The Mindset Needed to Balance Language and Content

I’ve discussed in previous posts (this one in particular) that balancing language and content is one of the biggest challenges faced by teachers in a content-based language classroom.

But why?

As I read and reflect more on Content-Based Language Teaching (CBLT), I believe a lot of it has to do with mindset.

Specifically, I will share three mindsets in this post that I believe need to be resolved by a teacher before a proper balance between content and language. Continue reading “The Mindset Needed to Balance Language and Content”

What kind of Content-Based Instruction Do You Do?

As I read more and more of the literature on content-based language teaching (CBLT), I am becoming increasingly frustrated.

Why you might ask?

Because the field has done an incredibly poor job of defining what CBLT actually is.

I get it! There are many variations of CBLT around the world, but the fact that after a few decades we continue to fail to be consistent with terminology is just disheartening.

Before my teacher-readers stop reading (maybe you already have), I promise this matters a lot to you. (Really?) Really!

By clearly understanding the variations of CBLT, you can identify whether your program fits you and your students.

In this post, I will discuss three types of CBLT and which are appropriate for students and teachers.

Continue reading “What kind of Content-Based Instruction Do You Do?”

How to Write Great Content and Language Objectives

Far too many teachers ask themselves 5 minutes before class, “What am I going to teach today?”

I believe the vast majority of teachers want to be great and know they should have learning objectives.

But the truth is…writing learning objectives are hard.

Although learning objectives are usually the starting point for course reform, Wieman (2017) discovered that faculty often struggled with writing learning objectives and that beginning with teaching strategies was often an easier place to start.

Given its difficulty, it is no wonder teachers often default to “winging it” rather than writing learning objectives.

This difficulty is compounded for teachers who teach in content-based language teaching (CBLT) settings, which requires both content and language objectives.

In this post, I will demystify the writing of learning objectives step by step, giving you an easy to follow list for creating content and language objectives for your classroom. Continue reading “How to Write Great Content and Language Objectives”

The Connection Between Math and Language

This morning I was reading an article titled “How to make math a key part of your ELL curriculum.” In the article the author writes,

It also helps that numbers are numbers, and working with them is natural to speakers of any language.

It is a common assumption that math will be easier for English language learners. It’s just numbers, right?


While it seems on the surface that math would be transferable between languages because of numbers, it is actually a lot more complicated than that.

In this post, I will discuss some of the research that addresses the issue of language and math.

Continue reading “The Connection Between Math and Language”