International history as CLIL: reflection, critical thinking and making meaning of the world

| December 4, 2013
International history as CLIL: reflection, critical thinking and making meaning of the world

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Thomas Lockley
Nihon University College of Law, Japan

Thomas Lockley is assistant professor of English at the Nihon University College of Law in Tokyo, Japan. After qualifying as a language teacher (PGCE) from Sheffield University (UK), he taught French, German and Japanese in UK secondary and primary schools for four years. His MA in Education (Applied Linguistics) is from the Open University (UK). Research interests include CLIL, educational contexts and learner self-perception.
This paper will describe the conceptual framework behind an elective CLIL history curriculum taught to Japanese and non-Japanese students at an international studies university near Tokyo. For CLIL to be effective it must ‘challenge learners to create new knowledge and develop new skills through reflection and engagement in higher-order as well as lower-order thinking skills’ (Coyle, Hood & Marsh, 2010, p. 54). Hence the aims of the course, A History of Japanese International Communication, are twofold: 1) To stimulate critical thinking (CT) and reflection in students through challenging content, and 2) to balance this with the need to improve all four language skills at a lexically high level (Nation & Macalister, 2010). The two are intimately linked by the student need to cross culturally share intellectual endeavors and furthermore, to do that in English. As Barton and Levstik (2009) write, history education cannot only contribute to the common good, but can also help forge a common or at least a more empathetic future. It is to be hoped that in a world with so many cross-border problems and misunderstandings, often stemming from manipulated histories, an improved comprehension of international history will contribute to a better future.
[private] Pages 330-338

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Category: Curriculum Contexts, Volume 15 Issue 4