Exploring the Issue of Exclusion through Reading English Picture Storybooks

by Hsiang-Ni Lee
National Taitung University

This paper describes a four-phase inquiry project which applied essential elements of literature-based instruction. The research results have shown that through utilization of theme-based illustrated storybooks and interactive literacy activities, participating young adult learners not only appreciated reading authentic children’s literature, but they also were able to generate thoughtful reflections on the issue of exclusion and learned to proactively mitigate bullying – a common problem in Taiwanese schools and worldwide (Wei & Huang, 2009). The ultimate objective of this focused study is to call attention to the significance of EFL literacy instruction which values language learners’ personal connections, multiple interpretations and critical evaluations.

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Cultural Pigeonholes in English Language Teaching Materials

by Dat Bao
Monash University

This paper problematises the cultural content presented in many English coursebooks. It examines the issue of cultural bias in both written texts and visual images, explains how such distortion of culture has entered textbooks, highlights the consequences of such bias, and finally suggests ways to deal with the cultural bias in order to help language learners develop intercultural understanding and competence. For illustrative purposes, the paper presents specific cases of stereotypical information selected from English language coursebooks. These cases fall into four distinctive categories, namely stereotyping appearance, stereotyping gender, stereotyping behavior, and stereotyping lifestyles.

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Fostering L2 Voices with Literature: Pedagogical Insights

by Won Kim
University of British Columbia

This article reports on a qualitative case study of an advanced ESL class for adult learners at a private language institute in Canada. In this class, literary texts were used as teaching materials. This three-month long ethnographic study explored teaching practices of literature-based ESL instruction and students’ perception of their learning experiences. Based on the study findings, pedagogical recommendations for L2 teachers interested in integrating literature into their L2 classrooms are offered. This article contributes to the growing pedagogical discussion on how content-based language instruction can successfully be implemented for adult learners.

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The Top 20 Free Online ESOL Resource Websites

by Ransom Gladwin
Valdosta State University

Introductory remarks

There are thousands of ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) resources online. However, as Krajka noted 13 years ago, “it would be an insurmountable task to try and browse all such search results, evaluate the websites, and decide which of them best suit the user’s expectations” (2002, p. 1). The World Wide Web has grown enormously since Krajka’s comments, and finding high-quality ESOL resources online remains a challenge, especially free ones. ESOL websites truly offering praiseworthy resources for free deserve recognition (Krajka, 2002). However, free ESOL websites continually disappear as some cease functioning, some are bought out, and others shift to a pay model (Ciaffaroni, 2006). Given that websites can positively impact the behaviors of web users (Lee, 2003), this review-oriented article recommends twenty ESOL websites that are current, useful, and free.

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CLIL in the General Education Classes in the University of the Philippines: Establishing the Reading-Writing Connection

CLIL in the General Education Classes in the University of the Philippines: Establishing the Reading-Writing Connection

by Lalaine F. Yanilla Aquino
University of the Philippines


General Education (GE) English courses in the University of the Philippines lend themselves to the CLIL approach. Drawing inspiration and guidance from Rosenblatt’s Transactional Theory of Reading and Writing, this paper illustrates how the establishment of the reading-writing connection facilitates the teaching and learning of both language and content in the GE classes and how all five elements of CLIL (content, cognition, communication, community, and competence) are made real and more contextualized through this reading-writing connection.

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Varying Classroom Input to Cater for Different Learning Styles: A Case Study

by Gareth Morgan
King Faisal Academy


The paper’s focus is the preferred means of learning of students on an academic writing course at the National University of Singapore. The study’s findings come from a questionnaire completed by a cohort of 53 students which asked for responses to 22 prompts with regard to how effective and enjoyable the various means of the course input were. The results show that while some traditional teacher-led classroom activities cater to some students’ preferred means of learning, other means should feature more prominently on the syllabus, such as activities promoting student:student interaction.

