A hearty welcome to all CLIL/plurilingual teachers and CLIL/plurilingual teacher educators,

My name is  Erwin M. Gierlinger and I am a teacher educator and senior lecturer at the University College of Education of Upper-Austria. My  CLIL experiences started in 2001 as part of the  international CLIL-MEMO project and have since then grown into a considerable number of CLIL projects, research papers, and other CLIL related activities. For anyone interested in my reference list of publications and research click this (EMG).

On this blog I’ll share my knowledge, assumptions, materials, projects, experiences and beliefs on CLIL with you. Let the good times CLIL :).

The order of recency gives you a time sequence of my CLIL experiences. The riders above allow for quick topical access. I hope I have designed all this as user-friendly as possible. Nevertheless, I’d be grateful for feedback.

What’s new in my CLIL world:

  • Latest CLIL – PLURILINGUAL publication

Gierlinger, E., M., Döll, M., & Keplinger, G. (Eds.). (2023). TALK in multilingual classrooms: Teachers’ awareness of language knowledge in secondary education. Waxmann.

Hi everybody, I am really very happy to announce the publication of a book on MULTILINGUAL PEDAGOGY that has investigated considerable time and effort in conceptualising and operationalising the pedagogical realities of teaching content and knowledge through a foreign language in European secondary education (and actually beyond). I/we – as grass root teachers and teacher educators – really hope and believe that TEACHERS will benefit from this close discussion and co-operation between teacher educators and practicing teachers in plurilingual classrooms. TALK – teachers’ awareness of language knowledge – (and the title of this volume) is treated as a fundamental and central pedagogical concept for the learning of knowledge, and we hope – dear teacher – to give you a lot of principled and practical ideas in your efforts and struggles to implement learning through another language in your classroom. For more information and dissemination see the attached TALK in multilingual classrooms.pdf.  From our own efforts we know it can be …… < insert your own performance adjective 🙂 but eventually seeing your students operate in (complex) knowledge contexts in a foreign language is so, so  …. < insert your own adjective :).

  • World CLIL 2022; 7. – 8. July 2022; The Hague

Attended this wonderful conference on SHARING CLASSROOMS, SHARING WORLDS and my special thanks go to the organisers, notably or representatively, Tessa and Onno. Check out the programme abstracts and the links! Held a presentation there and here is the link to my slides WC-Gierlinger-presentation . I added a couple of slides with links for interesting sources on digital literacy etc. Also, a reference list.

  • CCLA-20  – CLIL Conference in Linz, Austria,  27. – 29. February 2020

    Call for papers and registration CCLA-20

    Screenshot 2019-06-04 at 15.37.29

  • 2019/03/11:

I am very happy to disseminate another milestone in the development of CLIL conceptualised through Oliver Meyer and the Graz pluriliteracies group. After more than seven years of conception their model is now finally online:


This model claims to offer a holistic view of integration which they believe transcends the issue of content vs. language. They argue that deeper learning and personal growth only occurs

  • when the four dimensions of the model are active simultaneously,
  • when school subjects are taught as disciplines (in terms of how knowledge is constructed and communicated),
  • and when learners’ needs are met by teachers (through generating and sustaining engagement and by mentoring learning and personal growth).

They have created this video as a tool for teacher training and it appears to be a major stepping stone towards a plausible methodology for the diversity of CLIL teaching contexts. Go for it and exploit its potential for your CLIL courses and CLIL teacher training courses! You may even adapt and merge it with my pedagogical SALT model

Gierlinger, E. M. (2017). Teaching CLIL? Yes, but with a pinch of SALT. Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education, 5(2), 188-215. 

