Edited By Christiane Dalton-Puffer and Ute Smit
Birte Rottmann - Sports in English – Learning opportunities through CLIL in physical education 205
Sports in English - Learning opportunities through CLIL in physical education Birte Rottmann Physical Education (PE) represents one of the least practiced Content-and- Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) subjects in Germany. To explain this deficiency, it is often argued that PE is primarily about moving rather than speaking. The main focus of the subject is bodily movement, sports and games; speech or language is incidental, merely helping to initiate, organize, or reflect movement learning. Such rationale does not give adequate recognition to the role of lan- guage in PE. PE actually offers rich opportunities for combined move- ment and language learning through communication and interaction, especially for beginning foreign-language learners, due to its action- oriented and content-based character. The notion that PE is a nonverbal or purely imitative activity for students, driven by one-sided teacher commu- nication, is simplistic. The opportunities for interactive communication (student-teacher and student-student) are countless. Moreover, PE is often a favorite subject among young students because it involves action, play and fun, thus the use of a foreign language tends to be perceived as less stressful than in knowledge-oriented subjects. There are also two systemic reasons why CLIL has not been widely applied in PE. First, not enough PE teachers obtain the required foreign- language teaching qualification, and the ones who do often balk at the additional thought and preparation it takes to teach PE in a language other than their mother tongue. Second, a standard method for combining lan- guage-learning and the learning of sports and...
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