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The Evolution of an Online Writing Test Standardisation in a Pre-service Communications Skills Course for Teachers in Singapore

by Mary Ellis
National Institute of Education, Singapore
Anitha Devi Pillai
National Institute of Education, Singapore

and Chan Hsiao-yun
SIM University, Singapore


The National Institute of Education (NIE) is the provider of teacher education in Singapore and is an institution within the Nanyang Technological University; NIE is simultaneously accountable to the Ministry of Education in Singapore. A Communication Skills for Teachers course (CST) was introduced for all pre-service teachers at NIE in July 2005. A catalyst for the development of this course, which focuses on speaking and writing skills, was the perception that the standard of English of Singaporean teachers had declined. Since 2010, the course has been offered as a blended course and increasingly, several aspects of course administration have also been conducted online. The two main areas of assessment for the course are an oral presentation and a written test. In order to ensure that grading is consistent, standardisation meetings for these tests are important but not always possible given the tutors’ varied schedules. This paper outlines the development and implementation of online standardisation for the written assessment component of the CST course. Utilising collaborative tools for standardisation saves time and reduces the need for face-to-face meetings for this important aspect of assessment.

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The Novice Disciplinary Insider: How Novices Can Write Research Papers Like Disciplinary Insiders

by Percival Santos
Dongbei University of Finance and Economics

EAP foundation programs should prepare students to write at least at the novice disciplinary level by the time they leave the program. To do so, they must situate the writing process within a given discipline. This paper proposes to teach research paper writing, a specific genre of academic writing prevalent in many social sciences disciplines, according to a 4-phase process. It adapts a novice disciplinary insider model wherein each phase corresponds with the kinds of knowledge needed to achieve the writing expertise of the novice disciplinary insider. Phases 1 to 3 pertain to the cognitive, epistemological and behavioral aspects of quantitative research methods (i.e., subject matter and discourse community knowledge) whereas phase 4 pertains to the skills needed to produce the research paper (i.e. genre, writing process, and rhetorical knowledge).

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Foreword to the Special Issue

by Brad Blackstone & Jock Wong
National University of Singapore

In late January 2014, we attended the 34th Annual Thailand TESOL International Conference in Chiang Mai. In one of the keynote addresses, Russell Gordon Cross provided an update on the state of Content and Language Integrated Learning, especially as it was being implemented in various foreign language programs in Australia. One of the vignettes he presented was of a multi-modal approach to Italian history and culture using the Italian language. Watching a video rendition of the Italian culture class, the conference audience could note the excitement in the students’ faces as they were dramatically interacting in Italian, their non-native language. It was clear that this was more than a language class, and more than a history or culture class. This was CLIL.

We have both had our own experiences with CLIL. In Ohio in the 1970s Brad studied Russian in high school and in university, and while the term CLIL had not yet been coined, he fondly remembers once when he was asked by an instructor to not just ‘play act’ Russian language dialogues but to produce and deliver short plays. This sort of task became more than a linguistic endeavor for everyone involved (play writers, student actors, the director) because alongside the language skills both acting skills and an interpretation of character were required.  There was that very sense among the learners that Hollywood was beckoning. Granted, the course/curricular goals were still clearly focused on the side of language development, but something more immediate was rising to the surface in the minds of the students: the role of language as an instrument for real communication and engagement with significant content within an authentic context.

Jock experienced language learning from a similar perspective as a student in Singapore. During that time (and now too), the Ministry of Education required all students to study English language as a subject. That was fine. However, when he was in secondary school, he faced a major challenge; all subjects (except Mandarin) were taught in English, including history and geography, which had been taught in Chinese in primary school. Additionally, he had to study literature (e.g. works by William Shakespeare, Thomas Hardy, and George Orwell). Coming from a family that did not speak English (but Cantonese) meant that to study and pass the various non-language subjects to receive his education certificate he had to additionally study the English that would allow him to access the subjects. He remembers vividly reading mathematical texts about functions, equations and inequalities to understand them. He was interested in mathematics and wanted to do well in it but had to master the English that allowed mathematics to make sense to him. It was truly a CLIL experience.

Having had our own CLIL experiences as learners, and now as teachers, we talked about the expanding role of CLIL and, along with the growing preeminence of English as the foremost global language, a wider recognition of CLIL programs across the globe. The time was right, we thought, for ELTWO to host a special issue dedicated to a discussion of CLIL in higher education.

