The bilingual triangle: Teaching content and language integrated geography

Term Paper, 2007

28 Pages, Grade: 2,0


Table of contents

1 Introduction

2 Didactic concepts
2.1 Connecting models
2.2 The Bilingual Triangle

3 Teaching Geography
3.1 Curricular framework for bilingual Geography
3.2 Subjects of bilingual Geography

4 Implementation of the Bilingual Triangle in Geography
4.1 Migration – one aspect in the Hessian Curriculum for Geography at Gymnasien
4.2 Draft of a bilingual Geography lesson
4.2.1 Own country and culture
4.2.2 Other countries and cultures
4.2.3 Intercommunity
4.3 Didactic reasoning

5 Conclusion

6 Bibliography

7 Appendices
7.1 Appendix 1: Interview
7.2 Appendix 2: Group 1
7.3 Appendix 3: Group 2
7.4 Appendix 4: Group 3
7.5 Appendix 5: Group 4
7.6 Appendix 6: Group 5
7.7 Appendix 7. Glossary
7.8 Appendix 8: Overview of the study unit on „migration“

1 Introduction

The focus of this term paper is a presentation of a draft for a bilingual Geography study unit on “migration”. Firstly, the paper describes general didactic principles of bilingual teaching and furthermore exemplifies aspects of creating a bilingual teaching curriculum and of bilingual teaching in the geographical context in general. Moreover, it adapts the curriculum for Georgraphy in Hesse for the study unit. The study unit contains five lessons that respectively emphasise one of the three aspects of the Bilingual Triangle by Hallet.

2 Didactic concepts

This chapter gives an overview of didactic concepts for teaching a subject bilingually at school. The fist concept referred to describes bilingual teaching principles more generally in terms of connecting the subject and the foreign-language teaching. The second concept “The Bilingual Triangle” is a more concrete theoretical basis especially for teaching bilingual subjects among Humanities such as Geography, Politics or History.

2.1 Connecting models

In Germany there are 3 connecting models to describe bilingual teaching principles.[1] The first model – the Linear Model – describes that the foreign language should prepare bilingual subject teaching and that there should be a degree from foreign-language to bilingual subject teaching. But there is no inner connection between foreign-language teaching and subject teaching.

The second Parallel Model deals with a connection of the two subjects. This connection is continual and the aim is to connect aims and tasks of foreign-language teaching and subject teaching.

The third model is the Integrative Model. It means that teaching is content and language integrated, i.e. teaching the subject in integration with foreign language. The aim is the instrumentalisation of a foreign language by a subject. In Germany, the third model is the ideal type of bilingual subject teaching and it should be every bilingual teacher’s aim. But on the contrary, just the first type is often realized because of the teacher being insecure in teaching methods, a non-standardized education policy, lack of materials and the teacher’s bad education.

2.2 The Bilingual Triangle

Such didactic principles may look like The Bilingual Triangle[2], constructed by Hallet. Three aspects 1) phenomena and facts of your own country and culture, 2) phenomena and facts of other countries and cultures and 3) intercommunity (i. e. studies independent from culture, global and universal phenomena and facts) influence aims, contents and objects of bilingual subject teaching.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

The Bilingual Triangle (Hallet, 1998, p. 119)

There are phases in class when the focus of teaching lies more on one of these three aspects. But the bilingual teacher should be aware that all three parts are equally important and need to be taken into consideration – notably in terms of intercultural teaching and competence.

3 Teaching Geography

The following chapter describes teaching principles for bilingual Geography teaching. On the one hand, it explains the components which are important for building a curricular framework for bilingual Geography teaching. On the other hand, this chapter also explicates specific facets of the subject Geography in the bilingual classroom context.

3.1 Curricular framework for bilingual Geography

The following scheme[3] shows how bilingual Geography teachers and politicians work out a schedule for bilingual Geography teaching, and what aspects are important in order to make good Geography lessons work.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Conceptual curricular framework for bilingual Geography teaching (Ernst, p. 79)

There are three aspects – students, society and science – which are all important for the creation of aims, contents, methods and media of Geography teaching. For instance, the students’ reality of life, experiences and interests, which they bring into class, have to be taken into consideration. On the other hand there are social aims about education and a certain expectancy regarding to subject teaching as well as science which play an important role of defining structures and methods in the subject itself and being the central reference point.

3.2 Subjects of bilingual Geography

A first access to this general didactics-framework in the subject Geography gives the next more concrete scheme about what bilingual Geography lessons should contain.[4]

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Bilingual Geography (Haupt/Wiederstädt, p. 48, changed)

This map shows the general and most important aspects of bilingual Geography lessons. It points out in what way these components can be realized in class. The most central aspects that relate to bilingual Geography teaching are geographical contents, special working methods in this subject, student-orientation and language.

