Developing material for P. E. lessons in CLIL

Term Paper, 2008

30 Pages, Grade: 2,5


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Content and Language Integrated Learning
2.1. CLIL: A Definition
2.2. Learning possibilities for CLIL in Physical Education
2.3. Developing material in CLIL
2.4. Developing Material for P.E. Lessons in CLIL

3. Conclusion

4. References



The schools which start to implement bilingual teaching to their curriculum increase rapidly. Sport is not the typical subject to be taught bilingual, but it offers many possibilities. First of all it is an easy entrance for younger students to deal with English as a working language. The teacher can demonstrate the meaning of the words and the pupils can also use this technique in order to communicate. Besides, it is a very authentic background, in which English can be used in daily conversations. Normally you have to fake communication situations in the classroom to use the English language; in PE nevertheless, there are so many authentic speech situations. Bilingual physical education is also a very good introduction because many sports are based upon the English language. Most terms in basketball, for example, are English: `Point Guard´, `Center´, `defense´, `offense´, `time out´ are terms which are imported to the German language. In other sports like American Football or Cheerleading the English language is implemented even more, because all terms are English and you even count in English and use English drives[1]. In higher leagues most coaches are Americans, and so are a lot of players. That is why many pupils know a lot of English terms when it comes to sports and therefore it is easier for them to communicate in English. Besides the vocabulary in physical education is everyday vocabulary so the pupils are used to a lot of words and can implement them in their everyday life. Therefore I think that PE is a subject which is more than suitable for CLIL.

In my work, I want to investigate in the potential of physical education as a bilingual subject, and especially in the development of material. I want to work out the different possibilities of theory in a P.E. lesson and how material can be developed, adapted and used. In the first part, I want to investigate in content and language integrated learning (CLIL) in general. I want to define the term and engage in its specific learning possibilities and aims. In the second part I want to have a closer look at physical education. I want to work out the difference of physical education to other subjects and how theory can be implemented in the lessons. I want to have a look at how material for bilingual lessons can be developed and adapted to be used in classroom. The last part will deal with physical education in CLIL, its potential and how material for PE lessons in CLIL can be developed.

2. Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)

According to the KMK (2006) bilingual teaching is the teaching of a content matter subject in a foreign language. Nevertheless, the goal is not to ban the mother tongue from the classroom but to use the foreign language as the working language. The pupils should get in touch with the technical terms in both languages, as well as with communicational aspects. According to Wildhage (2003) in a normal foreign language lesson, the language functions as an object to learn and not as a tool to learn in the language. In bilingual teaching or CLIL, the language is used to discuss specific topics and to work in the language. The aim is that the pupils are competent to discuss different topics and questions of a content matter subject in both languages. According to Finkbeiner & Fehling (2002) the pupils should not only be able to discuss the topics in the foreign language but to contrast both terms and work with cultural scripts. Therefore glossaries should be added to get a profound comprehension. These glossaries should also implement the different cultural scripts. This means that many terms provoke different associations in various cultures. Besides, there is the phenomenon that some terms have no equivalent in another culture, like the term bridal shower. (Finkbeiner & Fehling, 2002).

Except for Rhineland Palatine there is no federal state with an own curricula for bilingual teaching. The teachers have to use the curriculum for the content matter subject or arrange an own curricula at their school. Guidelines or recommendations in addition to the curricula often help to lead through the bilingual traits. Since the teacher has to stick to the syllabus of the content matter subject, the quality of the lesson can not suffer from the use of the foreign language. The subject matter has to be taught as it is in the curricula.

According to Rottmann (2006) foreign language teaching normally starts in grade 5; prospective bilingual pupils might have two additional English lessons depending on the school. When the school offers bilingual physical education it can be started in grade 6 since the access is very playful and easy. In grade 7 history, geography and sometimes biology are taught bilingual. To simplify the introduction two additional content matter lessons in CLIL can be offered. Sometimes two lessons are held in the foreign language and one in the mother tongue (Rhineland Palatine). From grade 8-10 two subjects are taught bilingual, depending of the capacities of the school. In sixth form one subject is taught bilingual and the foreign language becomes a major subject. The pupils can have their oral exam in the bilingual subject and get a comment in their university entrance diploma (German Abitur). Some schools even offer the possibility to do a Cambridge Certificate.

