The claims that CLIL is quite new - in order to get ahead of the pack, are often false, they are just "progressive" ideas from the 70s and 80s recycled.  Much of this section of the website is made up of quotations or abbreviations from Robert Peel's book, "Progressively worse", "The burden of bad ideas in British Schools". CIVITAS 2014. For me, it explains a lot of the claims for CLIL.

PROGRESSIVE IDEAS HAVE REAPPEARED DRESSED AS CLIL? Here are some ideas that were common in 70s to 90s Britain and are still strangely influential in a new context: CLIL!! (which incidentally cherry picks bits of previous methods!)

Neil McBeath. "I would firstly suggest that CLIL is not a matter of putting old wine in new bottles. CLIL, to me, looks more like putting old wine in old bottles and slapping on a new label".!!!!

1. Early 70s. The history working group were to look into the teaching of History. At the time there was a strong movement among history experts for The Schools History Project. The actual curriculum specified a reasonable level of historical content but the attainment targets were designed exclusively in terms of skills with no mention of historical knowledge. The minister, Baker was furious and sent it back. The group played for time and the next minister McGregor wouldn't fight the history establishment and capitulated. Margaret Thatcher was furious and sacked him, but even she couldn't change the final draft. Progressives 1-0!! In the preface, the author spoke of his pioneering work on skills based learning and what is known as the Competency Curriculum. (sound familiar!? Sorry, it's all the fault of the English. Scotland luckily has its own education.). The book condemned teacher led lessons as superficial and that frontal teaching just showed teacher egotism! (but see Hattie research: "Visible learning and the science of how we learn", disproving this view of teacher led as "progressive" myth)

2. 2010. Popular handbook for teachers on how to face OFSTED visits. - It's the government body that inspects schools and their lessons. Once there were warnings of dates. Now OFSTED inspectors and their team (!!) just appear! Good. No preparation and window dressing possible! The manual for, "The perfect OFSTED lesson". In the manual it was stated that OFSTED was looking for a focus on learning (novelty for schools!?), the development of thinking skills, opportunity for independent learning, a variety of strategies that take into account different elements of the individual learner's preferences (??!), strengths and weaknesses, the use of positive emotions (=?), great relationships,(?) clear goals, metacognitive creativity (=?) and the willingness to take a risk or two. (?) p.153 but where in all this generalised chat is the beef? It's just warm words. Appaling that experts were peddling all this flabby thinking.

3. In a book by Christadoulou, "To Miss with love", she reported how in the 34 lesson reports from OFSTED on English, only one involved any teaching of grammar, and even that was only on onomatopoeia and alliteration hardly grammar!

4. Hargreaves: New Line Learning. There is a need to move away from traditional approaches, to involve students in more choice and the opportunity to work independently. Project Based Learning offers a route forward here and in particular the use of meta-questions, such as, "Is all violence wrong", "Will science save us". But if such things are not to be just sloppy opinion and hearsay, actual knowledge within which to pose such questions is essential. Otherwise who needs education if we only ask such general questions. 

5. 2004. The head of OFSTED (no less!) Christine Gilbert (!!) wrote a report, -"2020 Vision". "Learners are active and curious: they create their own hypotheses, ask their own questions, coach each other, set goals for themselves, monitor their progress and experiment with ideas for taking risks, (?) knowing that mistakes and being stuck are part of learning. P.147 and what would actual teaching be like!? A student expects to be taught useful stuff, not tread water.

6. A 2006 report for the teachers union ATL entitled "Subject to change". A 21st century curriculum cannot have the transfer of knowledge at its core for the simple reason that the selection of what is required has become problematic in an information age"!! (So what on earth are schools for?  Ah "skills"!)

