content

we help pupils understand how connected

our world is subjects cannot be learned

in isolation very linked however we can

also encourage learners to explore and

think about content by giving them short

text to read especially at upper primary

levels here are two extracts from texts

for older pupils the first extract on

the right is from geography it's an

explanation of how a volcano erupts the

second extract on them on the right is

from history but if we look at the first

extract on the left from geography

teachers can help learners notice

language commonly used in these inlets

the topic of sort of geography so for

example time adverbs such as before when

and after are highlighted in red italics

present tense verbs are highlighted in

blue to show that a process goes on and

on in the description of life in the

past on the left on sorry on the right

teachers can help learners to notice

language such as past verbs and blues

and useful phrases and prepositions and

read italics such as in the past are

away and inside

by helping pupils to notice language use

in different school subjects and this

enables pupils to be more confident when

they're writing their own explanations

or descriptions not only in geography

and history but also in other subjects

such as science for art medal text from

different subjects therefore help

pupils developed subject literacy our

fourth question for you is that there's

so an example of an explanation from

geography and a description from history

so what other types of nonfiction texts

do your young learners read and perhaps

write when learning about school

subjects so tick in the poll in the

example that your pupils have read or

written or add another example in the

text box which they're familiar with

alright so memory I've tried

instructional texts for example the

healthy sandwich okay recounts telling

what happened in the past

well what they've done in experiment

descriptions yeah all right of example

of a habitat and fewer with a persuasive

text that's more demanding possibly for

the higher levels and primary all right

okay so

were these what I'd like to say is it

one important difference between ELT

lessons and content and language lessons

is that subject content usually involves

reading and/or writing nonfiction texts

ELT tends to have more examples of poems

songs cartoon strips and story however

this is not to say that learners in

content teaching and primary don't read

short poems or cartoons related to the

content topic they do and they love them

alright let's now look at my final point

related to exploring and thinking about

content my final point and I think it's

an important one is that for many

teachers and pupils who enjoy working

with content it's hard to find materials

that develop pupils subject knowledge in

English across all levels of primary

school young learners were keen to find

out about a subject topic as such as

animals as many of you wrote it is

presented in one level of an English

language course they find out that the

subject content isn't explored in the

next level or subsequent levels of the

course so if we look at these three

tables examples of developing and

linking subject content across different

subjects and levels are color coded if

you look at the science topics in red

and these are the popular animal topics

you can see that a link develops you are

so that pupils language of animals is

developed from beginner to higher levels

animal movements and needs in its

earlier stages nocturnal animals and

animal groups in the middle stages could

order food chains and animal

communication at higher levels you can

also see the development of art content

and purple writing types of art

landscape painting shadows types of

geography in green for example places on

the grid types of settlement reading

maps and physical education in brown

sports equipment body movements

strength speed stamina balance notice

how linguistically challenging subject

contents such as found in history

perhaps in building materials from the

past and also in music topics in orange

for example sounds string instruments

make isn't presented until higher levels

I'm sure you can see other links that

were planned for content teaching across

all levels I'm going to finish the

webinar with two more short video clips

from popular primary subject topics that

develop content learning you watched the

first video where as food from which is

a beginner level did you earlier

now you'll see video to which animals

are nocturnal this is for level 3

working towards rulers level and then

you'll see a third video with the

introduction only to what is an

underwater food chain this is aimed at

higher levels of primary while you're

watching think of a way that content

learning develops from the first level

to the second and to the third all right


thank you

today we are


animals are nocturnal thank you and the

earth clip what isn't it underwater food

chain this is only the introduction

today we're asking

let's find out

thank you we'll just wait a few moments

till everyone has seen the video and

keep thinking how you think content

learning has developed in the first

video you saw plants and animals to the

nocturnal animals to the underwater food

chain koalas you would like to write one

idea in the chatbox we'd be grateful

all right I'm going to move on and show

you in a table

how yes all right through objects as

people are taking our simple more

complex things and also more complex

language somebody wrote thank you all

right so let's look at this we can see

from the table that I've divided this

into three parts the subject content our

concept first so content learning

develops from what children can see and

have knowledge of in their first

language for example plants and animals

so learning about a science concept that

they can't see and underwater food chain

and without enrich without clear video

footage can be hard to understand even

in first language so the subject concept

is developed secondly thinking skills

the content learning develops linking

skills from identify and classify the

beginnings mentor interpreting animals

that sleep during the day or at night

and then analyzing parts of a food chain

thirdly language I've divided language

development for learning about new

content into word sentence and text

