In recent years content-based instruction has become increasingly wide-spread as a means of developing linguistic competence. It has strong connections to project work, task-based learning and a holistic approach to language instruction and has become particularly popular within the state school secondary (11–16 years old) education sector. The focus of a CBI lesson is on the topic or subject matter. During the lesson students are consentrated on learning about something. This could be anything that interests them from a serious science subject to their favourite film star or even a topical news story or song. They learn about this subject using the language they are trying to learn, rather than their native one, as a tool for gaining knowledge and so they develop their linguistic ability in the target language. This is thought to be a more natural way of developing language competence and one that corresponds more to the way we originally learn our first language. CBI can make learning a language more engaging and motivating. Students can use the language to gain a real goal, which can make students more independent and confident. Students can also develop a much wider knowledge of the world through CBI which can influence improving and supporting their general educational needs. CBI is also very popular among EAP (English for Academic Purposes) teachers as it helps students to develop valuable study skills such as note taking, summarising and extracting key information from texts. Taking information from different sources, re-evaluating and restructuring that information can help students to develop very valuable thinking skills that can then be transferred to other subjects. The inclusion of group work can also help students to develop their collaborative skills, which can have great social value. As CBI isn't explicitly focused on language learning, some students may feel confused or may even feel that they are not improving their language skills. We should deal with this by including some form of language focused follow-up exercises to help draw attention to linguistic features within the materials and consolidate any difficult vocabulary or grammar points. It is considered that learning content and language together keeps students interested and motivated. They understand the relevance of what they are studying and that language is a means of learning.
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