  • 2018/10/24:


CCLA-20  – CLIL Conference in Linz, Austria,  27. – 29. February 2020

For more information click CCLA-20

  • 2018/06/24: I have updated the CLIL starter list which is a compilation of essential references for any course on CLIL teacher education. I have carefully selected these articles and books from my own library of more than 700 works on CLIL and foreign language teaching. As a taster list for CLIL teacher education it is certainly not exhaustive but relevant enough to give the CLIL trainee a well informed understanding of the most important issues involved in CLIL. Of course, as the previous list showed it’s very much work in progress.
  • 2017/03/30: Sub-plenary at the CLIL-voc conference 2017 (https://www.cebs.at/index.php?id=156) on the controversial issue of whether CLIL teachers consider themselves to be also teachers of the foreign language and if so what language areas of particular need for CLIL learners. Keywords are: academic and scholarly language; subject-specific genres and registers; language methodology. Even though the presentation was held in German most of the slides are in English. Here is the link to the presentation: “Ich unterrichte CLIL – nicht Sprachen. Brauchen CLIL-Lehrende pädagogisches Wissen zur Vermittlung von Fremdsprachen?“.
  • 2017/03/18: AAAL (American association of applied linguistics)-Portland, USA. Here is the link to my presentation: Whatever the fusion cuisine, a pinch of SALT will help: On blending content and language through a language-aware CLIL model
  • 2016/11/10: Seinäjoki-2016. Here is the link to the key note I gave for the STEP-2016 conference in Seinäjoki, Finland. My sincerest thanks go to the organising committee and the fantastic participants there. It was truly a wonderful experience.go-for-clil_talk_public and the reference list > references_go-for-clil-but-with-a-pinch-of-salt
  • 2016/11/08: After some intensive research and deep discussions with other CLIL aficionados the CALM model has been changed – for the better of it, I hope – to a SALT CLIL model. After its first presentation at the STEP-CLIL conference in Seinajoki Finland, I will present more on this blog.
  • 2016/07/20: Here is the link to my latest talk given at the ALA – Association for language awareness . Click on this link: Language awareness and CLIL: Two uneasy bedfellows and how to CALM them and here are the references.
    In this talk I investigated the role of target language awareness in CLIL . My main argument was that CLIL’s traditional dual focused approach needed to be seriously reconceptualised in the light of recent research. Furthermore, I maintained that on a pedagogical plane this separation between content and language may have encouraged content teachers to adopt a language teaching attitude predominantly guided by an implicit, incidental, and immersive learning paradigm. I argued that L2  acquisition by implicit means alone was limited in its success and that therefore a language awareness dimension needed to be incorporated into CLIL methodology. I  presented a language aware pedagogical CLIL model called CALM and pointed out further implications for the training and teaching of CLIL.
  • 2016/06/27: So sorry my friends but life has been over-cliling lately  and I just haven’t been able to contribute anything to my blog. However, things are brightening up. Firstly,  can I make you aware of a wonderful, wonderful website on CLIL beautifully maintained by Loli Iglesias http://clilingetxo.blogspot.co.at.  The amount of information and the visual  presentation is mind-boggling. Secondly,  I have started another research project  and I’d be very grateful if you could contribute to it. However, I need to say that this web-based questionnaire is focused on 4 countries ( Austria, Finland, The Netherlands, Spain). Just click this and go ahead: https://www.soscisurvey.de/CLIL/. Thirdly,  I have used https://getkahoot.com/how-it-works recently   for CLIL vocabulary activities and it has worked really well!  So get your mobiles out  and do some fun things in CLIL.
  • 2016/01/12: Having massively updated the list of CLIL  references and broadly categorised them into (click on References for quick access):  CLIL master list; CLIL teachers’ beliefs; CLIL methodology; CLIL teacher education; My CLIL starter list; I hope this will be of interest.
  • 2015/11/10: Here’s my talk on the revised CLIL teacher training model CALM held at the wonderful Dutch CLIL conference “CLIL for All” http://www.europeesplatform.nl/tto/registration-national-clil-conference-clil-for-all/ in Utrecht, The Netherlands. As there was some very interesting feedback and an extra activity, I will put the presentation slides, some of the feedback, and my own reflections on this under the heading of Utrecht 2015. Click on: https://clilingmesoftly.wordpress.com/utrecht-2015/
  • 2015/09/11: Fostering learner autonomy through bilingual and multilingual activities in the classroom – a talk given at the ICHLE-2015 conference by Edgar Marc Petter and generously made available on this blog. Listening to Edgar I felt like two CLIL minds alike, as in using all the language resources available in the CLIL classroom. Keywords being: translanguaging, code switching, plurilingualism. In this respect I felt very thankful when he okayed his presentation. Click on: https://clilingmesoftly.wordpress.com/the-roles-of-languages-in-clil/
  • 2015/09/09: “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Language and Education in 2015, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/DOI: 10.1080/09500782.2015.1023733. Erwin Gierlinger, ‘You can speak German, sir’: on the complexity of teachers’ L1 use in CLIL” . For a pre-published read click here https://clilingmesoftly.wordpress.com/the-roles-of-languages-in-clil/
  • 2015/09/04: A new CLIL teaching project “Investigating Scaffolding Opportunities in ICL Higher Education Classes”  has been added to the “CLIL teaching projects” page. Click here: https://clilingmesoftly.wordpress.com/clil-projects/ My dearest thanks to Drs Nashwa Nashaat and Monika Wozniak from San Jorge University, Spain.
  • 2015/09/04: I have added my presentation on “Teachers code-switching in CLIL: Deficit or dividend ” held at the ICHLE – 2015 conference in Brussels, Belgium to the “Roles of Languages in CLIL ” page. Click here: https://clilingmesoftly.wordpress.com/the-roles-of-languages-in-clil/
  • 2015/04/10: I am pleased to announce the publication of  my article ‘You can speak German, sir’: on the complexity of teachers’ L1 use in CLIL, Language and Education, Routledge

