CLIL – a difficult challenge?

David Graddol, the author of English Next, has said of CLIL: ‘there is a potentially large downside to it. In many countries they just don’t seem to be equipped to implement CLIL. When it works, it works extraordinarily well, but it is actually quite difficult to do well. My feeling is that it may actually take 30 or 40 years for a country to really to pull this one off.’

Graddol, D IATEFL CLIL debate, Cardiff,

UK 2005

Other researchers, though, have expressed concern about CLIL, suggesting, for example, that learning subjects in L1 rather than L2 produces better exam results, greater progress in subject learning, better learner self-perception and self-esteem and greater classroom participation. There are also concerns that CLIL takes time from L1 learning at primary level, leaving children unsure in their mother tongue; that weaker learners are disadvantaged; and that teachers may sometimes have insufficient L2 proficiency to teach CLIL effectively.

Spratt, Mary, The Nature of the beast,  Issue 72 January 2011 • ENGLISH TEACHING professional, 6

Are these concerns justified and what exactly are the quality features of CLIL that may take countries 30 to 40 years to satisfyingly implement them? Or have they got it all wrong?

About erwingierlinger

I am a teacher trainer at the University of Education of Upper-Austria in Austria
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One Response to CLIL – a difficult challenge?

  1. Andreas says:

    Hi Erwin

    I assume you’re a regular reader of EL Gazette anyway. The latest edition might be worth looking at. What do you think?
    http://mag.digitalpc.co.uk/Olive/ODE/ELGAZETTE/

    Having been involved in a number of CLIL studies in Austria myself, I have already pointed out that not everything that’s been said there is OK and fair, at least not from a scientific point of view. Anthony Bruton seems to reflect on “past” insights, not acknowledging that CLIL is progressing further. The times they are a-changin’ and CLIL is making great contributions here as well.

    Best
    Andreas

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