You are on page 1of 13

Teodora Popescu

“1 Decembrie 1918” University of Alba Iulia

A CLIL UNIVERSITY TEACHER PROFILE: A ROMANIAN


PERSPECTIVE

Abstract

This paper aims at presenting a profile of CLIL university teachers from a


Romanian perspective. The key issues that we will focus on are: the relevance of
plurilingual education in a European country; CLIL teacher competences
regarding classroom management, learning strategies, language use and use of
teaching materials; awareness-raising as to the process of language acquisition for
CLIL (cultural, linguistic, psychological, sociological and pedagogical aspects); a
possible action plan for CLIL teachers. We will exemplify CLIL teaching in
Human Resources Management.

Introduction

There is at present wide literature on the subject of CLIL (Content and Language
Integrated Learning) and still there are many areas that call for research and,
especially for classroom practice. We will start our present paper by providing a
general framework for the conceptualisation and implementation of this
educational domain. CLIL as such is an umbrella term coined by David Marsh of
the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, where courses in different subject through
a second/foreign language and learning a second/foreign language by studying
content-based subjects have been popular in vocational secondary education for a
number of years.
It was adopted by the European Network of Administrators, Researchers
and Practitioners (EUROCLIC)1 in the mid 1990’s. The term refers to any activity

1
EuroCLIC url: www.euroclic.net
in which a foreign language is used as a tool in the learning of a non-language
subject in which both language and subject have a joint role (Marsh 2002: 58).
Specialists felt compelled to give currency to such a term, as the nature of CLIL
had to be more clearly defined from out of a whole series of related approaches,
such as content-based instruction, immersion, bilingual education and many
others. Whereas CLIL shares certain aspects of learning and teaching with the
previous learning/teaching processes, it essentially operates along a continuum of
the foreign language and the non-language content without establishing the
precedence of one over another. “It was thus exclusive in explaining how a variety
of methods could be used to give language and non-language subject matter a
joint curricular role in the domain of mainstream education, pre-schooling and
adult lifelong education. Usage of this term allows us to consider the myriad
variations […] without imposing restrictions which might fail to take account of
school or region-specific implementation characteristics […] It does not give
emphasis to either language teaching or learning, or to content teaching and
learning, but sees both as integral parts of the whole.” (Marsh 2002: 58)
It may therefore stated that CLIL represents a lifelong concept
encompassing all sectors of education from primary to tertiary and beyond, from a
few hours per week to intensive modules lasting several months. It may involve
project work, examination courses, drama, chemistry and mathematical research.
CLIL is flexible and dynamic, where topics and subjects – foreign languages and
non-language subjects - are integrated in order to provide value-added educational
outcomes for the widest possible range of learners. Nevertheless, we need to pay
heed to the fact that the underlying value is related to the quality of the learning
experience. The efficiency of CLIL revolves around a series of situational and
contextual variables, consequently it is essential that CLIL pedagogies are
correctly understood. One of the first steps is to identify the fundamental
principles and effective classroom practice which will lead to the creation of a
framework for assuring quality in diverse contexts. CLIL per se is no guarantee
for effective teaching and learning. Kees de Bot (in Marsh 2002: 32) asserted that
“It is obvious that teaching a subject in a foreign language is not the same as an
integration of language and content… language teachers and subject teachers
need to work together… [to] formulate the new didactics needed for a real
integration of form and function in language teaching.”
The CLIL teaching / learning programme caught on quite rapidly,
particularly in Europe. According the Eurydice Report on European developments
for CLIL “The CLIL methodological approach seeking to foster integrated
learning of languages and other areas of curricular content is a fast developing
phenomenon in Europe… Aware of this challenge, national policy makers are
taking a greater interest in CLIL and offering a wide variety of initiatives
consistent with the different circumstances facing them.” (Eurydice 2006: 2) 2

CLIL components

Coyle (2002) put forward four major components that need to be emphasised by
all those who desire to successfully implement CLIL programmes. These are as
follows:
• subject matter (content);
• the language of and for learning (communication);
• the thinking integral to high quality learning (cognition);
• the global citizenship agenda (culture).
This framework points out that the effectiveness of CLIL depends on successful
combination of several factors: progression in knowledge, skills and
understanding of the content, engagement in associated cognitive processing,
interaction in the communicative context, developing appropriate language
knowledge and skills as well as acquiring a deepening intercultural awareness
through the positioning of self and ‘otherness’.
Coyle further on recommends six principles around which CLIL has to
revolve:
1. Content matter is not only about acquiring knowledge and skills, it is about the
learner creating their own knowledge and understanding and developing skills
(personalised learning);