7. Waterland in a book that headed the reading list for popularity in Teacher training courses in the 80s had the ABSURD belief that reading could be "picked up (!!), like a cough". She had the mad idea that you could no more teach reading than you could teach a language; you could only acquire it. THAT SORT OF DIDACTIC THEORY IS just DISGRACEFULLY ignorant opinion. She was of course against phonics teaching and she found reading schemes, boring. Now nobody questions phonics and it's obvious that graded reading leads to competence and the motivation of "getting it".

8. RSA. 1999 "Opening minds". A curriculum to replace a subject based curriculum with one designed around 5 competencies: 1. Citizenship, 2. Learning, 3. managing information, 4. Relating to people, 5. Managing situations. This was enacted in 6% of schools. There was a particular disaster in Merseyside. The local council spent 157 million rebranding 7 schools as "centres of learning" (isn't that a school??). The centres were going to "rip up the rule book". Teachers were renamed ?progress leaders?, classrooms became "home bases" and "warehouses", and pupils were promised a "world class education". The head of one school said he would not be teaching knowledge as children can now sit on Google and find out anything at the "push of a button". (that is, if they have any "knowledge" to guide their "button pressing"!). Three years later, they had the worst GCSE results in the country for any local educational authority. Brave new world! (GCSE is a national exam at age 16)

9. 2010. Birbelsingh, teacher. Grade inflation. Exams getting easier. We have a situation where standards have been so dumbed down that even the children themselves know it. When I give them past exam papers to do from 1998, they groan and beg for one from 2006 because they know they are easier.

10. Professor Coe's research from 2008 showed that 6th formers awarded a C grade in the late 1980s would now at the same ability level, receive an A grade. Colin McCabe "Nobody who teaches A level has any doubt that A levels have been dumbed down, to use the pejorative term or democratised to use a more positive description".

11. A House of Lords committee report. In 2006-7 the Education Department and its agencies produced over 760 documents for schools. More than 2 a day, but no improvement!!! OECD 2013. England and N. Ireland is the only country in the developed world where literacy and numeracy levels amongst 16-24 year olds are no higher than among 55- 65 year olds.

12. Carl Rogers "Freedom to learn". .. "freeing the child from the yoke of teacher", (!!). "As I began to trust students. I changed from being a teacher and evaluator to being a facilitator of learning". How can such half-witted experts influence people?

13. "Child centred education is under pinned by Vigotsky's "Constructivism", and with such terms as "authentic", "self discovery", "intrinsically motivated learning". Professor John Hattie from University of Melbourne. In Visible learning, he synthesised 800 meta-analyses of academic research in order to judge the impact of 138 different teaching methods and school interventions. It brought together 50,000 individual research articles, involving an estimated 240 million students. Hattie also include the effects of "influences" and worked out an "effect" according to how they seemed to add to results. He ranked 138 different influences: eg "use of calculators", "pre term birth rate". Etc. The average of these were 0.4 the higher 0.6. Hattie 2012. "Educationists spend most of their time discussing things that don?t matter". "Teacher training is the most bankrupt institution I know". It became apparent that direct teaching was the most effective didactics, as was also found in the following, "Project Follow Through".

14. President Johnson ?Project Follow Through?. It cost a billion dollars, involved 10,000 low income students in 180 different communities and tested 9 different teaching models. One of these was "Direct Instruction". (=frontal teaching). Direct instruction achieved first place in nearly every measured outcome, including self-esteem. In academic skills, Direct Instruction outstripped all other methods. The worst was the Paigetian "Cognitive curriculum" and "open education Model". THIS WAS NEVER ACTED UPON. The education orthodoxy found it too counter to beliefs. Vigotsky. ?direct teaching of concepts is impossible and fruitless. A teacher who tries to do this usually accomplishes nothing but empty verbalisation, a parrot like repetition of words by the child". A common training text book. 2009. Piaget and Vigotsky have "common denominators as child centred approach". Three educational psychologists concluded that the constructivist theory of teaching is both widespread and incorrect. Peel. "The idea that students must "construct" their own knowledge with minimal guidance from a teacher is entirely erroneous". Again, what is the teacher there for? Ah "to facilitate".

