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As stated above coordination is an absolute must. If things are planned and departments collaborate we can start agreeing on the terms of collaboration (creation of -virtual- dictionaries with specific terms either for the class or the subject area, demanding collaboration from in-service training bodies -Teachers' Centres- so that non-specialist teachers may rise their oral standards; collaboration in the planning and design of the different subjects so that they may coincide in some areas of interest;...). It is, in any case, important that we do not lose sight from the specialties of the teachers involved. A History teacher does not have to teach English (ie, grammar), but uses this language as a means. The consideration of grammatical mistakes (orthography, language inadequacy) may be agreed with the help of the English department (If the language cannot be understood it cannot be valued) or simply by using common sense. Students make all kinds of mistakes, even when they write in their own language. History teachers do use assessment criteria to evaluate the performances of their students. These criteria tend to be agreed on by the members of the Department. I go back to the beginning: there is a need of collaboration and a need of discussion before we start teaching. No doubt there are drawbacks, but the possibility of learning a subject matter in a foreign language is in itself a great advantage (I have to admit that I am a language teacher :):(

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British secondary school specialist teachers are now expected to raise the English literacy standards of their students while they teach their subjects. They have access to official lists of keywords in English for each subject in the National Curriculum. Have a look at the following portals

School subject keywords

http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com/NC/keywords/

Basic skills: literacy and numeracy in school subjects

http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com/NC/basic/

where you will find links to word lists, and accompanying exercises, designed to improve the subject-specific vocabulary knowledge and spelling skills of subject learners. Those teaching subjects through the medium of English as a foreign language may find these lists and exercises something of a time-saver. I see little point in individual schools working in isolation to solve a problem that may have been partially solved already.

May I ask in return whether the Spanish (or any other European national) government has compiled similar word lists, in languages other than English, to assist subject teachers? Such lists might help UK foreign language teachers and anybody contemplating teaching a school subject through a language other than English.

David Wilson

http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com/

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May I ask in return whether the Spanish (or any other European national) government has compiled similar word lists, in languages other than English, to assist subject teachers? Such lists might help UK foreign language teachers and anybody contemplating teaching a school subject through a language other than English.

As regards to Spanish, the Spanish Ministry of Education passed a law where it established the requirements for the Spanish students outside Spain. This has a compulsory character for these students but it can help teachers of Spanish to what the Ministry considers essential. For the first level the vocabulary would be:

http://wwwn.mec.es/educa/internacional/fil...rup/curvoc1.pdf

For the second level the vocabulary would be

http://wwwn.mec.es/educa/internacional/fil...rup/curvoc2.pdf

To include all the information the curriculum for these students is available at:

http://wwwn.mec.es/educa/internacional/fil...grup/curric.pdf

Edited by Vicente López-Brea Fernández
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As regards to Spanish, the Spanish Ministry of Education passed a law where it established the requirements for the Spanish students outside Spain. This has a compulsory character for these students but it can help teachers of Spanish to what the Ministry considers essential.

Thanks, Vicente. This is a big help. I wasn't aware of the existence of such vocabulary lists outside the United Kingdom. Now we need the counterparts for French, German and other languages...

David Wilson

http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com/

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David, that' s a great help for a start. Now, Spanish history teachers teaching in English can begin preparing classes.

Do you know if there is any English dictionary of History terms which can be easily purchased by teachers? Dictionaries are a lot more handy.

Another point is about propper methodoloy, What can language teachers tell us about the communicative approach? May it be helpul for a history teacher?

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Another point is about propper methodoloy, What can language teachers tell us about the communicative approach? May it be helpul for a history teacher?

There is a lot to talk about methodology, but I would not dare to introduce the Communicative Approach to History teachers. As I see it there is a strong need of approaches that promote autonomy in every area. On John Simkin's thread "the student as historian: an ICT revolution" we can read:

It seems to me that the majority of teachers spend much of their time using teaching methods which are fairly ineffective. I suspect the main reasons for employing traditional instructional methods are as follows: (1) this was the way that the teachers were taught when they were pupils at school; (2) this was the way that teachers were trained to teach; (3) this is the accepted way of teaching amongst colleagues - i.e. peer group pressure; (4) teachers enjoy being performers; (5) the teacher feels more in control of the situation when traditional instructional methods are used.