2
Eurydice Report 2006 url: http://www.eurydice.org
2. Content is related to learning and thinking (cognition). To enable the learner to
create their own interpretation of content, it must be analysed for its linguistic
demands;
3. Thinking processes (cognition) need to be analysed for their linguistic
demands;
4. Language needs to be learned which is related to the learning context, learning
through that language, reconstructing the content and its related cognitive
processes. This language needs to be transparent and accessible;
5. Interaction in the learning context is crucial to learning. This has extended
implications when the learning context operates through the medium of a foreign
language.
6. The relationship between cultures and languages is complex. Intercultural
awareness is pivotal to CLIL. Its legitimate place is at the core of CLIL.

Plurilingual and pluricultural competence

We would like in the following to elaborate on the relevance of CLIL to the


development of plurilingual and pluricultural competence. This last concept
pertains to the ability to use languages for the purposes of communication and to
participate in intercultural interaction, where a person, regarded as a social agent
has proficiency, of varying degrees, in several languages and experience of
several cultures. This is not seen as the superposition or juxtaposition of distinct
competences, but rather as the existence of a complex or even composite
competence which the user may bring into play. (CEF, p.168)
The most important follow up of this new philosophy is that the aim of
language education is thoroughly modified. It is no longer perceived as simply to
achieve ‘mastery’ of one or two, or even three languages, each taken in isolation,
with the ‘ideal native speaker’ as the ultimate model. Instead, the desideratum is
to develop a linguistic repertory, in which all linguistic abilities have a place and a
role. Therefore it is essential that some key objectives pertaining to language
education should be borne in mind:
zThe languages offered in educational institutions should be diversified and
students given the opportunity to develop a plurilingual competence.
zOnce it is recognised that language learning is a lifelong task, the development
of a young person’s motivation, skill and confidence in facing new language
experience out of school comes to be of central importance.
zThe responsibilities of educational authorities, qualifying examining bodies and
teachers will go beyond the attainment of a given level of proficiency in a
particular language at a particular moment in time.
Further on, it may again be underlined that plurilingual and pluricultural
competence also promotes the development of linguistic and communication
awareness, and even metacognitive strategies which enable the social agent to
become more cognizant of and get hold of his or her own ‘spontaneous’ ways of
handling tasks and more specifically their linguistic scope. Moreover, this
experience of plurilingualism and pluriculturalism:
• exploits pre-existing sociolinguistic and pragmatic competences which in turn
develops them further;
• is conducive to a better perception of what is general and what is specific with
reference to the linguistic organisation of different languages (form of
metalinguistic, interlinguistic or so to speak ‘hyperlinguistic’ awareness);
• by its nature refines knowledge of how to learn and the capacity to enter into
relations with others and new situations.
It may, therefore, to some degree accelerate subsequent learning in the linguistic
and cultural areas. This is the case even if plurilingual and pluricultural
competence is ‘uneven’ and if proficiency in a particular language remains
‘partial’.
It is by no means an easy task to outline now all the efforts that the
European Commission has made towards the implementation of multilimgualism
and plurilingualism, being fully aware that citizens' language skills will be equally
important in achieving European policy goals, in particular against a background
of increasing global competition and the challenge of better exploiting Europe's
potential for sustainable growth and more and better jobs. Furthermore, cognizant
of its own responsibilities and of those of the other Institutions, the Commission
reckons that the situation can and must improve and consequently recommends to
Member States to take additional measures to promote widespread individual
multilingualism and to foster a society that show consideration to all citizens’
linguistic identities.
At present there are languages that are spoken in Europe, both as mother
and foreign language. The supremacy is still held by English as a foreign
language, although there are still some languages that are also reported as being
used, unsurprisingly, German, French and Spanish (more than Italian).

Table 1. Languages most commonly used in the European Union


(Source: Eurobarometer Report 63.4;
http://europa.eu.int/comm/public_opinion/archives/eb/eb63/eb63_en.htm)

Key competences of a CLIL teacher

In the following lines we would like to tentatively present some of the


competencies that we consider a successful CLIL teacher should possess.
z Classroom management skills (clear instructions, examples and explanations in
English, equal and effective class participation; successful teacher-student
communication, appropriate organisation, pacing and distribution of class
activities, etc.);
z Teaching strategies, techniques and methods (communicative approach and
learner-centeredness; fostering of learner motivation);
z Awareness of cognitive issues entailed by CLIL (integration of linguistic
meaning and specialist content);
z Teamwork abilities and networking skills (to cooperate with colleagues from
different disciplines);
z Appropriate use of language exponents (teacher instructions - class
management metalanguage and specialist [content-oriented] knowledge
transmission);
z Well-informed use of teaching materials (with a double focus: on content and
language).

