Nowadays, all CLIL practitioners can get material for their content areas from a variety of sources, such as the Internet or from coursebooks. However, on many occasions materials have to be adapted so as to make them easier for students. I have written other entries on this blog on the convenience of providing students with visual scaffolding so today I would like to give some clues on how to make content in a Music lesson easier for students without diminishing the amount of content-obligatory language.
Content-obligatory language could be defined as the language needed for subject matter mastery in the mainstream classroom. This language consists of words, structures, collocations and functions which are essential for the topic they are studying.
CLIL students will also need content-compatible language, i.e. the everyday kind of language which is useful for both the study of a specific topic and for general use (verbs like blow, hit, play which will be useful in a Music lesson but also in everyday situations)
I have mentioned the word language twice so it is important to stop at this point to clarify that the CLIL teacher focuses on language only in the sense of enhancing the effectiveness of this role; he or she should not spend his/her time explaining the difference between the past simple and present perfect. That is precisely why coordination between language and subject teachers is essential in order to identify language problems in the topic in advance so that they can be dealt with effectively.
Let’s focus on a text that can be part of a Music lesson on the orchestra (string instruments) and see how we could make it easier for students while respecting the necessary amount of content-obligatory language. This is my proposal.