The idea that students should play an active role in their learning is not a new idea. In the 1960s educationalists like Jerome Bruner argued that people learn best when they learn in an active rather than a passive manner. He used the example of how we learn language. It is claimed that this is the most difficult thing we have to do in our life, yet we learn it so young and so quickly – so easily in fact, that some experts in this field have argued that language is, to a certain extent, an inherited skill.

Bruner argues that the reason we learn language so quickly is due to the method we use. As we are introduced to words, we use them. We test them out. Words immediately became practical. We can quickly see why it helps us to know these words.

This method is very different from the way most subjects are taught at school. The student is usually a passive receptacle trying to take in information that they will need for some test or examination in the future. To complete this task effectively depends on students employing what sociologists have called deferred gratification. This is something that most young people are not very good at. They want their pleasures now, not in the distant future."

I would recommend that we stick to newer (how "new" is "new"? When does "new" stop being "new"?) ways to teach which aim at developing and fostering creatively autonomy. If you ask me I would propose humanistic ways as an essential element applied to teaching, the idea of the effect that affect has in teaching and learniing is illuminating in my views.

More info:

http://www.seal.org.uk/

http://www.nlpinfo.com/

Edited by Vicente López-Brea Fernández
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Do you know if  there is any English dictionary of History terms which can be easily purchased by teachers? Dictionaries are a lot more handy.

The only one I can think of, Javier, is the Penguin Dictionary of History, and that focuses on the Ancient World. The Penguin Dictionaries are interesting reference books, each focusing on an academic discipline such as Music or Economics.

However, they are perhaps more encyclopedia-like than what you had in mind. I decided to conduct a web search, and one that came up was:

СЛОВАРЬ ИСТОРИЧЕСКИХ ИМЕН, НАЗВАНИЙ И СПЕЦИАЛЬНЫХ ТЕРМИНОВ

at http://www.moscow-crimea.ru/history/obshie...nary/index.html

which, if my memory of a 1-year evening class in Russian back in the 1960s serves me correctly, is a Russian dictionary of history terms! Anyway, I kept on looking and found "history glossaries and history dictionaries" at:

http://www.glossarist.com/glossaries/human...ces/history.asp

There's a link to a 20th century history glossary on page 2.

Hope this will do as a start!

David Wilson

http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com/

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What can language teachers tell us about the communicative approach? May it be helpul for a history teacher?

Let me try to give you some background to the communicative approach to language teaching and learning (CLT).

What came before CLT was what was broadly described as 'grammar-translation', where 'knowledge' about language was defined in terms of knowledge of 'facts' about language. I've put these terms in inverted commas because they are what the controversy was all about. Let's start with the 'facts' …

A typical 'fact' was what my teacher of Swedish once told me:

"The future is the tense we use when we talk about the future. In Swedish it's 'jag ska' - in English it's 'I shall'."

The only problem is that in Germanic languages, there isn't a 'future tense' - what we have is a myriad of ways of talking about events which happen in the future (e.g. "I'm about to leave - can we do this tomorrow?"), a lot of which use modals.

Language learning was a very rationalistic procedure: you learned the 'facts' and the 'rules' governing the facts, and then using and understanding the language was simply a matter of applying facts and rules, rather like you do at the lower levels of reasoning in natural sciences or mathematics.

Thus my very enthusiastic and capable grammar-translation French teacher would start each lesson by having us all stand behind our chairs and fire 'fact-rule' questions at us ("David, verb boire, 3rd person singular, Present Tense, he" "Il boît", "Good, you can sit down").

Problem was, this produced lots of people who could conjugate Latin verbs, but who couldn't read a poem by Juvenal to save their lives.

In CLT, 'knowledge' and 'facts' are seen very differently. How can you tell that someone 'knows' Swedish? Well, they can read it, write it, understand it and speak it - what other criteria can you use? Whether they can analyse the language is entirely secondary. Thus, I lived here for years not knowing that the verb 'skjutsa' (give some a lift) wasn't spelled 'shussa', since that was the way it was pronounced in the part of Sweden I learned Swedish in, and it's almost never written down, so you don't need to know how it's spelled.

