Communicative Classroom Language for Bilingual Education

Teaching «Real English» for CLIL

by Maria Luisa Pérez Cañado (Author) Borja Ojeda-Pinar (Author)
©2018 Textbook 228 Pages


This book focuses on communicative classroom language for bilingual education and aims to equip language and content teachers with real, updated English expressions of direct relevance in CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) contexts. To this end, it presents a theoretical backdrop with the rationale underpinning the proposal and three sets of tried-and-tested original activities, classified according to type of lexical chunk, function, and level (Infant, Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Education). Students are encouraged to move from more controlled and basic stages of identification of these types of communicative chunks towards a freer type of production, through a wide variety of originally designed and piloted activities based on multimodal texts (gap-filling, matching, tic-tac-toe, sentence completion, error correction, T/F, multiple choice, ordering, odd-one-out). A full glossary is also provided with 330 useful expressions, as well as an answer key and printable posters and cut-outs which are directly applicable in the CLIL classroom.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • 1. The Theoretical Backdrop
  • 2. Lexical chunks
  • 2.1 Presentation
  • 2.1.1 Backchannelling
  • 2.1.2 Real English sounds
  • 2.1.3 Binomials and trinomials
  • 2.1.4 Collocations: Intensifiers
  • 2.1.5 Phrasal verbs
  • 2.1.6 Fixed expressions
  • 2.1.7 Idiomatic expressions
  • 2.1.8 Acronyms
  • 2.1.9 Ellipsis
  • 2.2 Practice / Identification
  • Watching video clips
  • 2.3 Production:
  • Original activity design
  • 3. Functions
  • 3.1 Presentation
  • 3.1.1 Splitting a lesson into more manageable parts and changing its pace
  • 3.1.2 Catching students’ attention
  • 3.1.3 Eliciting students’ participation, opinions and questions
  • 3.1.4 Encouraging students to work
  • 3.1.5 Monitoring group work
  • 3.1.6 Disciplining students
  • 3.1.7 Checking for understanding
  • 3.1.8 Praising students’ work
  • 3.1.9 Beginning and finishing a lesson and asking students to be quiet
  • 3.1.10 Evaluating students’ work
  • 3.2 Practice/Identification: Bringing it all together: “Real English” classroom language
  • 3.3 Production: Role-play
  • 4. Levels
  • 4.1 Presentation
  • 4.1.1 Engaging with the Kindergarten classroom
  • 4.1.2 Managing the Primary classroom
  • 4.1.3 Complimenting Secondary students’ work
  • 4.1.4 Asking teenagers to make an extra effort
  • 4.1.5 Dealing with Secondary students’ frustration
  • 4.1.6 Secondary class situations
  • 4.1.7 Lecturing at university
  • 4.1.8 Emailing colleagues and students
  • 4.2 Practice/Identification
  • Matching game
  • 4.3 Production: Sample lecture / lesson
  • Answer key
  • Glossary
  • Posters
  • Cut-outs

← 6 | 7 →


This book focuses on communicative classroom language for bilingual education and aims to equip language and content teachers with real, updated English expressions of direct relevance in CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) contexts. It is a clear instance of what Coyle (2011) terms “evidence-based practice”; that is, of research at the service of pedagogy. Indeed, it presents a didactic proposal to address a niche which has been recently found by research to be in dire need of being filled. The latest investigations1 on CLIL teacher training needs have revealed that these lacunae currently cluster around five major competencies (cf. Chapter 1 for a more detailed rendering):

  1. Pedagogical and organizational competence (problems rooted in student-centered methodologies, materials adaptation and creation, and evaluation are still documented);
  2. Interpersonal and collaborative competence (lack of coordination, the need to increase collaboration with colleagues, and attention to diversity come across as three of the greatest hurdles with which CLIL programs are faced);
  3. Scientific knowledge (there is a conspicuous lack of familiarity of CLIL teachers with the theory of language and learning underpinning this approach and its key traits, models, and variants);
  4. Reflective and developmental competence (insufficient information to be up-to-speed with the latest goings-on in the CLIL arena continues to run through the latest investigations); ← 7 | 8 →
  5. Linguistic and intercultural competence (it transpires that especially non-linguistic area and Primary and Infant Education teachers are still very much in need of further linguistic training for successful bilingual teaching).

