What is content-based instruction (CBI) and what are the advantages of teaching using this method?
Creating fun lessons is all about the content taught, and the way in which that content is portrayed. Requesting that students simply remember a list of words and definitions with nothing to relate them to isn’t just boring it’s also highly ineffective.
In order to combat this boredom and make learning more efficient, we employ a teaching method known as Content-Based Instruction (CBI), or Content-Based Learning/Content-Based Language Teaching (CBLT).
Introduction to Content-Based Instruction (CBI)
Content-Based Instruction (CBI) employs a teach through content approach with lessons that focus on the language surrounding a common subject matter.
In a similar fashion to how children learn, CBI helps students develop linguistic abilities that are directly tied to a situation or scenario they’re likely to encounter in day-to-day life.
In this scenario the language is used a tool for developing knowledge about the topic. This technique allows students to immediately put into practice what they’ve just learnt, which greatly improves memory rention, even for those who typically have difficulty remembering information from a book or lecture.
The practical, hands on method of learning provided by CBI lessons naturally creates a comfortable environment in which students are encouraged to interact, those who get involved find additional reward and as a result want to engage more.
We encourage and nurture this behavior, because when it comes to success, developing good social skills can be just as important as intelligence.
Benefits of CBI
Content-based instruction has become increasingly popular in recent years. Many schools and institutions now employ the technique, so you’ll no-doubt see the term being used in conjunction with learning a foreign language, and with good reason, studies have shown many benefits from the CBI approach.
The effectiveness of taking a CBI approach to teaching is indisputable. Studies as far back as that conducted by Brinton, Snow, & Wesche in 1989  have shown the significance of CBI, and the increasing number of language lessons that employ the technique would certainly agree.
What Do CBI Classes Consist Of?
Content-based instruction classes begin by first selecting a concept, technique, or scenario from a particular subject. These topics may include everything from a science experiment to a popular move, film or pop-star, and are often arranged in a series of related lessons that build upon the previous in a logical succession.
Classes start with preparation where students are handed all the learning materials and language terminology that will be used.
Minimizing the amount of information a student is simply required to remember and instead shifting focus toward learning in relation to a specific situation, helps the memory better retain the info.
They are given a small research task or exercise, together with the information required to fulfill the requirement.
Once the research is complete students then share and exchange the new information they have discovered. Finally a presentation ir made, or report submitted with the aim of demonstrating what they’ve just learnt.
Why We Use Content-Based Instruction
Content-Based Language Teaching (CBLT) is arguably the best teaching method to learn English as a second language. Learning from textbooks has it merits, but studying vocabulary that will be used daily, both formally and informally, can really aid progression.
Based in the multi-cultured metropolis of Bangkok, Thailand, many of our students are already exposed to a second language on a daily basis. Therefore all our lessons include a certain amount of language study, and for this we find CBI favorable in several ways.
Authentic Exposure to Second Language
Improved Performance for Better Grades
Organization & Time Management
By utilizing CBI to develop English language competency, students can see accelerated learning rates not only in language classes but in all areas of study and life. As fluency improves so too does confidence, and with more confidence not only will study become easier, results are also likely to get better.