Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Encuentro, Journal of Research and Innovation in the Language Classroom

I am a great follower of the blog by Pilar Torres and I have talked about it before. Pilar Torres is language advisor in the Teachers Centre in Cordoba, Spain. Her blog is a great source of information about research on languages, educational program, CLIL, resources and so on.
 
In her blog I learnt about Encuentro, an online journal sponsored by the Faculty of Arts, Education and Tourism of the University of Alcalá in Spain. It is part of the Open Access Journal Movement so all the information is available online for free. Numerous linguists, professors, teacher trainers from different universities are involved in developing the journal, therefore the high standards of the published articles is guaranteed.

The goals of the journal are clearly stated on the website: Encuentro’s focus is on training in didactics and methodology, and on the development of classroom research and habits of reflection on the part of language teachers. Accordingly, the journal publishes articles in the following fields: applied linguistics, language teaching and learning, values and interculturality, literature teaching, and related matters; it also publishes accounts of classroom research and innovation.

Until 2004 the journal was published in printed format. From that date on the journal is published online and all the previous numbers are also available.

The last number, 2012, offers a monograph on CLIL. Bilingual programs using a CLIL approach have been growing steadily in the last 10 years and there is great interest in developing strategies to improve their implementation.

All the articles are interesting but I would like to point out three of them that I believe can clarify aspects to face the challenges that we encounter in our work.
  • Interview with professor María Jesús Frigols. Professor Frigols  works at the VIU (Valencia International University). She currently teaches graduate and post graduate education students.  She has also been involved in developing most of the linguistic policies and strategies implemented by the European Union. In the interview she analyzes some of the issues teachers need to challenge when implementing CLIL in various educational systems in Europe. Her advice to implement CLIL successfully is simple: continuous professional development, integrate the curriculum and collaboration among teachers. Advice that has been always present in this blog. 
  • The second article is by Peeter Mehisto: Criteria for Producing CLIL Learning Material. In a previous post, I talked about an article, with the same title, by Peeter Mehisto in which he gave clear strategies and steps to produce good CLIL resources. In this article he expands the ideas presented and he gives us specific examples of CLIL resources. He also provides information about the rationale he has followed to choose the criteria to elaborate the CLIL materials.
  • The third article is from the 2011 journal: Use of Authentic Materials in the ESP Classroom by Gabriela Torregrosa & Sonsoles Sanchez-Reyes, University of Salamanca. I have introduced various authentic materials for the Spanish class in the blog because I  do believe they can be very useful in the bilingual classes . In the previous article by Peeter Mehisto, he speaks about the importance of  "incorporating authentic language and authentic language use" in our CLIL materials. This last article gives us "a review of the different opinions of experienced authors and their arguments for and against the use of realia and authentic materials in the ESP classroom". Although the article centres resources for the English for Specific Purposes Class, the content can be adapted for our needs in a Spanish bilingual program.
Encuentro can be an excellent source of information on research on languages, CLIL and language acquisition. The articles have an outstanding quality and deal, in many cases, with issues that we need to face every day in our classes. It is a good idea to save the link in our favourites.