But CLIL is not without its critics, and the very definition has inspired positions. There are those, for example, who argue that the content factor becomes “watered down” in some courses with a CLIL focus (Ioannou Georgiou, 2012, p. 497). This reasoning follows from the idea that if students are struggling with the target language, their learning of the content will necessarily be impaired. At the same time, it is often suggested that CLIL requires certain conditions and is based on a set of principles. One of the more arguable “principles” includes the idea that CLIL is a “foreign language enrichment measure packaged into content teaching” (Dalton-Puffer, 2011, p 184).

This is when we turned to David Marsh for advice and assistance. David’s name was everywhere in the literature, not just as the person who had identified this educational approach for what it was, and as the creator of its key terminology, but as a steadfast advocate.  If there was a person who could help us tread through the varied opinions and offer insights to us and the writers who had agreed to walk with us on this journey, it would be David.

After consulting David, we reflected upon some of the questions we faced and came to a certain understanding. Concepts evolve over time. While some scholars associate CLIL with ELF learning, which was what CLIL was originally about, we think that it does not have to be. After all, there are many aspects to language learning. The Centre of English Language Centre at the National University of Singapore runs a program called ‘Ideas and Expositions’,[1] the objective of which is to use ‘content’ to teach academic writing in English (see Brooke; Angove et al., this issue). Each lecturer teaches a humanities subject like one would in a faculty, except that much emphasis is placed on academic writing – e.g., how to support one’s stand using evidence and argument; how to organize and express ideas to guide readers through a line of argument. Most of the students can speak a form of English with a high degree of fluency, which means that they are generally not EFL students. However, many of them do not fully understand what academic writing in English, at least at the university level, is about. Because the students learn content and academic writing in English at the same time, for all intents and purposes, their endeavors may be considered CLIL. Wanting to explore CLIL from this evolving perspective, we decided to pursue the theme. We issued a call for papers and invited David Marsh to be our Guest Editor. The rest, as they say, is history.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank David Marsh, who worked closely with us to review all submissions, even when he was travelling, and wrote the introductory piece for us.

Together with our CELC/ELTWO colleagues, we now present you with the long-awaited CLIL special issue.

Dalton-Puffer, C. (2011). Content-and-language integrated learning: From practice to principles. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 31, 182-204.

Ioannou Georgiou, S. (2012) Reviewing the puzzle of CLIL. ELT Journal, 66(4), 495-504.

[1] http://www.nus.edu.sg/celc/programmes/iep.php#description

CLIL in the Business English Classroom: From Language Learning to the Development of Professional Communication and Metacognitive Skills

by Dana Di Pardo Léon-Henri
University of Paris IV – La Sorbonne, France

Marsh (2012) asserts that the use of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) in language teaching at the higher education level has the potential to encourage learners to acquire language in an immersion-style setting, since the integration of language and content provides a substantive basis for language teaching and learning (p. 135). The content provides a motivational and cognitive foundation for language learning because it is of interest and value to the learner. In light of this, language learning by means of CLIL is not only active, but also passive, and in this setting, the focus is primarily on acquisition as opposed to intention. Students learn by doing and using language as a tool of communication and understanding. Hence, CLIL is also a means to assist in the development of analytic, reflective and hypothesizing skills. The real challenge is to keep students communicating and exchanging in the target language, while providing new information and methods to capture and keep their interest.

This paper presents a pedagogical intervention whereby 170 Business English (BE) students in their first year of a two-year Business Administration and Management course at a French vocational institution were given a professional oral presentation task-based on peer collaborative work. This task was designed to heighten their level of enthusiasm for language learning, while stimulating risk-taking and ultimately boosting confidence-building. In the context of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) and more precisely, a course with a BE focus, this study aims to analyze if and how a CLIL-based approach can be implemented to teach a variety of professional skills, while assisting students in the development of their metacognitive ability. In addition, the students’ input on their impressions of the task-based presentation intervention was sought to analyze whether or not CLIL methodology can serve as a setting to encourage the development of metacognitive skills.

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