Content-Based Teaching

The first of the th models of integrated-skills approaches is content-based instruction. Quite simply, content-based (also known as "ntnt-centered") language teaching integrates the learning of some specific subject content with the learning of second language. Mh verall structure of content-based curriculum, in contrast to mn traditional language urricull, is dictated mr b the nature f the subject rthr than b language forms and sequences. Th second language, then, is simply the medium to nv informational content f interest and relevance to the learner.

r r some examples f content-based curricula:

o Immersion programs fr elementary school children

o Sheltered English programs (mostly foundat elementary and secondary school levels)

o Writing across the curriculum (where writing skills in secondary schools and universities r taught within subject matter areas like biology, history, art, etc.)

o . English for specific purposes (ESP) (e.g.. for engineering, agriculture, medicine).

It is perhaps already clear that content-based teaching allows learners to acquire knowledge and skills that transcend " the bits and pieces of lnguage that m u hours and days of analyzing in trditinl lngug classroom.

Research n second language acquisition of various ages indicates the ultimate strength of learning that is pointed toward practical non-language goals. Mh meaningful learning principle applies well here. Lrners are focused n very useful, practical objectives as the subject matter is rceived to b relevant to long term goals. This also increases the intrinsic motivation that is so important to learning f n kind.

n content-based teaching take place at all levels of proficiency, vn beginning levels, while it is possible to argue that certain basic survival skills. Fr example, are themselves content-based skills and that beginning levl class could therefore b content-based, such n argument seems to extend the content-based notion beyond its nrml bounds. Content-based instruction usually pertains to academic or occupational instruction vr n extended period of time at intermediate to advanced proficiency levels.

Talking bout renting n apartment n day, shopping the next, getting driver's license the next, and so n, is certainly useful and meaningful fr beginners, but would b mr appropriately called task-based rather than content-based.

Content-based teaching presents some challenges to language teachers. Allowing the subject matter to control the selection and sequencing of lnguage items means that u have to view ur teaching from n entirely different perspective. Yu r first and foremost teaching geography r math r culture; secondarily uare teaching language. So u m have to bem double expert! There are some team-teaching models of ontnt-bsd teaching, however, that alleviate this potential drawback. In some schools, for example, subject-matter teacher and language teacher link their urss and curriculum so that h complements the other. Such n undertaking is nt unlike what Brinton, Snow, and Wesche (I989) describe as n "adjunct" model of content-based instruction.

Content-based instruction allows for the complete integration of lnguage skills. As u plan lesson around particular sub-topic of your subject matter r, yourtask becomes n of how best to present that topic rconcept or principle. In such lessons it would b difficult not to involve atleast three of the four skills reading, discussing, solvingproblems. analyzing data, writing opinions and reports.

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