Secondary school teachers have lately been involved in training programmes aimed at promoting Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). In Italy, these training programmes have also been offered by Universities which were asked to train both in methodology and in English language.
The present contribution will illustrate the experience with a class of adult learners attending a CLIL course at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy. These learners were secondary school teachers who were expected to teach their subject(s) in English and who may be regarded as a new generation of learners. The course was meant to focus on English language acquisition only; the students attending it were expected to master ESL at the C1 level of the CEFR (2001). After the administration of an entry test, it soon became apparent that these learners needed help, in particular in tackling listening comprehension tasks. As a matter of fact, listening is an activity which involves decoding an aural input and this, by its own nature, poses a great challenge since decoding can only happen during a limited amount of time and sometimes the listener may not be granted a second chance. This applies, for instance, to announcements concerning the news or public transport, and to foreign language examinations when listening comprehension is assessed (Buck, 2001; Brunfaut, 2016).
In order to maximise their learning experience and to foster effective listening comprehension – in an attempt to help them attain the C1 level –, not only did the learners rely on the textbook adopted, but they were also provided with some self-access facilitites which included, along with the traditional workbook with keys, an instructor-led online platform, graded online listening resources, online videos specifically meant for the target students.
In this way, the learners were engaged in autonomous learning at their own pace and according to their needs (Godwin-Jones, 2011; Heift, 2004; Holec, 1988; Lai, 2017; Schwienhorst, 2011; Tomlinson, 2010) in terms of content, language level, and mode (paper-based vs technology-based). Moreover, since they were professionals who were expected to teach their subject(s) to their own students, they were also taught how to effectively use some of these resources within their own classes, fostering the lifelong language learning process and raising awareness in terms of effective listening comprehension.
In order to investigate whether the new measures proved fruitful, performances of candidates were observed by comparing scores of the listening subtest administered as an entry test and of the listening testlet administered as a proficiency test at the end of the course. In particular, data observation concerned the same people tested on those two different occasions. By observing these data, it seems plausible to state that the extra resources provided proved beneficial to some candidates, whereas for those who failed the listening test administered at the end of the course, the reasons may be manifold and deserve further investigation.
Questo contributo illustra l'esperienza con una classe di adulti che hanno frequentato un corso linguistico CLIL presso UNIMORE. Si tratta di insegnanti di scuola secondaria di II grado a cui viene chiesto di insegnare la loro materia in inglese e che possono essere considerati una nuova generazione di apprendenti. Il corso era incentrato sull'apprendimento dell'inglese al livello C1 del CEFR.
Dopo il test d'ingresso è subito emersa la necessità di aiutare questi apprendenti, in particolare nella comprensione orale. Per renderla più efficace sono state messe a loro disposizione risorse di autoapprendimento online, quali piattaforma gestita dall'insegnante, ascolti graduati, video espressamente pensati per questi discenti.
Al fine d'indagare la bontà delle misure messe in campo, sono state osservate le performance dei candidati nella prova di ascolto del test d'ingresso e in quella dell'esame finale.
After her degree summa cum laude in Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, Margherita Pelleriti taught – as a certified teacher – ESL at University Language Centres and state schools for nine years. She now works at the Language Centre of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy; her main activities include language advising and language testing. She is also interested in dyslexia in relation to language learning and language testing. She has given presentations at national and international conferences and seminars, published some papers and co-authored two English coursebooks. She was awarded an MA Language Testing degree from Lancaster University; she is a UKALTA member. She has taught a CLIL course. She is a peer reviewer for some international journals.