Teacher-developed materials for the integration of content and language: An action research project in Argentina

0
380

This action research project explores the principles that teachers follow when developing their own materials for lessons aimed at integrating content and language in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) lessons in state secondary education. 

This action research project explores the principles that teachers follow when developingtheir own materials for lessons aimed at integrating content and language in English as aForeign Language (EFL) lessons in state secondary education.My adoption of an action-research stance was born out of a desire to offer secondary schoolstudents who attend private English lessons outside the school a more cognitively engagingand motivating experience inside the school. When the two teachers participating in thisstudy and I, as a teacher-researcher, observed that our current teaching materials did notrelate to our experience and contextual needs, we decided to address this issue by exploringContent and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) from a language-driven perspective.The action research comprised two cycles over the 2011 school year. Following theintroduction of the project (coursebook evaluation and discussion of CLIL benefits), eachcycle included three stages: action (teachers developed their materials), intervention (teacherstaught with those materials; lessons were audio-recorded) and evaluation (group interviewwith teachers and students). However, depending on our needs and level of engagementwith the project, one stage might overlap with another. Each interview was orthographicallytranscribed and shared with the participating teachers for discussion and their approval. Theresults were analysed on a thematic basis using inductive coding, as categories emerged fromthe data themselves.My preliminary data reveal that teachers considered CLIL simply as a practice-orientedapproach which enabled students to ‘put the language to use’, as one of the teachers putit. They found CLIL useful for the development of speaking and higher-order thinkingskills but not suitable for grammar teaching (in their view, ‘language teaching’ means‘grammar teaching’). As for coursebooks, the teachers found them bland because of theirtrivial topics and poor activities, and – even when they were at the students’ linguistic level –neither cognitively engaging nor contextually responsive. Consequently, motivation and topic