The key word in CLT is 'performance' - someone 'knows' a language if they can perform in it … and there are, of course, lots of different degrees of performance. Some of us are Olympic class skiers, and others can just make it down the hill without breaking any bones. However, the answer to the question "who can ski down the hill?" is "both of us". On the other hand, we're always aspiring to being able to perform better. We don't talk a lot about 'facts' of language in CLT, since most of the ones you can positively identify are rather banal and off the point (I am, you are, he is - big deal! Try talking to someone from Somerset or Trinidad!). A foreigner saying "I are here" wouldn't be misunderstood - and, who knows, English might have evolved into that form in 50 years' time.

--------

I'm no historian, and I wouldn't really know where to begin to apply CLT thinking to history. It might be interesting to discuss what 'performance' in history might be - and I know that there's a lively debate about 'facts': "Nelson defeated the Franco-Spanish fleet at Trafalgar in 1805", for example. What a clever chap he was - and with so many ships against him! Good thing there was a socio-economic-cultural background going on to provide him with ships, sailors, etc.

And, in the end, how does someone 'know' history?

Edited by David Richardson
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Another point is about propper methodoloy, What can language teachers tell us about the communicative approach? May it be helpul for a history teacher?

I do not know if you have ever heard of the CLIC (Content Language Integrated Classrooms) or CLIL (Content Language Integrated Learning) projects, which concern teaching a subject in a foreign language.

http://www.euroclic.net/

The site does not seem very active, but the aim, after a first experimental period, was to gather all the experiences so as to identify the best practices of this educational approach.

In Italy this type of approach is very popular and is being pedagogically supported by some universities like Ca' Foscari in Venice

www.unive.it/labclil

In my school the experience started in 1993 with an Italian teacher of electrotechnics using English during his classes in order to prepare his pupils to cooperate on a European Petra Project (that was the name used for European projects involving in particular technical and vocational institutions before Leonardo and Socrates Programmes started in 1994).

The Italian students were expected to work and study together with French, Dutch and German ones, the aim was to build some automated factory modules.

As English was the most common language in the group of schools, my colleague, who is also the vice-principal in my school, started using it constantly and he was soon imitated by other colleagues who are still teaching part of their classes in English. This approach is being realized in other languages in other Italian schools too, but I am afraid most of it is still in the experimental stage.

CLIL is also mentioned as one of the priorities in the latest call for Leonardo Projects, namely, PRIORITY 4: CONTINUOUS TRAINING OF TEACHERS AND TRAINERS, page 10.

http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/progra...call2005_en.pdf

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I do not know if you have ever heard of the CLIC (Content Language Integrated Classrooms) or CLIL (Content Language Integrated Learning) projects, which concern teaching a subject in a foreign language.

David Marsh of the University of Jyväskylä in Finland first told me about CLIL We met when he was compiling his report on teaching languages to learners with special needs, which is my principal research interest. His two European Commission reports, one on languages for SEN (2005) and the other on CLIL (2002), can be accessed from the following page:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/polici...studies_en.html

The CLIL report is 204 pages long. There is an executive summary at the beginning listing the main findings and recommendations.

David Wilson

http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com/

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I can't remember who once said: a good theory makes a good practice. I don't think methodology is something to avoid. History teachers must know the kind of problems they may find when teaching in a foreign language. I agree with David when he says the communicative can be reduced to performative. Perhaps what history teachers have to tell us is what a student should perform in English: speaking, writing, listening and reading.

I remember a teacher of English when I first went to England saying the following:

"You Spaniards are really good at grammar but it really shocks me that you can't say a single English word! (no comments)

Thanks Caterina and David Richardson for the CLIL project. I have downloaded and will prepare myself to read it. It looks quite interesting.

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I've worked with several people on different EC-funded language projects in which CLIL was a prominent feature. You'll find it mentioned several times in a report that Tony Fitzpatrick and I edited for the EC:

Fitzpatrick A. & Davies G. (eds.) (2003) The Impact of Information and Communications Technologies on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and on the Role of Teachers of Foreign Languages. This is a comprehensive report commissioned by the EC Directorate General of Education and Culture, which can be downloaded in PDF or Word format from the ICC website: http://www.icc-europe.com - click on "Report on ICT in FLL".

