31 SES 16 A, CLIL in Predominantly Anglophone Countries – Pluriliteracies Teaching for Learning Part 1
Symposium to be continued in 31 SES 17 A
The present paper gives insights into a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) project in South Tyrol, Italy. It examines value obtained by the interplay of multiple school subjects and languages from the viewpoint of the students and teachers. The goals of the CLIL project included the acquisition of an increased confidence in their language skills by the students, lower the inhibition thresholds of studying content in a non-native language, and investigate benefits and challenges of cross-curricular learning. South Tyrol has three language groups: German, Italian, and Ladin. Each student is entitled to choose their first language as main language of instruction. By the end of their upper secondary education, all students are at least independent users of three or more languages (German, Italian, and English) according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Still, language proficiency often remains a hurdle when choosing workplaces or higher education courses in their non-native language domain. This CLIL research took place in a secondary school in South Tyrol with German as the main language of instruction. All students take classes in Italian as a second language and English as an additional language. The CLIL project introduced English as the medium of instruction to deliver an interdisciplinary CLIL unit with the title Genetic Engineering. It represents the combination of three subject-specific concepts in Science, Philosophy, and English as an Additional Language (EAL). The project involved 13 senior-level high school students, aged 18-19, where ten students speak German as their first language, the other three speak Ladin. In Science, the students study genetics and learn about genetically modified (GM) food. In Philosophy, they explore ethical limits of science and medicine by discussing arguments such as preimplantation genetic diagnosis. The EAL aspect addresses current international discussions on genetic research and designer babies as well as the reading of related English literature, specifically Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. The CLIL project was evaluated from a teacher and student perspective. The teachers assessed the acquired skills, competences and knowledge and gave feedback on challenges. Furthermore, in interviews, the students reflected on encountered difficulties and estimated their language inhibition thresholds as well as confidence gained during this CLIL unit. In addition, students evaluated their personal interest and motivation, the degree of language and content acquisition and additional benefits acquired for their personal life.
Coyle, D., Hood, P & Marsh, D. (2010). CLIL. Content and Language Integrated Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
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