31 SES 05 B, Focus on Content Through Language: Models, Materials, Motivations
Content and Language Integrate Learning (CLIL) involves the teaching of subject-matter curriculum areas (e.g., History or Science), through a language other than the learners’ first language (e.g., English, for students who are native speakers of French or German). Across Europe, CLIL is now generally well recognised as having potential as an alternative approach to language learning and using, with particularly significant take-up in the last twenty years since being identified as a key strategy within the European Commission’s 2004 ‘Action Plan’, Promoting Language Learning and Linguistic Diversity (Commission of the European Communities, 2003).
This paper argues for a new research agenda to continue developing CLIL taking into account existing research and educational change. That is, by critically examining how the European experience to date has shaped the existing knowledge base for CLIL, how this knowledge base might continue to evolve across new contexts beyond Europe is indeed timely.
In mainland Europe, English has long been the most commonly taught modern foreign language in schools, and this focus on English has transferred to the application of CLIL. Similarly, CLIL’s more recent expansion throughout South America (e.g. Siqueira, Landau and Paraná, 2018), Asia (e.g. Ito, 2018; Yang, 2015), and the Middle East (e.g. Riddlebarger, 2013) has continued to spread the use of English as the main language of instruction in CLIL contexts.
We take up the challenge of considering how the specificities of language learning in predominantly Anglophone contexts might shape the existing EU-centric knowledge base for CLIL, highlighting the challenges that Anglophone-dominant countries face in the teaching of modern languages compared to non-Anglophone countries. Facing these challenges proposes a rapidly evolving research agenda for CLIL. Reviewing the development of CLIL in the UK and Australia as two specific examples, we argue why CLIL in such contexts is most often taught by language specialists, in contrast to content area specialists, as has often been the case in Europe.
The paper, then, considers how CLIL is enabling a new pedagogic model for mainstream modern languages teachers in these Anglophone dominant contexts, and how the same professional knowledge base might also have potential to bring more closely together an MFL and EAL pedagogic partnership—further extending the existing knowledge base of CLIL, as originally developed in Europe.
We consider the development of literacies for deeper learning across the curriculum (e.g. Meyer and Coyle, 2017). In this context, deeper learning requires scaffolded progression into the specific literacies of subject disciplines including for first language learners, for whom literacy skills and development will have been a fundamental part of the national curriculum. Bringing together what may seem to be separate strands of schooling echoes what Dale, Oostdam and Verspoor (2017: 368) refer to as the ‘lineage’ metaphor which captures and builds on different ‘lines of thinking’ about language teaching in school i.e. the teaching of foreign languages, second languages and first language and literacies. We acknowledge the growing trend towards an increasing holistic understanding of pedagogic practices.
A research agenda around the themes of sustainability (i.e., CLIL’s ongoing expansion and take up into new contexts), pedagogy (i.e., the situated nature of teaching/learning in terms of CLIL as a pedagogic model), and social justice (i.e., engagement of cultural and linguistic diversity, with specific attention to students from EAL backgrounds in Anglophone-dominant contexts) is proposed.
We adopt an historical analysis of the organic yet fragmented bottom-up trajectory of CLIL’s development in England, and then explore its further expansion through the top-down, systemic approach adopted in Australia. This comparative analysis of both Anglophone contexts enables a shared understanding of what makes CLIL distinctive as a pedagogic approach, in terms of what is retained in the ‘essence’ of the model as it transfers across contexts: originally from Europe, then England, then Australia. With this as our background, we draw on examples from empirical research across Anglophone-dominant contexts to illustrate how this evolution of CLIL’s application has continued to build knowledge about CLIL. We make the argument that given the rapidly changing nature of our multilingual and multicultural classrooms within these contexts, languages other than English have an increasingly vital role in expanding and pioneering integrated approaches to learning. These draw on cultural and linguistic pluralism and prioritize an equitable experience for all learners. Indeed, we use this position to refute Hall and Cook’s (2012: 297) claim that CLIL is ‘a notable manifestation of diehard monolingualism.’ In contrast, May’s (2014) ‘multilingual turn’ reminds us of shifts in demographic and social communities which impact on the dynamic of what we do in our classrooms and why. The adaptability of CLIL, therefore, has potential for increasing opportunities for plurilingual working in contexts where languages other than English are learned and used as a medium of learning in CLIL classrooms. Moreover, there is increasing convergence with EAL teachers through shared dialogue and practices, who often face similar challenges – examples include balancing content learning objectives with language and literacy development or using more than one language as the medium for learning to encourage culturally-rich experiences which meet the needs of individual learners (Cruickshank, 2019). EAL teachers’ expertise lies in supporting diverse learners to access the main curriculum in ways which value inclusivity and socially equitable practices and where multilingual pupils are seen as ‘strategic cultural negotiators, rather than deficit individuals requiring language support’ (Arshad, 2018: 50). Examples drawn on include data from EAL contexts within the current ADiBE project. This leads us to advance three themes for future research that we argue offer significant contributors for extending current scholarship: sustainability, social justice and learner-driven pedagogies.
