Various Technical and Operational Definitions of CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning)

CLIL, content and language integrated learning, is one of the popular research variable studied by researchers around the world - as proven by significant amount of scholarly-published articles.

How is CLIL Defined in Scholarly-published Literature?

In worldwide practice, the term so called CLIL is used to cover bilingual immersion education (as applied in Canada), content-based instruction (as applied in the USA), CLIL (as applied in Europe), and English-medium instruction or EMI (as applied in Hong Kong) (He & Lin, 20181; Lo & Lin, 20192). Here are some definitions of CLIL as appeared in scholarly-published journal articles and books.

  1. Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) is a teaching approach in which teachers apply language other than their students’ first language to promote additional language learning and content acquisition in non-linguistic area 3.
  2. CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) is a teaching method in which learners develop linguistic competence and problem-solving abilities by learning content subjects in another language4.
  3. CLIL is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of approaches to learning and teaching non-language subjects through a foreign language5.
  4. The teaching in CLIL programmes focuses on both content and language6.
  5. CLIL is an educational framework that combines foreign language and content learning objectives by teaching content (such as science, history, or geography) in a second language - which is commonly English7.

Fundamental Concept of CLIL

Basically, CLIL does not follow traditional methodologies of teaching foreign language and thus it is expected to promote a change in teaching and learning processes involving the articulation of guiding principles that trigger motivating classroom practice8.

CLIL is characterized by the use of authentic materials9. It may come into hard CLIL or soft CLIL. Hard CLIL refers to a type of partial immersion when almost half the curriculum or more is taught in a non-native language10. In contrast, soft CLIL refers to a type of content and language integrated instruction taught by trained CLIL language teachers to help leaners develop the foreign language competency as a primary aim, and their subject/theme/topic knowledge as a secondary aim 11.

A 2022 literature claims that in the implementation of CLIL, educators are required to address content, communication, cognition and culture into the learning12. In addition, it is emphasized that CLILL attemprs to improve learners’ communicative competence in a foreign language (FL) and content acquisition in non-language areas (NLA).

After reading some journal articles,

Some examples of the implementation of CLIL have been scientifically revealed. A 2022 publication finds that the adoption of CLIL significantly improves student achievement in Biology subject knowledge and in English language13. In teaching Biology, a book discussing

Suggested Reading

In case this post inspires and challenges you in conducting research study on CLIL, the following are books on CLIL that are worth reading for your research.

  1. CLIL Activities: A Resource for Subject and Language Teachers
  2. How To Write CLIL Materials (Training Course For ELT Writers)
  3. CLIL: Content and Language Integrated Learning

  1. He, P., & Lin, A. M. Y. (2018). Becoming a “language-aware” content teacher: Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) teacher professional development as a collaborative, dynamic, and dia- logic process. Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education, 6(2), 162–188. ↩︎

  2. Lo, Y. Y., & Lin, A. M. Y. (2019). Content and language integrated learning in Hong Kong. In X. Gao (Ed.), Second handbook of english language teaching (pp. 1–20). Springer International Handbooks of Education. Springer. ↩︎

  3. Campillo-Ferrer, JM., Miralles-Martínez, P. & Sánchez-Ibáñez, R. (2020). CLIL teachers’ views on cognitive development in primary education. Palgrave Commun 6, 97. ↩︎

  4. Otwinowska, A., & Foryś, M. (2015). They learn the CLIL way, but do they like it? Affectivity and cognition in upper-primary CLIL classes. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 20(5), 457–480. ↩︎

  5. Coyle, D., P. Hood, and D. Marsh. 2010. Content and Language Integrated Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ↩︎

  6. Dalton-Puffer, C. (2013). A construct of cognitive discourse functions for conceptualising content-lan- guage integration in CLIL and multilingual education. European Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1(2), 216–253. ↩︎

  7. Mehisto, P., Marsh, D., & Frigols, M. J. (2008). Uncovering clil content and language integrated learning in bilingual and multilingual education. Macmillan. ↩︎

  8. Pinner, R. (2013). Authenticity of purpose: CLIL as a way to bring meaning and motivation into EFL contexts. Asian EFL J. 15, 138–159. ↩︎

  9. Nykiporets, S., and Ibrahimova, L. (2021). Communicative competence development among students of non-linguistic universities with the help of CLIL approach in foreign language lessons. Grail Sci. 5, 226–231. ↩︎

  10. Bentley, K. (2010). The TKT Course CLIL Module. Cambridge: CUP. ↩︎

  11. Ikeda, M. (2013). Does CLIL work for Japanese Secondary School Students? Potential for the „Weak‟ Version of CLIL. International CLIL Research Journal, 2(1). pp. 31-43. ↩︎

  12. Campillo-Ferrer J-M and Miralles-Martínez P (2022) Primary School Teachers’ Perceptions of the Level of Development of Low-Order Cognitive Skills Under the Content and Language Integrated Learning Approach. Front. Educ. 7:815027. ↩︎

  13. Satayev M, Balta N, Shaymerdenovna IR, Fernández-Cézar R and Alcaraz-Mármol G (2022) Content and Language Integrated Learning Implementation Through Team Teaching in Biology Lessons: A Quasi-Experimental Design With University Students. Front. Educ. 7:867447. ↩︎

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