In addition to language and content matter skills a higher cultural awareness is also the aim of content and language integrated learning. Cultural awareness is:

The concept of reflexivity, i.e., the idea that insight into experience of the practices of systems of meaning of other cultures is of significance for the individual’s cultural understanding of self and their own identity. […] The development of CA [i.e., cultural awareness] is a development from ethnocentrism to relativity, including among other things an engagement with national stereotypes, or a development of the realization that the world can be seen from many different perspectives, e.g., national perspectives.

(Risager, 2000, pp. 159-162).

The pupils should not only know about the foreign culture but become aware of differences and similarities between them. This awareness leads to cultural competence. This is a construct which is dynamic, as well as affective and cognitive. It “includes cultural sensitivity, cultural awareness, and empathy, as well as the ability to change perspectives and put oneself into the other’s shoes.” (Schmidt & Finkbeiner 2006, p.27). In particular, the problem with English as a lingua franca is that the English language does not go back to one culture but to many different cultures. This means thatbicultural learning should be supplemented to multicultural learning. If we have a look at countries with English as the mother tongue we can see that there are many different countries and cultures. There are the different countries and cultures of Great Britain, the United States and Canada, to name the most important countries. CLIL should always tie in with all the different cultures and introduce them. However the teacher can, of course, place emphasis on one or another culture he likes. Therefore the curricula of the content matter subject should be tested for possibilities to increase cultural learning in general and not only fix on bicultural learning. (Wildhage 2003, p. 20.)

We can see that content and language integrated learning is more than teaching a content matter subject in another language. Furthermore it needs its own didactics (chapter 2.2.) and opens a lot of possibilities for cultural learning. It needs its own assessment and pursues its own goals. However, first of all I want to have a look at a detailed definition of bilingual teaching and content and language integrated learning.

2.1. CLIL: A Definition

In most European countries the term CLIL has been implemented. In a study abut the situation of bilingual teaching in Europe in 2005 the following definition was used: “CLIL refers to the teaching of a current subject other than foreign languages in more than one language” (KMK 2006, p.7). This term should combine content matter teaching with foreign language teaching and integrate both. According to the KMK (2006, p.7) the content matter subject should provide the contents which are given by the curriculum but also give possibilities to learn the contents from the perspective of the target culture and therefore increase intercultural learning.

This definition ends a long discussion in the jumble of defining the subject with many different terms. Bilingual teaching, content and language integrated learning (CLIL), and subject matter teaching in English (SMTE), are different terms for similar concepts. Rottmann (2006) claims that SMTE focuses on teaching, as well as on the content which is taught in English. In Germany the term bilingual teaching has established itself. It is a very fuzzy term since everybody will undertake that the content is taught in two languages.

Therefore I will use the term CLIL since it is the best description to the subject. It does not only integrate content matter teaching and foreign language teaching but also includes intercultural learning. The pupils should not only learn about the different terms and topics in both languages but should work out the differences. For me cultural scripts are very important in CLIL since they make the difference between both languages. Finkbeiner and Fehling (2002, p. 102) describe cultural scripts as following:

“In der Sprachforschung wird unter dem Begriff eine gemeinsame Wissens- bzw. Assoziationsbasis innerhalb eines Kulturkreises verstanden. Mit Assoziationsübungen lässt sich verdeutlichen, dass das Erleben und die Klassifizierung Umwelteindrücken stark von kulturspezifischen Vorerfahrungen geprägt ist.“

When the pupils want to achieve a high language competence and the language awareness of a native speaker they cannot simply translate the terms. They have to think about different meanings and different cultural concepts behind the terms. (Finkbeiner & Fehling 2002, p.28) For example if you have a look at the German word Völkerwanderung and its English counterpart Barbarian Invasion or the German term Kristallnacht (Reichsprogromnacht) and its English ambivalent Night of (the) Broken Glasses: you can see that these terms for the same thing have totally different associations, which go back to the different history of the culture. The pupils have to be aware of this if they want to communicate in the foreign language like a native speaker (Wildhage 2003, p. 81).

