Hi, I am Erwin M. Gierlinger and I am a teacher educator at the University College of Education of Upper-Austria in Austria. I have been into CLIL for several years as a teacher, teacher educator, and researcher. Let me share my, and other CLIL enthusiasts’ ideas, assumptions, materials, projects and beliefs on CLIL on this blog.  Any comments, ideas and living experiences with this way of learning a language and teaching content are more than welcome.

What’s new in order of recency:

  • 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

Abstract: Classroom code switching in foreign language teaching is still a controversial issue whose status as a tool of both despair and desire continues to be hotly debated. As the teaching of content and language integrated learning (CLIL) is, by definition, concerned with the learning of a foreign language, one would expect the value of code switching to constitute an important part in CLIL research. This paper sets out to argue that the use of the majority language in CLIL by teachers follows an educationally principled approach. It is expressed within an instructive and regulative register, motivated by behavioural, classroom and task management, and knowledge scaffolding considerations. Through a comparative data coding process using MAXQDA, several dimensions of code switching were identified and elaborated on. These dimensions included principledness, contextualisation, conflictuality, domain sensibility, linguistic deficit awareness, language learning, and knowledge construction support, as well as affectivity. Taking this complex web as a reference point, the paper ends proposing six theses on code switching and recommending its relevance to CLIL teacher training.

Keywords (Taylor & Francis):

  • 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. Why, because we carried out a vocabulary growth project in a non-elitist CLIL setting with 14 year olds and the outcome was that CLIL – given the constraints of this research – had a significant effect on only the low achievers of this study. Apparently, as always in life, the situation is more complicated but I think this leaves room for some interesting discussion. So check on the data and the whole thing will be published soon. As usual, I’d be delighted about any comment. For example, what benefit to or damage occurs when only following an immersive path towards CLIL? To put it very bluntly, is it enough to go into any  subject classroom (history, geography, mathematics, et cetera), speak the target language and through the provision of the input only expect considerable language growth? My research shows, given all the contextual problems, that CLIL may not be a self run and needs a carefully orchestrated language focus.
  • 2013/10/01: Have added a short “Principles of CLILchecklist on the “Clil models” > “The CALM model” subpage. It’s supposed to 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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