I met David Marsh in Finland in 2002, just after the EUROCALL conference in Jyväskylä, where we gathered data for the above report. I was also involved in three different projects at The University Ca' Foscari in Venice, notably ICT4LT: http://www.ict4lt.org

Small World!

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Anyway, I kept on looking and found "history glossaries and history dictionaries" at:

http://www.glossarist.com/glossaries/human...ces/history.asp

There's a link to a 20th century history glossary on page 2.

Hope this will do as a start!

Thanks so much David for helping us (history teachers) to find some resources on the internet to help us to teach in English.

Unfortunately, this link takes us to a quite limited glossary on 20th century events and biographies.

What we need is good dictionaries of "historical terms" so that our students can understand key terms to learn history in English. I will keep looking for it.

The key word in CLT is 'performance' - someone 'knows' a language if they can perform in it … and there are, of course, lots of different degrees of performance. Some of us are Olympic class skiers, and others can just make it down the hill without breaking any bones. However, the answer to the question "who can ski down the hill?" is "both of us".

I absolutely agree with that. I wish I can find a similar answer for "knowing" history. ;)

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I red through all the postings on this thread with a shifting mood. For a moment I felt that I was not having possibility to memorize all the arguments used. Next moment I was doubtful if I was able to completely understand what the postings were after. And at the same time I was searching inside me if I do have anything to contribute.

On the other hand the mysteries of foreign language in a teaching and also learning business always fascinated me therefore I will try to add something from my own experience even if it could be incomprehensibly with the debate on this thread so far.

There are ordinary Upper Secondary Schools in Sweden where education is done with the help of English language. These schools do have a high profile and are sought after by students and student’s parents and I would guess does have well educated English-history, English-math and English-physic etc. teachers. These teachers are often Swedes in some cases they might be native speaking teachers. As far as I know I never heard about any complains that they are bad history and at the same time good English teachers and vice versa. This is maybe because they choose this kind of profession when at education level at universities.

I could see what kind of problems teacher of history not properly educated in English or vice versa could encounter in teaching situation. I doubt that this could be mended with additional education during teacher’s career.

When we discussed at my school to try the same educational approach most of the teachers were against it mostly because they felt unprepared to switch from Swedish to English. I do believe that also many students were against the idea to switch educational language from native Swedish to foreign English as they put it.

There were yet another set of arguments at our school which caught my interest for the question namely; in what way would Swedish students be prepared better for grown up life if they obtained all the education in English and then stayed rest of their lives in Sweden competing on labour marked with the students who obtained their education in Swedish?

Learning foreign languages is a tricky business. Some people learn fast and in a good way other try hard with insufficient results? There are immigrants who speak flawless Swedish after one or two years in Sweden and there are immigrants with the comparatively same background whose Swedish is horrible after a séjour in the country of 25 years. Why it’s so?

How can we then believe that our students inside relative sterile learning environments namely a classroom will master the skills of English, French, Spanish etc. just simply because we teach them this skill during three to four years? Could this fact be helped by using second language as educational language instead of native language? Teachers at my school were very much in doubt when asked this question.

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This is a very deep question, which I understand not to have been researched systematically, despite the amount of teaching in English that's going on.

One of the aspects of foreign language use which is often glossed over is the emotional aspect. When you express a concept in your native language, you've also 'invested' a certain amount of emotion in it. Let's take the idea of 'citizenship', for example. In British English, the idea has all sorts of connotations connected with Blair's immigration policy. A French term might be 'citoyen', which, I understand, has certain historical connotations. The Swedish 'medborgare' isn't entirely neutral, either (Medborgarskolan is the study circle organisation started by the Swedish Conservative Party) - 'folk' is a possible alternative, except that that word's been appropriated by the left …

Using a foreign language, thus, isn't the same as using your native language. I often use the image of someone who lacks one of the senses of taste discussing the taste of food. Imagine if you couldn't taste salt, and were tucking into a salted fish dish. You'd still be eating the same dish, but the experience of the person who could taste the salt would be almost incomprehensible to you … and it would be a mistake to assume that their experience was the same as yours, which is what you can do as a matter of course with people who speak your own language.

This isn't to say that you can never express yourself in a foreign language - this is plainly not the case. However, both you and your interlocutors need to realise that it isn't the same thing as expressing yourself in your native language.

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