2.2. Learning possibilities for CLIL in Physical Education

Many people think that sport is not the typical subject to be taught bilingually since its emphasis lies on movement and not on cognitive processes. However there are many speech prompts in PE as well as cognitive aspects which arouse points of contacts for CLIL. Therefore in Lower Saxony 16 from about 70 schools with bilingual traits offer CLIL in PE. (Wildhage 2000).

In PE the pupils have to transfer theory into practice and use their body to express themselves. There are little exams, the grade pressure is little and most pupils see P.E. as a welcome change. According to the curriculum (Lehrplan Sport alle Schulstufen 2002, p2.) the pupils should gain knowledge, abilities and skills which could be summarized in the following overall learning goals:

- Health maintenance
- Guidance to meaningful organization of the leisure time, Improvement of the quality of live
- Development of sports’ specific forms of action: exercise, play, competition, and performance
- Development of perceptual capacity and capacity of reaction
- Development of a positive self-perception, enhancement of social competence
- Development of sense of responsibility
- Ability to actively create school life

These goals aim at the development of the individual more than on the development of physical abilities and skills. PE offers possibilities to work together and learn how to interact with other people and the environment. The teaching forms are oriented at group work as well as cooperation as opposed to the teacher centered learning in the classroom. This new situations and surroundings offer new learning possibilities which might be interesting for CLIL. The new curriculum summarizes the physical oriented skills and abilities in the following pedagogic perspectives (Lehrplan Sport Sek 2, pp.4-6)

- To experience, understand and assess performance
- To foster health and develop health awareness
- Cooperate, compete and to be able to communicate
- To physically express oneself, to construct movements
- To improve sensory perceptions, motional-experience and enhancement of body experience
- To risk something and to take responsibility

These goals, which can be realized through the different sports, can only be achieved in physical education. Physical education is very important in the traditional core subjects, especially when it comes to the health aspect. In times of the TV, computer and play stations the fitness level of the children gets worse. Many children have postural deformities and will have serious problems when they are getting older. Two to three PE lessons a week are not enough to solve these problems but it is better than doing nothing. The overall goal is education to lifelong exercising which is achieved through education to exercise sport and education through sport. PE cannot only encourage to do sports but to learn about a healthy nutrition and lifestyle. A difference from PE to other subjects is the special learning surrounding. The gym, swimming pool, sport field etc. are a whole different learning surrounding than the teacher centered classroom. Therefore they invite to an innovative and pupil centered learning. According to Nietsch & Vollrath (2003) the different surrounding can deal with the individuality of the pupils and can realize their specific demands and needs. It makes place for movements and enables social interaction. This opens a whole new field of communication. The foreign language is used in a different way and the pupils can communicate within authentic situations and do not have to create faked speech situations.

The teaching material is a lot different to the one in cognitive oriented subjects. This means that the material in PE is composed of the sport equipment like benchs, boxes, mats and so on while in the cognitive oriented subjects the material comprises mainly written sources. Rottmann (2006) claims that the equipment in PE does not involve the pupils in the receptive mediation process or challenge them cognitively; but it provides motional-defiance. This means that the aim of material in PE should prompt movement more than cognitive thinking.


[1] Drive – So werden Spielzüge im American Football genannt

Excerpt out of 30 pages


Developing material for P. E. lessons in CLIL
University of Kassel  (Sprach- & Literaturwissenschaften, Anglistik/Amerikanistik)
Advanced Studies in Content and Language Integrated Learning
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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Developing, CLIL, Advanced, Studies, Content, Language, Integrated, Learning
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Meike Machunsky (Author), 2008, Developing material for P. E. lessons in CLIL, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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