Content and language Integrated Second Language Learning: Misrepresentations of Basic Principles in the UG English Curriculum of Engineering Courses

| February 1, 2014
Content and language Integrated Second Language Learning: Misrepresentations of Basic Principles in the UG English Curriculum of Engineering Courses

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Dhanya Bhaskaran
Ph. D Scholar-(ELT), Department of Science and Humanities, Anna University, Chennai, India

Ms. Dhanya Bhaskaran has an MA and M Phil in English Language and Literature and in Education. She has also completed a PG Certificate Course in Teaching of English from EFL University, Hyderabad. She is a columnist in the Journal of ELTIF (ISSN 2230-7710). She has worked as a Business Skill Trainer with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), as a Language Trainer in SRM Sivaji Ganesan Film Institute and as Teacher Trainer with an NGO- ELTIF, that contributes towards the empowerment of English teachers in the rural India. She is currently pursuing her research in ELT from Anna University, Chennai and her area of research is In-service teacher education of English language teachers at Primary level.

Philosophical investigations into the structure and nature of language still have not come to a consensus on the role of meaning in interpersonal communication, that is language in use, and the position it occupies in language per se, that is as it exists in normal situations. The issue whether it is meaning-determinism or relativism is still left unresolved in the pedagogy of a second language. If meaning holds an upper hand, the teaching-learning of a language, especially a second language can dispense with the explicit elucidation of the formal features, ie. the grammar of the target language. On the other hand, if it is a case of ‘learning how to mean’ in a second language, the role of formal instruction and conscious learning needs to be reasserted. One approach, which has been tried out recently for minimizing conscious learning and promoting subconscious acquisition of the target language is Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) which integrates content into second language instruction. Here, ESL learners feel more attached to, and more engaged in the processes of meaning making, because the degree of conscious learning becomes less as the curiosity and inquisitiveness about the world of reality get more and more satisfied. But how effective, in terms of communicative competence, are the under graduate engineering courses which follow the content and language integrated learning (CLIL) curriculum is a matter of debate. A field study conducted among the students of science and technology, suggests that a mere change in textbooks has not made much difference in the language classes; in fact, textbooks based on CLIL model are not handled the way they are envisaged to be. They are approached with a traditional pedagogy and methodology. This paper tries to investigate the problems which teachers as well as learners of English face in the UG Engineering courses at Anna University. It also tries to come up with some practical suggestions to enhance the effectiveness of the classroom teaching and learning of the CLIL curriculum.

[private] See page: 32-46

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Category: Monthly Editions, Volume 74