15. Willingham. University of Virginia "Why don't students like school"? "Memory is the residue of thought"?.. "cognitive science is now demonstrating that many methods that have been cast aside by child centred educators are in fact valuable parts of the teacher's arsenal". "It is virtually impossible to become proficient at a mental task without extended practice".

16. 2010 Lazy teachers handbook. How your students learn more when you teach less!! Mick Waters who wrote 2007 national curriculum!!!! "The combination of independent learners and lazy teachers is the outstanding combination that every school should be striving for". Supporting this idea he said, "nearly every initiative coming from central government at the moment seems to revolve around individualised personalised and independent learning" (thanks to you Mr Waters!!).

17. Robert Peel. "Child centred teaching requires superhuman reserves of energy and time from the teacher.., done poorly (as almost inevitably) child centred teaching results in hours of directionless activities, wasted time, confusion and tedium. Formal methods are assumed to be boring and passive. (as disproof of this you only have to look at anonymous pupil comments in dropbox on my grammar lessons!" Michael Oakshott.  "teaching is a variegated activity which may include hinting, suggesting, urging, coaxing, encouraging, guiding, pointing out, conversing, instructing, informing, narrating, lecturing, demonstrating, exercising, testing, examining, criticising, correcting, tutoring, drilling".. the assumptions of child centred education is also contradicted by cognitive science?.

18. Steven Pinker. "It is evolutionary illogical to expect humans to acquire knowledge naturalistically when it is the historically contingent creation of civilisation".

19. Robert Peel.  "Hard work is not a fashionable concept in today's schools"... "The roots of education are bitter, but the fruits are sweet"! "A deputy head took me aside once and told me; "History is a skill-based curriculum. You should be able to teach it without knowing anything at all"!!! In Germany 86% of teachers reported using text books as the basis for science education for 10 year olds. In Korea 99%. In England 10%". Is this because of "self discovery"?

20. Highly influential Guy Claxton: "Building learning power". A modern curriculum should be concerned with "learnacy"(! Lunacy?) or "learning to learn"!!!! "..knowledge is changing so fast that we cannot "give" it because we don't know what it will be"!!! 1966 Head teacher: "the subject based curriculum is clearly inadequate". "The idea that our schools should remain content with equipping children with a body of knowledge is absurd and frightening". 2007. The "Department for education and skills"!!. ("skills" was a recent fashionable addition that speaks volumes!! The Department developed "a skills based national curriculum". OMG!!

21. Robert Peel. "Cognitive science has demonstrated that higher order thinking so prized by today's schools, is not an alternative to knowledge but entirely dependent upon it. Our ability to think about new problems relies upon the furniture of our long term memory known in cognitive psychology science as schema". Thinking and learning are domain specific.

22. De Groot experiment 1940s. The ability of chess players to memorise a chess position from an actual game, with 25 pieces on the board in the space of 5-10 seconds. Grandmasters could recall the position with 100% accuracy, masters 90% and novices just 5 or 6 pieces. De Groot then repeated the experiment, but this time the chess pieces were just randomly placed. When all were retested, no one in the 3 categories could remember more than 5 or 6 pieces!!!!!! = So, prior knowledge matters!! Grandmasters store around 50,000 chess positions in their long term memory. Similar results occurred with physicists, algebra and medicine. So, thinking well requires knowing facts, critical thinking processes ( a modern mantra) such as reasoning and problem solving are intimately entwined with factual knowledge that is stored in the long term memory. THAT IS WHAT TEACHERS MUST FILL!!!!! COMPARE a Harvard educationalist: "therefore instead of knowledge centred schools, we need thinking centred schools". Completely back to front!! A typical example of abstract thinking that looks for an open all "key", here, "thinking skill" to deliver an overall thought/concept rather than the uncontrollable, messy thingyness of reality: its nitty gritty.