If we acknowledge that ‘trends’ in education are subject to ebbs and flows – pedagogic short termism – then we suggest that urgent steps are now needed to enable more sustainable approaches for CLIL to evolve. In essence, CLIL’s capacity to develop deeper learning, and increased language competence, depends on becoming normalized as part of how schools engage with curriculum. A shared understanding of learning environments which promote diversity, monitor and support learning effectively over longer periods of time, require learner-driven inclusive pedagogies. These factors, alongside a systematic analysis of research studies to date, suggest an agenda for developing CLIL in current changing contexts. We offer some fundamental ‘big’ questions to add to the research agenda which we hope will provide a backdrop for critical debate and analysis, leading to a more shared understanding of the challenges – potential and real – inherent in successfully nurturing integrated learning contexts: - How might an expanded understanding of CLIL pedagogies enable our young people to be pluriliterate citizens? - What evidence suggests that CLIL can be developed in ways which enable access for all to multilingual, multicultural learning? - In which ways can CLIL theories and practices contribute new thinking to the Literacies Movement in both first and other languages?
ADiBE: https://adibeproject.com Arshad, R. (2018). “Decolonisation and Critical Race Theory – What’s the Relevance?” EAL Journal, 8 (Summer), 50–51. Commission of the European Communities. (2003). Promoting Language Learning and Linguistic Diversity: An Action Plan 2004-2006 (449 final). Brussels: Commission of the European Communities. Cruickshank, K. (2019). “Negotiating Content and Language for Quality Learning: What This Means in Secondary EAL and Science Programs.” Cross-curricular Language Learning: Putting CLIL into Practice. City: Sheffield Hallam Institute of Education: Sheffield, England. Dale, L., Oostdam, R., and Verspoor, M. (2017). “Searching for Identity and Focus: Towards an Analytical Framework for Language Teachers in Bilingual Education.” International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 21(3), 366–383. Hall, G., and Cook, G. (2012). “Own-Language Use in Language Teaching and Learning.” Language teaching, 45(3), 271–308. Holliday, A. (1994). Appropriate Methodology and Social Context, Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. Ito, Y. (2018). “CLIL in Practice in Japanese Elementary Classrooms: An Analysis of the Effectiveness of a CLIL Lesson in Japanese Traditional Crafts.” English Language Teaching, 11(9), 59–67. May, S. (2013). “The Multilingual Turn: Implications for SLA, TESOL, and Bilingual Education”. City: Routledge: London, England. Meyer, O., and Coyle, D. (2017). “Pluriliteracies Teaching for Learning: Conceptualizing Progression for Deeper Learning in Literacies Development.” European Journal of Applied Linguistics, 5(2), 199–222. Riddlebarger, J. (2013). Doing CLIL in Abu Dhabi. Asian EFL Journal, 15(4), 413-421. Siqueira, D. S. P., Landau, J., and Paraná, R. A. (2018). “Innovations and Challenges in CLIL Implementation in South America.” Theory Into Practice, 57(3), 196–203. Yang, W. (2015). “Content and Language Integrated Learning Next in Asia: Evidence of Learners’ Achievement in CLIL Education from a Taiwan Tertiary Degree Programme.” International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 18(4), 361–382
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