We would like to draw your attention to recent academic publications related to CLIL.

Click on the ‘read more’ button to read the abstracts.

Gierlinger, E. M. (2017). Teaching CLIL?. Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education, 5(2), 187-213.

  • CLIL (content and language integrated learning) is an educational approach where a classroom subject is taught through a second language. However, its core features are ambiguously interpreted. Research on CLIL teaching has consistently shown that teachers focus their methodological efforts on the teaching of subject matter concepts and take any language related aspects mostly as by-products of such an approach. This has led to only sparsely planned methodological efforts when it comes to the teaching of language. Contrary to this, it is argued in this hermeneutical study that thinking and language acquisition are inextricably intertwined and CLIL teachers are therefore by definition also language teachers. Following this, the author reports on a pedagogical CLIL model, named SALT, that was devised for and successfully implemented in CLIL training courses to support subject teachers on their way to becoming language-aware CLIL teachers. Pedagogical procedures of the model’s principles and concepts are also presented.

Hüttner, J., & Smit, U. (2017). Negotiating political positions: subject-specific oral language use in CLIL classrooms. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 1-16.

  • While research on CLIL suggests positive impacts on lexical proficiency and on spoken language, the crucial question of the effect of CLIL on advanced learners, both in terms of subject-specific language (SSL) proficiency and content knowledge, has received less attention. We argue that the ability to negotiate a factual position appropriately is a key element of SSL, relating to both content and to foreign language ability. As a theoretical framework for understanding these negotiations of generally opposing standpoints, we use argumentation theory. The study was conducted in upper-secondary CLIL classes on European economics and politics in Austria. From the data set of 16 hours of video-recording, comprising teacher-whole class interactions, group work, and role plays, episodes of argumentation were extracted and analysed. Two types of argumentation patterns emerge, with one focused on the joint construction and learning of new SSL and content knowledge, and the other on the enactment of such knowledge in interaction. Students’ engagement in these argumentations gives clear evidence of their SSL proficiency in prepared and unprepared oral production. As the type of classroom event has an effect on the specific argumentation patterns, the need for exposing students to a diversity of educational practice is underlined.

Lasagabaster, D., Doiz, A. (2017). A longitudinal study on the impact of CLIL on affective factors. Applied Linguistics, 38, 688-712.

  • Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) programmes are burgeoning in European school contexts due to the widespread belief that they help to significantly improve foreign language learning while content learning is not negatively affected. However, some of its purported benefits still need to be empirically confirmed. Thus, while this approach is widely believed to positively influence students’ affective stance, research studies are scant, and hardly any are longitudinal in nature. In an attempt to fill this gap, the present longitudinal study aims to analyse the impact of CLIL on different affective components. The participants are 304 secondary education students who were enrolled in CLIL and non-CLIL programmes. Contrary to expectations and the reviewed literature, the downward motivational trend observed in non-CLIL students in previous studies was not found. The results also indicate that CLIL does not help to sustain students’ motivation over time, but motivation to learn the subject matter is maintained in CLIL classes.

Mearns, T., de Graaff, R. & Coyle, D. Motivation for or from bilingual education. A comparative study of learner views in the Netherlands. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 1-14.

  • Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) has been said to increase not only foreign language proficiency but also learner motivation (Coyle, D., P. Hood, and D. Marsh. 2010. CLIL: Content and Language Integrated Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). In contexts where CLIL is elective, however, the question can be raised as to whether its motivational effects can be distinguished from the pre-existing motivation that may have influenced the learner’s choice of educational route. The current study examined motivational differences between learners in Dutch-English bilingual and mainstream education. The aim was to establish whether the learner groups were differently motivated and whether their motivation appeared to be diachronically related to their chosen educational format. 581 learners in the first three years of general secondary education completed a questionnaire exploring their views on (language) learning. Results were analysed in terms of differences between bilingual and mainstream learners and across year-groups. Learners in bilingual education displayed more motivation in nearly all of the areas examined. There was little evidence, however, of this being a result of exposure to bilingual education, reinforcing the idea that motivation may be inherent to this group of CLIL learners.

Ruiz de Zarobe, Y., & Zenotz, V. (2017). Learning strategies in CLIL classrooms: how does strategy instruction affect reading competence over time?. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 1-13.

  • This article reports on an intervention study of reading comprehension among young learners of English as a third language (L3) in a multilingual (Spanish-Basque-English) context in the Basque Country. The study involves a pre-test post-test design, with an intervention of 7 weeks using two intact groups of participants that served as experimental and control groups in CLIL classrooms, where a number of subjects are taught through the L3: English. Findings indicate that reading awareness and strategy use were enhanced following the training. While both the control and the experimental group improved over time, the experimental group showed statistically significant gains in reading comprehension, outperforming the control group. Furthermore, this difference was maintained over a two-year period, with the experimental group showing a marked improvement in reading competence. This study has implications for the fields of learning strategies and instructional strategies with respect to children learning a foreign language in CLIL contexts.

Roussel, S., Joulia, D., Tricot, A., & Sweller, J. (2017). Learning subject content through a foreign language should not ignore human cognitive architecture: A cognitive load theory approach. Learning and Instruction, 69-79.

  • Several widely implemented educational approaches aim to provide academic content in a foreign language. While Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) works because it focuses both on content and on foreign language learning, approaches aiming at transmitting academic content through a foreign language should not be implemented without explicit foreign language instructional support. Based on cognitive load theory, there are theoretical reasons to hypothesize that exposure to new content in a foreign language without any foreign language instructional support may interfere with rather than facilitate learning compared to learning language and content separately. In three experiments conducted in higher education, a text was presented to 294 students in three different conditions: native language, foreign language, and foreign language with a translation into the native language. We varied the foreign language (English, German) and the domain (Law, Computer Science). Our results indicated that reading in the foreign language was never the best condition to learn either language or academic content. We concluded that considerable care should be taken when transmitting academic content in a foreign language, without explicit foreign language instructional support.

Wu, R. (2017). Trilingual education for ethnic minority groups in China with special reference to trilingual CLIL education in Europe: an Exploratory Study. European Journal of Language Policy, 9(2), 203-226.

  • China has long been a multiethnic and multilingual country, and the language of instruction at schools has always been of significance among all the issues concerning education for ethnic minorities. Members of each ethnic minority have to learn their minority language to maintain their culture identity, to learn the national language, Chinese, to set into the mainstream modern society and also to learn English to compete on the international stage. During last decades, the issue of trilingual education for ethnic minorities has gradually attracted the attention of policy-makers, researchers, and practitioners in China. Meanwhile, many issues and problems come along with the current implementation of trilingual education. It is suggested that it would be beneficial to find implications and solutions through the analysis of experienced and successful trilingual education system. Thus, this article aims at taking a case study of Uyghur minority trilingual education, analysing its issues and problems and generating the corresponding implications with reference to the successful minority trilingual education featured with the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) approach in the European Union.