Geographical contents are firstly realized by contents of this specific subject. They are based on socio-geographical contents, cultural-geographical contents, that are both together human-geographical contents, and physical-geographical contents like climate, construction of the earth, changes and processes in landscape-characters, geomorphology etc. Secondly, geographical contents regard to intercultural studies. Students do not only analyze phenomena and facts about their own culture, but they also get to know much about other foreign cultures. The third aspect of this component is the connection with other subjects such as Politics, History, Biology and English. There are many topics in Geography, which can only be intelligible in connection with historical information, biological or chemical background and political knowledge. Teaching should always be a network between the main subject and other subjects in order to realize holistic teaching and studies.

On the one hand special working methods mean a proper way of presenting things in class. This means either presentation done by the teacher or by the students themselves. The other factor of working methods is media-analysis. In Geography lessons teacher often discuss topics by means of pictures, graphic arts, maps, statistics, and texts with their students, but they should also use new media like CD-ROM and internet as sources of information, and movies/film documentations to illustrate the contents.

The third aspect of teaching – student-orientation – shows, in what way the pupil is/should be the central person in class, and that the pupil himself should elaborate different topics by various ways of studying. These ways are, for instance, connected learning, open learning, project-oriented learning, and learning by discovery.

All these three components in the scheme are not only components of bilingual Geography teaching but also general aspects of teaching at all. But what makes these aspects relate to bilingual Geography teaching is the language. In “ordinary” Geography lessons are specific terms for geographic purposes and scientific terminology as well as a language of general communication. In bilingual classes these language types are mostly realized in the target language but also connected with German.

4 Implementation of the Bilingual Triangle in Geography

This chapter contains a study unit of five Geography lessons with regard to the Hessian curriculum in the Oberstufe at Gymnasien and the previously elucidated Bilingual Triangle. The overall theme of this study unit is “migration”.

4.1 Migration – one aspect in the Hessian Curriculum for Geography at Gymnasien

Because there is not yet a bilingual curriculum for Geography in Hesse, teachers have to adapt the normal German curriculum to their bilingual teaching. Therefore, this study unit is also based on this monolingual German Hessian curriculum for Geography.

Migration is one of the human-geographical aspects that should be dealt with during the course of Geography at Hessian Gymnasien.[5] In Geography classes in the Oberstufe – in particular in Leistungskursen – there are several topics which include discussions about migration. The overall theme in year 12.1 “Space-oriented structures and arrangements in the Federal Republic of Germany” consists of three mandatory topics such as “Germany and Europe: Integration processes” (63 lessons in total), which focuses on transport, transfer, trade and traffic within Europe and includes migrational processes in, to and from Europe and problems that are related to migration.[6]

Year 13.2 works on the theme “The Asian-pacific region – economic centre of the future!?” (43 lessons in total).[7] At this stage the Hessian curriculum builds up a connection to interdisciplinary studies with History and Social Studies; “migration” is a topic that enables links between these subjects and the overall human-geographical theme.

4.2 Draft of a bilingual Geography lesson

The following draft of five bilingual Geography lessons shall realize Hallet’s theoretical concept of three aspects of teaching Geography bilingually and the topic “migration”. It is designed for a class of year 12 in the course of 12.1 in a Hessian Leistungskurs.[8]


[1] Bach, Gerhard (2000): Bilingualer Unterricht: Lernen – Lehren – Forschen. In: Bilingualer Unterricht – Grundlagen, Methoden, Praxis, Perspektiven, ed. by. G. Bach und S. Niemeier. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, p. 14.

[2] Hallet, W. (1998): The Bilingual Triangle. Überlegungen zu einer Didaktik des bilingualen Sachfachunterrichts. In: Praxis des neusprachlichen Unterrichts, volume 45 (2), p. 119.

[3] Ernst, Michael (2003): Ausbildung für den Unterricht im bilingualen Sachfach Erkunde im Rahmen des Vorbereitungsdienstes für das Lehramt an saarländischen Gymnasien und Gesamtschulen. In: Bilingualer Geographieunterricht. Konzepte – Praxis – Forschung. Geographiedidaktische Forschungen Band 37, hg. v. R. Hoffmann. Hochschulverband für Geographie und ihre Didaktik e. V. (Selbstverlag), p. 79.

[4] Haupt, D. & Wiederstädt, W. (2003): Geography – Methoden und Medien im bilingualen Geographieunterricht. In: Praxis des bilingualen Unterrichts, ed. by. M. Wildhage und E. Otten. Berlin: Cornelsen, p. 48.

[5] Hessisches Kultusministerium: Lehrplan Erdkunde. Gymnasialer Bildungsgang. Jahrgangsstufen 5 bis 13, p. 1-38.

[6] Hessisches Kultusministerium: p. 24.

[7] Hessisches Kultusministerium: p. 35.

[8] You will find an overview of the study unit in appendix 8, p. 27f.

Excerpt out of 28 pages


The bilingual triangle: Teaching content and language integrated geography
University of Frankfurt (Main)  (IEAS)
Hauptseminar HS Content and Language Integrated Learning
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
528 KB
Die Arbeit entält einen Entwurf einer Unterrichtseinheit für das Fach Erdkunde/Bilingual.
Teaching, Hauptseminar, Content, Language, Integrated, Learning
Quote paper
Evelyn Schmitz (Author), 2007, The bilingual triangle: Teaching content and language integrated geography, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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