We would like to draw your attention to recent academic publications related to CLIL. Clicking on the title will lead you to the article.

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Aiello, J., Di Martino, E., & Di Sabato, B. (2017). Preparing teachers in Italy for CLIL: reflections on assessment, language proficiency and willingness to communicate. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 20(1), 69-83.

  • The purpose of this study is to open a window onto Italian Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) teachers’ language competence and the ways it is currently being assessed by presenting a specific case: one testing session of the first batch of future CLIL teachers aimed at assessing their level of competence in a foreign language, in which the authors were personally involved as decision makers, organisers and observers. To provide an insight into the issue, this paper first contextualises Italian CLIL teacher training within policy recommendations provided by the European Union and the Italian Ministry of Education. Secondly, it describes in detail the specific decision-making process related to the evaluation of aspiring CLIL teachers in Southern Italy in the vehicular language, to explore suggestions for and issues related to such evaluation. Finally, it presents the outcomes of this evaluation, drawing on survey and observational data, to uncover the descriptive characteristics of the individuals involved in the analysis (teachers in Southern Italy who volunteered to be future CLIL teachers), the extent to which they displayed willingness to communicate in the vehicular language of instruction and differences that emerged in perceived and actual proficiency, and across subgroups. The different perspectives of policy, test development and test outcomes inform suggestions for training of CLIL teachers in the Italian context and beyond.


Catalán, R. M. J., & Llach, M. P. A. (2017). CLIL or time? Lexical profiles of CLIL and non-CLIL EFL learners. System, 66, 87-99.

  • Recently, there has been considerable research concerning the effect of CLIL on English language learners’ competence. However, it remains unclear if the positive effects found are due to CLIL or to time. To clarify this issue, this paper focuses on the vocabulary output of CLIL and non-CLIL EFL learners after an equal number of hours of English exposure. The objectives were twofold: (1) to ascertain whether the CLIL group retrieves a higher number of English words than the non-CLIL group; (2) to determine whether the two groups produce the same or different words. The sample comprised 70 Spanish EFL learners in their 8th and 10th year of secondary education. The data collection instrument was a lexical availability task consisting of ten prompts. The data were edited, coded, and subjected to quantitative and qualitative analyses. The results showed that the CLIL group retrieved a higher number of words than the non-CLIL group. However, both groups exhibited similarities concerning most and least productive prompts, first word responses, word frequency, and word level. The findings suggest a need to conduct equal comparisons of CLILs and non-CLIL groups as well as to examine the task effect, and the vocabulary input received by learners.


Ceallaigh, T.J.Ó. & S. Ní Mhurchú, D. Ní Chróinín. (2017). Balancing content and language in CLIL: the experiences of teachers and learners. Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education, vol 5, issue 1, 58-86.

  • This research study examined the experiences of teachers and learners as they engaged with a CLIL programme, a physical education course being taught through the medium of the Irish language (L2) in English-medium primary schools in the Republic of Ireland. Five primary fourth grade teachers and the students (9–10 years old) in their classes from three primary schools in the Republic of Ireland participated in a unit of physical education (4–8 lessons) through the medium of the Irish language. Qualitative data collection and analysis included direct observation of lessons, an interview with each teacher, teachers’ written reflections and a focus group with 3–5 students from each class. Teachers reported that students became highly motivated as they were given the opportunities to use the Irish language in situations of personal choice. This new autonomy and motivation in turn fostered confidence and competence in language use. Several complex and persistent pedagogical challenges (e.g. balancing content and language in instruction) were uncovered in the analysis of data. This study increases our understanding of the complexity of the processes underlying and shaping a coherent CLIL pedagogy. Findings shed light on the yet-to-be-realised potential of CLIL as a lived embodied reality for all.


Lasagabaster, D. (2017). Integrating content and foreign language learning. Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education, vol. 5, issue 1. 4-29.

  • Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) programmes have recently gained momentum in many European countries in the belief that students will significantly improve their foreign language proficiency while content learning is not negatively affected. Based on a longitudinal qualitative approach, this article focuses on students’ reflections on their experience with CLIL. Previous studies have shown that students are able to reflect on organizational conditions and their learning process, while their reflections allow researchers to identify some of the key elements in students’ beliefs. Through focus groups carried out over a three-year period, this study gathers secondary education students’ reflections on their motivational stance, the CLIL experience, and the use of their linguistic repertoire in the CLIL classroom. By tapping into students’ language beliefs, reflections, and motivation, a clearer picture of CLIL settings will be available by bringing to light both the strengths and weaknesses of these programmes.


Pappa, S., Moate, J., Ruohotie-Lyhty, M., & Eteläpelto, A. (2017). Teachers’ pedagogical and relational identity negotiation in the Finnish CLIL context. Teaching and Teacher Education, 65, 61-70.

  • This study explores the professional identity of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) teachers in Finnish primary education. It aims at explaining how CLIL teachers negotiate their pedagogical and relational identity, and how identity agency is exercised in negotiating a more encompassing professional identity. Thematic analysis of thirteen interviews outlines the bi-directional process of identity negotiation between personal and professional resources, and social contexts at work. The results highlight a connection between professional identity and agency, and suggest that identity negotiation is a process of working and sharing with others, but also individually.


Rumlich, D. (2017). CLIL theory and empirical reality – two sides of the same coin? Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education, vol 5, issue 1, 58-86.

  • This article summarizes the essential theoretical and empirical findings of a large-scale doctoral dissertation study on content and language integrated learning (CLIL) streams at German secondary schools () with up to three content subjects taught in English (Rumlich, 2016) . A theoretical account rooted in teaching English as a foreign language (EFL), language acquisition and educational psychology provides the basis for the development of a comprehensive longitudinal model of general EFL proficiency, which incorporates cognitive, affective-motivational, and further individual variables.

    In a second step, the model is used to estimate the effects of CLIL on general EFL proficiency, EFL self-concept and interest over a span of two school years (Year 6 to Year 8). The statistical evaluation of the quasi-experimental data from 1,000 learners finds large initial differences prior to CLIL due to selection, preparation, and class composition effects brought about by the implementation of CLIL within streams. After two years, the analyses found no CLIL-related benefits for general EFL proficiency or interest in EFL classes and solely a minor increase in EFL self-concept that might be attributable to CLIL. The results make a strong claim for comprehensive longitudinal model-based evaluations and the inclusion of selection, preparation, and class composition effects when conducting research on CLIL programmes in similar settings. The findings also suggest that not all language competences and affective-motivational dispositions might benefit from CLIL (the way it is currently taught in Germany) to the same extent.