Keith Kelly

Keith Kelly

A crowd of 600 tto-teachers bustled at “De Reehorst”, 1 November.  As always the Dutch annual meeting, organised by the European Platform, was an inspiring event. I was most impressed by a key note speaker, Keith Kelly.

Keith Kelly is a teacher in the English-German bilingual grammar school in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and is a freelance bilingual education and CLIL consultant. He is an experienced teacher trainer, and is an Associate Tutor for the Norwich Institute for Language Education (NILE) and a team member of Science Across the World. Keith is a fellow of the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry and is founder and coordinator of the Forum for Across the Curriculum Teaching ( Keith is author of many articles and CLIL resources including Macmillan’s Science and Geography Vocabulary Practice Series and he is consultant to Macmillan’s onestopclil website.

Kelly has pored over a lot of textbooks to identify and categorise phrases which are useful when writing and speaking within the context of a subject. For example, describing typicality within geography:

  • (is) characteristic of / for
    Deforestation has long been characteristic of development, as people create more land for farming and settlement, and wood for fuel.
  • (is) unique of / for
    The wetlands are unique for the chemical properties of rare flora and fauna, which environmentalists are anxious to protect.
  • (is) typical of / for
    These crops provide the wine, olive oil and pasta so typical of southern Italian traditional meals.
Picasso, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907 - detail

Picasso, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907 - detail

A comprehensive list of such phrases can be found at

Though all the examples given relate to geography, it is clear that students can be provided with language building bricks across the curriculum. Such phrases constitute formal general academic language. As an art teacher I could train my students to use these phrases in their essays:

Perspective had long been characteristic of European Art, as artists had been perceiving space from a mathematically defined standpoint from Early Renaissance until the Modernist Revolution in the first decades of the twentieth century.

The artistic climate in early twentieth century Paris was unique for the exchange of ideas between a rare bunch of innovative painters.

As early as 1907  Picasso’s paintings suddenly showed the ambiguous representation of space so typical of Cubism.

It certainly would enhance my student’s writing skills, and mine, for that matter.



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