levels word level content vocabulary has

started starter level the beginning

for example animal eggs by mid primary

after is use but also other nocturnal

animals such as koala and fox are not in

the vocabulary at this level like upper

primary the food chain pupils headstart

and eat which will be familiar to them

but the new nouns such as

producer-consumer belong to more

academic vocabulary of school subjects

in this case science however with rich

visual comprehensible input most

children will understand the new content

concepts presented in English so

level language develops from one clause

sentences it is wrong

eggs of mumble to eat to 1 and 2 Clause

sentences with the nocturnal animals and

then into more complex sentences

involving when and how and sequencing

adverbs koalas text level your you heard

a simple explanation of where plants and

pepper of food is from a slightly more

lengthy explanation of nocturnal animals

and then interent the explanation of a

four step process for silence water food

through the planning was across the

whole range of books

it wasn't limited to one level so how

can teachers help pupils to learn about

new subject content we've we've looked

during this webinar at ways in which

teachers can help police understand

process and communicate ideas about

subject content teachers can introduce

new content by activating learners prior

knowledge of the subject as with a card

picture they can present new content by

providing a language rich multimodal

experience such as the the activity as

you saw in the video but they can

explore new content by designing

interactive it interactive activities

have encouraged pupils to develop

critical and creative thinking skills

also through projects they make cross

curricular links and by building

people's subjective kiss a morning with

the text is now on course you saw from

geography and history at higher levels

and the final point you solvers the

developing of content knowledge not just

language knowledge but content knowledge

throughout a course so at night like now

to sum up the webinar aren't you

different things why is it important to

teach content to young learners for me


motivates and arouses curiosity eat each

people's want to explore change music

their ideas about age appropriate

subject topics which they enjoy content

introduces language for thinking lion

pups like peasant content developed

subject and language competence content

develops cultural awareness it develops

critical and creative thinking skills

subject literacy provides a

cross-curricular and multimodal

experience and above all is fun so thank

you for listening and responding during

the webinar I'm now happy to answer any

questions you may have for me see thank

you very much kay and thank you everyone

who's been put sending in questions

don't forget of course there's still

time for you to send in a few more

questions the first question we've got

Kay's from Joanna and Ronnie ku who says

what do you think about the the idea

that within the classroom the teacher

should only speak I'm sorry do you think

that in in the classroom the teacher

should only speak English or is speaking

the mother tongue of the learner okay as

well well that's quite a controversial

question unlike an ELT the some

judicious use of the first language it's

acceptable in the sea lions some

situations I don't think it's acceptable

for the teacher to to change into l1

unless it's a very very good reason and

some good reason maybe for me comparing

new content language so for example when

I was teaching in the Netherlands we had

bread around the world

we compared the word bread in English

with bread and Dutch and with bread and

the other there was languages that other

students who were in the classroom so

they they liked to hear is the word the

same is it spelt the same or is it

not in that context I think that's

that's okay but I don't think it's a

good idea to use instruction knowledge

at all okay thanks

question from Isabella s key know whose

asks about like that these videos about

students receiving language but how do

we then move from that to the students

producing language good question is

about all right what we didn't show you

apart from the the two activities you

saw the one where they had to decide

which word level what the food was was

it from a plant or animal so it doesn't

sort of a single word level and there

were speech bubbles to help them do that

you saw the project but if they're

producing their posters and whether I

added in me ideas on getting feedback to

each other you liked about the

upholstery but clearly I didn't show any

activity is from a from an activity book

which any what most primary course books

supply activity books with ideas for

production of language so yes you saw

more input than production but it it is

all there in a course thanks oh that's


I'm question for Maurice and Lobato and

I'm often finds that parents want the

lessons to be very demanding for

learners so that's children can learn to

speak quickly which can be quite

stressful for young learners do you have

any suggestions on how to how to deal

with that and again in my own experience

when I was teaching math through English

in the Netherlands in primary parents we

had we decided meetings at the beginning

of the year

Blayne that there was a longer period of

perhaps silence or for children but by

the end of the year with the new

for input and opportunities to to talk

they produce language quite well and I

think it's something parents should know

him research that they can take one to

two years to adjourn to be competent

their basic English English but it can

take up to five using language contexts

to be more competent I think expressing

himself okay thanks a question now from

David house quite interesting well I

think if the students don't actually yet

know the vocabulary in their own

language for something but are still

interested and engaged in a topic do you

think it's too early to introduce that

Lexus in English David says that

happened to him in his class with

concepts of evaporation and condensation

in the water cycle yes well I think it's

fabulous we're introducing concepts

which they're interested in in English

there's so much more meaningful but

what's what's as I said to you was very

interesting very few teachers have a

class of children or a monitor and a

