Making input comprehensible in CLIL classrooms

As I wrote in previous entries on this blog, there is no doubt that explicit vocabulary instruction is a must in order to succeed at making our students acquire subject-specific vocabulary. The best  results regarding the use of classroom  strategies that facilitate vocabulary acquisition will undoubtedly occur when language teachers and  content area teachers work together. In our next seminar session, which will take place on November 6th, we will talk about your specific schools and the possibility of working as a team .

Right now, I would like to mention four  of  the strategies that any teacher can put into practice and be sure that, if done repeatedly, will have a positive impact on the amount of vocabulary our students acquire:

1)  Keep vocabulary notebooks made up of word maps organized by units.  We will see several examples. This is one for Maths. 

2) Visualize the key  words and concepts which are essential in the unit you are teaching.  Do you know about wordsift? It is a very useful tool both for teachers and students. We will analyze its features together. 

2)  Use charts and tables when students are learning new terms and concepts in your content areas. This simple strategy requires very little preparation and works in all content areas. You can find an example for a Science class here

3)  Teach  students how  to pay utmost attention so as to  find context clues that help them to guess the meaning of new terms and concepts. Needless to say that context clues are not always effective to determine word meanings when we are talking about content-specific  academic vocabulary but we need to train students for the occasions when context clues do help. These context clues can be provided by the author in 8 different ways! Would you like to know which ones?

4) Use "Word attack" strategies. Do you like the name?  It sounds promising, doesn't it? Would you like to know a bit more about this strategy? 

I hope you answered "yes" to the questions above and I promise to provide you with the answers in our seminar session on November 6th. 

Happy All Saints' Day to all of you.

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