CALICO Journal, Vol 7, No 4 (1989)

Working Smarter: Two Case Studies Using Foreign Language as a Tool and Subject Matter as Focus

Nick Eastmond, Jeffrey Mitchell
Issued Date: 7 Aug 2014


A recent trend in foreign language instruction makes use of a content-based approach, where a particular subject is taught in the target language. Students receive help in the language, but their main efforts are directed toward the mastery of a particular set of content. Advantages to this approach are (1) increased efficiency, i.e., instead of leaching or studying for two classes--a language class and one in the content area--only one class is involved, and (2) increased motivation, because some area of content is taught, presumably with applicability in the life of the student. Such an approach is not new, as it has been used in the advanced literature courses and as the model followed by the typical foreign student in a university setting. In the past, however, this approach has been reserved for only the most advanced students. This paper argues that such an approach can be undertaken much earlier in the language learning of most students, and that it can pay remarkable dividends by injecting a measure of reality into language courses. Two case studies demonstrate how a content-based approach can be used; one in a university setting and one in a military setting. In both cases, the increased challenge and motivation for students and teachers alike are apparent.

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DOI: 10.1558/cj.v7i4.19-25


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