monolingual background so that words

such as evaporation condensation you can

also use that in the l1 but ask in other

languages what are those words if it's

you know them but it's it's just content

and language rich experience and I think

that that's a good use of of using

summer long not not if they don't

understand the concept but just as a

comparison of language okay thanks

had a couple of questions about

correcting students particularly during

and building speaking skills activities

how do you do this without yeah without

inhibiting them I don't see this is any

different from an ERT class there's this

context um because I don't think any

teacher wants to keep stopping children

ensure they're accurate and there are

times when we would like them to be

accurate which is why I give you the

example of question starters because

often that's quite difficult for

children so think of question starters

helps them to produce more accurate

language of business and confidence but

re casting once the child's finished

their contribution you recast it

correctly so that the whole class here's

asking on a childhood to say it I mean

there are many ways about correcting

that should all be positive but for me

not interrupting in mid-sentence okay

thanks question now from Anna Xavier who

asks and how you make assessment reflect

the integration of content and language

do to make sure they are assessing both

elements appropriately thank you Anna

again that's a very common question and

training courses if you remember the

slide early on about learning outcomes

and the learning outcome shows a content

and language how about the actual not

have to achieve

so it was comparing settlements they

need comparative forms in order to be

able to compare them so when I'm

assessing I'm talking about formative

assessment in the classroom some

children may only say town big city big

town small in which case I'd help them

tune it to make comparative assuming

that the entire comparative forms from

ELT classes or you're going to have to

provide gap-fill or something to enable

them to produce that so you're assessing

the children that can compare

settlements without us

support there is that need some support

and that those that considerable support

and if the majority candidates then you

can move on but if not you're going to

have to address the vocabulary of the of

the subject but also their language

required to do the comparing so you have

to look at learning outcomes really I'm

learning outcomes should reflect the

importance of the relationship between

content and language content leads the

language that has to be learned okay


question from Chris Carmo who asks how

you'd link using this content with with

technology I think if there are any

particular ideas you have a first using

technology to make the most of this

content I'm not sure it means a child

using the technology or the teacher I

think either okay for the children it

depends on the subject topic this is

what takes a lot of time for teachers to

find extended or materials on the

internet with input that reflects the

age of the child there are plenty native

speaker very good materials out there

but when you're talking about content

they were very often too advanced

so either using you know a silent sound

off native speaker video which is for

the teachers to use their children but

for the learners themselves unless it's

planned and created for them it can be

quite tricky okay thanks question from

you know Hardy Hoffman who says my

school still allocates some hours just

to teaching grammar or to teaching

reading skills specifically do you think

that's that's still relevant that's

still a workable approach

content teaching it could be if we're

looking at a text process approach

whereby the examples you saw let's take

them on in for geography about a process

of a volcano they could look at a

Content text and deconstructors

looking at the different language used

and what other process could they apply

that tools within the subject of

geography I don't want to give any

opinion about if it's right or wrong but

I'm not saying I mean I think it can be

done and it could be could be done

cotton meaningfully through jigsaw

activities through you know getting the

students to speak but I can say that

thank you question the question from

Christine Sutra Chandler asks how you

govern then consolidating the content

that you thought I I'm not sure if this

is referring to what we saw on this

particular webinar but consolidating

must involve a different task so if

you're teaching the subject about the

plants and animals and the food sources

you would have to think about a very

different task to enable them also to

use that so whether it's a role play or

something very different

there are many yokai activities which

you can use and content learning as well

to to consolidate but I think

consolidating you have to decide is it

for all improvement for speaking and

listening or do you want to consolidate

the written or write our readings you

know they really depends on the skill

you want to consolidate as well yes okay

thank you very much Kay I'm afraid

that's all we've got time for today so

just like to thank you for another

really interesting presentation that's

nothing got everyone talking thank you

very much to everyone who's at

today particularly to my colleagues

kamila Charlotte Flo and Melissa who've

been answering questions and and

tweeting and to say that if you'd like

to catch up on the webinar the recording

we've posted on our blog and with the

the link to the blog there and

Charlotte's also put it into the chat

certificates will be sent out

automatically by the end of this week so

those will go out automatically will be

a PDF that you can download that you can

put your name on and we'll be announcing

another series of series of webinars

very short place there's no webinar next

week we have another series very shortly

so we'll let you know when that happens

and at the up on our events page as well

so the recording will be on our blog and

on our YouTube channel and please if you

found this useful like us on Facebook or

follow us on Twitter to get much more

information but thanks very much

everybody and thanks particularly to UK

thanks very much

The Description of The Importance of Teaching Content to Young Learners