  • 2015/02/20: I have added my talk held at the CEF – Centro Estudio Fiscales in Granada, Spain about the aspects of learning through the languages available in a CLIL context on the page: The roles of languages in CLIL.
  • 2014/09/11: There is an exciting new journal out for all CLIL friends. It’s called “Journal of immersion and content-based language education” published by John Benjamins and I’d like to whet your appetite by summarising Jim Cummins’ article on “Rethinking pedagogical assumptions in Canadian French immersion programs” in CLIL Bites. Suffice it to say that code switching and translanguaging seem to be all over the place in CLIL at the moment!
  • 2014/09/07: See the essentials of a presentation that I co-authored with my colleague Thomas Wagner at EUROSLA24
    http://www.york.ac.uk/education/research/cllr/eurosla24/ in CLIL-hot potatoes.
  • 2013/10/01: Have added a short “Principles of CLILchecklist on the “Clil models” > “The CALM model” subpage. It’s supposed to be used as a guidance tool (for beginners) for short CLIL projects but can surely be used as a language mindfulness tool for more experienced non-language teachers. If applied, I’d be grateful for any critical feedback on it.
  • 2013/09/23: Comment added to the understanding of my CALM model and to a contributor’s email.
  • 2013/07/09: Have added my personal choice of code-switching literature as relevant for CLIL in the TIC page. The surprising thing seems to be that there is not a lot around given the importance of this issue, so please any comments very welcome.
  • 2013/06/15: I attended a wonderful and very inspiring CLIL conference organised by the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Departamento de Filología Inglesa http://uam-clil.com/alp-clilconference/ and you will find my presentation on page “TIC: Teachers’ Identity in CLIL“. This page will also be a forum for my research on code switching in CLIL.
  • 2013/04/07: Most recent version of CALM model as presented on the 2013 CLIL conference in Ustron, Poland put on the blog.