A Romanian perspective

In the following we would like to delineate the general educational routes in


Romania. The table below presents the structure of our educational system,
according to age, grade, educational and qualification levels, as well as the
equivalence with the ISCED system.
The educational system in Romania follows in broad terms the structure of
most European countries. Foreign languages are studied along all educational
routes, with different hour allocation for each. According to the type of school
(general education, vocational school, etc. and the concentration of the class, the
number of foreign language classes may vary from 1 to 5/6 (with optional
courses) per foreign language. There is also the possibility to study up to 3 foreign
languages (FL1 – foreign language 1, FL2 – foreign language 2, FL3 – foreign
language 3).
Age Type of ISCED Qualification
Grade Educational level
education level

Post-university education
6 University
Doctorate (PhD) and post
university
University Master 5
>19 5 education
education Bachelor

Post- Post-
Post- high school 4
compulsory 4 secondary
education
education
18 XIII High school
High – upper Upper 3
17 XII
3 school – cycle secondary
upper Completion education
16 XI 2
cycle year

15 X High School of
school – Arts and
1
14 IX lower Trades
Lower
cycle
2 secondary
13 VIII
education
12 VII Lower secondary school
11 Compulsory VI (Gymnasium)
10 V
9 IV

8 III Primary
1 Primary school
7 II education

6 I

5
Pre-school education Pre-school
4 0
(kindergarten) education
3
Table 2. The structure of the educational system in Romania
(Source: ETF, Sharing expertise in training – Country Monograph on education,
training and employment services in Romania 2003)
It might also be of relevance to bring into discussion the system of initial and
continuous teacher training in Romania, with special emphasis on language
teacher education. The initial teacher training programme is generally run
alongside the specialist bachelor programmes, managed by a special department
in each university, in accordance with the principles and guidelines laid down by
the Ministry of Education and Research. Therefore, the initial language teacher
education in Romanian universities follow the pattern indicated below:
z Pre-service teacher training (Module I) – 35 ECTS:

•Psychology of Education (56 tuition hours, 5 ECTS);


•General Pedagogy I (Introduction to Pedagogy & Curriculum Theory, 56
tuition hours, 5 ECTS) and II (Theory of Instruction and Theory of
Assessment, 56 tuition hours, 5 ECTS);

•Foreign Language 1 Teaching Methodology (42 tuition hours, 5 ECTS);


•Foreign Language 1 Teaching Practice (Practicum, 42 tuition hours, 2,5
ECTS);

•Foreign Language 2 Teaching Methodology (42 tuition hours, 5 ECTS);


•Foreign Language 2 Teaching Practice (Practicum, 42, 2,5 ECTS);
•Electives: Information and communication technologies; Theory and practice
of civic education (42 tuition hours, 4 ECTS);

•Final Portfolio (14 tuition hours, 1 ECTS)


We have only illustrated the teacher education programme for future teachers of
modern languages. The only difference for future teachers of other subjects would
be that they will only have one course in Teaching Methodology (according to
their subject content) and one course in Teaching Practice (amounting to 84
tuition hours altogether), therefore the package will only add up to 30 ECTS.
z In-service teacher training (Module II)

•Curricular area (Language and communication – in the case of teachers of


modern languages) didactics (56 tuition hours, 5 ECTS);

•Class management (56 tuition hours, 5 ECTS);


•Counselling and career advising (56 tuition hours, 5 ECTS);
•Computer-assisted learning (42 tuition hours, 4 ECTS);
•Electives: I (Intercultural education; Educational policies; Contemporary
pedagogic doctrines; Primary and secondary education management – 42
tuition hours, 4 ECTS) and II (Adult learner pedagogy; Psycho-pedagogy of
learners with special needs; Sociology of education; Educational research
methodology – 42 tuition hours, 4 ECTS);

•Teaching practice (Practicum – 42 tuition hours, for teachers without


previous teaching experience);

•Final Project (42 tuition hours, 3 ECTS).


zTeacher Certification
The teacher certification framework is a testing system jointly run by the Ministry
of Education and the Teacher Education Department of each individual university.