Of these five pressing concerns, the present monograph centers specifically on the latter competence. Within it and according to the most recent investigations, the concrete linguistic aspects on which CLIL teachers particularly need increased attention are Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS), pronunciation, fluency, and the language for daily communication and interaction in the bilingual classroom (Ruiz Gómez 2015). The latest research has also evinced that teachers often employ stilted, obsolete language based on outdated textbooks and which does not reflect the real language for daily communication which is employed in English-speaking contexts (Pérez Cañado 2009), thereby compromising the students’ communicative ability.

This is precisely the niche which this book seeks to fill. After providing a theoretical backdrop with the latest research results on teacher training for CLIL, it offers a batch of 33 originally designed, tried-and-tested activities to equip Infant, Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary CLIL teachers with the language they need for successful communication and interaction among the different agents in the bilingual teaching process. These activities are based on the Lexical Approach (Lewis 1993, 1997a, 1997b, 2000) and on the concept of “real” English vocabulary (Pérez Cañado 2009: 4), which “involves single words and, especially, multi-word items which are currently employed in conversational English by native speakers of the language. They are often colloquial in use and enhance the native-like quality and fluency of the language of those who incorporate them into their productive vocabulary”.

These activities are classified in the volume into three major blocks, which can be followed vertically from beginning to end or combined horizontally in accordance to the needs targeted:

  1. Type of lexical chunk (Chapter 2), where “real English” sounds, backchannelling, binomials and trinomials, collocations, phrasal verbs, fixed expressions, idiomatic expressions, acronyms, or ellipsis are all worked on; ← 8 | 9 →
  2. Functions (Chapter 3), where splitting a lesson into more manageable parts, changing pace, catching students’ attention, eliciting students’ participation, encouraging students to work, monitoring group work, disciplining students, checking for understanding, praising students’ work, beginning and finishing a lesson, asking students to be quiet, and evaluating students’ work are considered;
  3. Level (Chapter 4), where activities for Infant, Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Education are explicitly incorporated.

Students are encouraged to move from more controlled and basic stages of identification of these types of communicative chunks towards a freer type of production, through activities belonging to presentation, practice/identification, and production stages. It is hoped that, through their completion and the continued use of these expressions in the CLIL classroom, both teachers and students will proceed from the initial receptive recognition of these updated lexical chunks to their automatic, productive use in the classroom and beyond it.

In order to cater to a diversity of learning styles and representational systems, the activities comprise a vast gamut of typologies, including gap-filling, dialogues and role-plays, matching, tic-tac-toe, sentence completion, translations, web searches, error correction, classifying, T/F, multiple choice, word replacement, ordering, gradations, or odd-one-out. The expressions are always presented in context in order to favor authenticity and provide enhanced exposure to this “real English” classroom language.

The activities are presented in printable format for their direct application in the CLIL classroom at any educational level. The version provided herein is the result of an intense pilot process of all the activities in over 15 courses with Infant, Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary CLIL teachers in both teacher training centers and diverse universities. In addition to the activities, an answer key is provided for the teacher with the same format as the activities, together with printable posters and cut-outs to carry out certain activities, and a glossary with the 330 “real English” expressions included in the activities, where their meaning, sample use, and translation into Spanish are showcased.

It is hoped that these activities will upgrade CLIL teachers’ language level, boost their confidence, and empower them to step up to the ← 9 | 10 → challenge of bilingual education by placing at their disposal a substantial repertoire of updated, relevant, and ready-to-use English which is directly applicable to the CLIL classroom.



ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2018 (September)
CLIL bilingual education classroom language
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2018. 228 pp. 98 tables, 1 graphs

Biographical notes

Maria Luisa Pérez Cañado (Author) Borja Ojeda-Pinar (Author)

Dr. María Luisa Pérez Cañado is Associate Professor at the Department of English Philology of the University of Jáen, Spain, where she is also Vicedean of the Faculty of Humanities and Education. Her research interests are in Applied Linguistics, bilingual education, and new technologies in language teaching. Borja Ojeda-Pinar is Interim Substitute Professor at the same Department. He earned a Master's Degree of Education from Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and received a grant from SMU's Office of English Language Acquisition.


Title: Communicative Classroom Language for Bilingual Education