New references

  • 2012/10/20: Some intensive reading into word acquisition and learning, in particular Laufer, Nation, Meara etc (and my own “challenges/ problems” of learning a new language) have made me mindful of the complexity of learning new words and the role of the mother tongue in this process. Research into this seems to strengthen the role of the “A” part of my CALM model. For example, Laufer ( 2012, in: The Routledge Handbook of second language acquisition) emphasises the role of the mother tongue in vocabulary learning ” Evidence is available that the use of the first language is a very effective way of communicating word meaning (Laufer and Shmueli, 1997), and explanation of interlingual differences between new L2 words and expressions and corresponding L1 vocabulary may be more effective than other form-focused activities”. I am involved in a research project where this principle will be a guiding force for the learning of CLIL. For example, making German learners aware of the difference between the English word “election campaign” and its connotations as compared to the German word “Wahlkampf (election fight)” and then discussing this issue. This I would consider to be word-focused work (and also conceptual work) that would not be done in the regular monolingual class. Of course, it comes with a caveat – adult learner!!!
  • 2012/09/: Can I, an itsy-bitsy proudly, announce the publication of an article in the September 2012 issue of ET professional “CLIL-ing me softly” where I analyse humourously/seriously the “Seven commandments of CLIL”. I hope that this may be a fruitful discusssion point for any CLIL course.
  • 2012/07/28: New references. As my recent research interest has moved into the role of the L1 in CLIL I found Levine’s book on this particularly stimulating. I.S.P Nation‘s article on the  L1 in CLIL gives very sound and down-to-earth advice on how to deal with this important issue. Lyster’s made me re-consider the role of language learning in the CLIL context. However controversial his main statements and the actual consequences for CLIL teaching may be, for example, not too many content teachers are qualified language teachers, research evidence seems to add up towards his position. Consequently, the training for CLIL teachers may need some serious reappraisal with respect to CLIL teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge of language learning. However, I would like to take up this point in more detail in the “CLIL-quo vadis” post.
  • The CALM model as I presented it at  the  2012 CLIL conference (all slides and references) > click CLIL models and then CALM (25. 04. 2012)
  • Smart learning strategies and CLIL? Mabe there’s something for you. See links.
  • Bilingualism  a blessing in disguise? Read the link and yes, times are a-changing.
  • CLIL – quo vadis“post added. Basically reflects my own uneasiness about the local/individual necessity/constraints of CLIL and something that goes beyond it. In other words, I have seen some CLIL “bleeps”. So how are we (who?) going to deal with this? Above all, what will be CLIL quality standards?
  • CLIL teachers’ TL competence: A new page reflecting on this issue and proposing a model for teacher training in CLIL.
  • I have added a CLIL projects page. Just a few appetizers. More to follow.

On the “My CLIL BAK” page I’ll present and reflect on my beliefs, ideas and knowledge concerning CLIL. In this respect I am “outing” myself.

The CLIL – hot potatoes page should be seen as a quick response post for issues in CLIL   that may be controversial or seen very differently by different people. We all know that teaching in a post-modern and constructivist age can be frustratingly (or maybe wonderfully) fuzzy and sometimes very resistant to clear-cut answers or solutions.

CLIL – bites is all about CLIL news and publications.

The lighter version: Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication (Steve Jobs).

As blogs are about quick response reading I will head every longer entry with a short summary of its main points (just to whet your appetite, hopefully).

After 31 years in teaching and 20 in teacher training:

Practice pervades the deepest foundations of the scientific operation and reforms it from beginning to end. Practice sets the tasks and serves as the supreme judge of theory, as ist truth criterion. It dictates how to construct the concepts and how to formulate the laws. Vygotsky, L. S.

But then ….. a rose is a rose, is a rose, or what ….  and who decides, on what grounds? Watch this space :).

6 Responses to About

  1. Dear Mr. Gierlinger,

    I’m working on a CLIL magazine for teachers and am very much impressed by the work on this website. I was wondering if you would be interested in writing something for my magazine. Could you let me know if you are interested? Thank you!

    • Dear Mr de Boer,
      thank you for your comment. Yes, I would be interested in contributing to your magazine. However, could you tell me a little about the specifics of this enterprise. What, by when, how much, where (internet,paper), intended readership, and so on?
      Good luck and looking forward to hearing from you.
      Erwin Gierlinger

  2. Laura says:

    quiero saber bien que quiere decir clil y cuales su relacion con AICLE además si esto es trabajar integrado es algo asi como se enseña el inglés en el preescolar???? que tecnicas puedo utilizar para losniños de edad preescolar???graciass

  3. Dear Erwin,
    Congratulations on your blog. It is very interesting and thorough.
    I just shared your blog’s address on “scoop it” so that other Clilers can get to know it (if they haven’t already)
    Marta Braylan
    (Educational Psychologist,CLIL teacher trainer and materials writer from Argentina)

  4. Stephanie says:

    She would like to know what CLIL means, how it is related to AICLE, if it means integration and what techniques could be used to teach children in preschool. I will offer my twopence by telling Laura that AICLE (Aprendizaje Integrado de Contenidos y Lenguas Extranjeras) is the Spanish translation of CLIL.
    Congratulations on your blog, it’s great! I am a native speaker teaching in Spain and would be happy to help with any of your investigations.

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