• Preliminary Teacher Certification (for newly qualified teachers – Level III);


min. 2 years’ teaching experience;

• Advanced Teacher Certification (Level II); min. 5 years’ teaching experience;


• Expert Teacher Certification (Level I); min. 8 years’ teaching experience.
As can easily be seen from the above information, future and practising
teachers of foreign language teachers in Romania never get and formal training in
content and language integrated learning and teaching. If they need to acquire any
additional competences, they have to do it on their own, which means it usually
works both ways: teachers of specialist subjects need to improve their language
skills, whereas the language teachers need to acquire some specialist knowledge
in the field under discussion.

Illustration of a CLIL-course in HRM

As a response to the challenges posed by the need for internationalisation and


standardisation of education across Europe, more and more universities in
Romania are trying to include specialist courses taught in English, which at the
same time aim at increased linguistic competences Illustration of a Human
Resources Management course in English for Romanian students
Syllabus overview

Course objectives and Learning outcomes


(what students will be able to do at the end of the course)
1 CONTENT-BASED OBJECTIVES
z HR Basics
z HR and human behaviour
z HR system alternatives
z HR links to strategy
z Labor market context of HR
z Legal context of HR
z Staffing: Selection and placement
z Employee development
z Employee performance
z Rewards and compensation
zHR and firm performance
z Case studies

2 COGNITIVE OBJECTIVES
z Describe the field of "human resource management" and understand its

relevance to managers and employees in work organizations.


z Describe fundamental employment laws in Romania.

z Conduct a basic job analysis and apply this understanding of job requirements to

other human resource management systems such as selection, performance


appraisal, and compensation.
z Recognize basic human resource management tools such as performance

appraisal forms, and understand some of the technical details of human resource
management practices.
z Apply relevant theories to the management of people in organizations.
z Analyze business challenges involving human resource systems.

z Critically assess and evaluate human resource policies and practices.

3 LINGUISTIC OBJECTIVES
zMake use of overall spoken interaction skills
z Understand a non-native/native speaker interlocutor
z Carry out conversations and informal discussions
z Participate in (in)formal discussions and meetings
z Develop goal-oriented co-operation strategies
z Describe past work experiences and put a case forward
z Take part in an effective information exchange
z Interview and be interviewed successfully

4 CULTURAL OBJECTIVES
• Be able to bring the Romanian culture and other foreign cultures in relation with
each other;
• Show cultural sensitivity and the ability to identify and use a variety of
strategies for contact with people from other cultures;
• Be able to fulfil the role of cultural intermediary between the Romanian culture
and a foreign culture and to deal effectively with intercultural misunderstanding
and conflict situations;
• Be capable to overcome stereotyped relationships.

Conclusions and suggestions for CLIL teacher training programmes

In view of achieving the aim of successful implementation of quality CLIL


teacher training we advance the following suggestions for teacher education
programmes that can be implemented in Romanian and other European
universities:
z Trainees should have the chance to teach in local bilingual or language
specialist schools using CLIL methods.
z Trainees need to practise CLIL teaching in methodology seminars and
workshops.
z Trainees become increasingly aware of the body of research into CLIL
approaches to language teaching, and its widening use in European foreign
language teaching.
z In case there are limited locally available educational contexts, such as local

bilingual schools, cooperation between teacher education institutions and local


schools may help develop new contexts in which CLIL teaching can take place.
z Given the limited time-frame of initial teacher education, it may be more

worthwhile teaching CLIL approaches during in-service education courses.

Bibliography

1. Commission of the European Communities (2005) Communication from the


Commission to the Council, The European Parliament, The European Economic
and Social Committee and The Committee of The Regions: A New Framework
Strategy For Multilingualism, Brussels
2. The European Commission (2004) European Profile for Language Teacher
Education – A Frame of Reference Final Report A Report to the European
Commission Directorate General for Education and Culture.
3. The European Commission (2006) The Action Plan on promoting Language
Learning and Linguistic Diversity: 2004-2006.
4. Marsh, D. and Maljers, A. and Hartiala, A-K. (2001) Profiling European CLIL
Classrooms Languages Open Doors.
5. Marsh, D (Ed) (2002) CLIL/EMILE- The European Dimension: Actions, Trends
and Foresight Potential Public Services Contract DG EAC: European
Commission.
6. Richards, J.C. and Rodgers, T.S. (1986) Approaches and Methods in Language
Teaching Cambridge University Press.
7. Popescu, T. (2007). “Advocating Content and Language Integrated Learning in
Romanian Universities” Educaţia 21, no.4, Centrul de Cercetare şi Inovaţie în
Curriculum, Casa Cărţii de Ştiinţă, Cluj-Napoca.