AAAL 2017- Portland, USA


Alongside the guiding theme of this colloquium which tries to shed a new perspective on the contentious issue of a “language-content” dichotomy, the author reports on a teaching model for pedagogical practices that use a secondary or foreign language as a medium of instruction. This pedagogical model, named SALT, was devised on the premises that language and content cannot be separated (Halliday & Matthiessen, 2014) and meaning making is achieved through languaging where language is used to mediate cognition and affect (Swain & Lapkin, 2013). It comprises four languaging dimensions which stand for this acronym. “S” focuses on strategic languaging; “A” investigates the use of all languages available in the classroom; “L” takes into account the different literacies of knowledge representation; and “T” focuses on the topic-relevant language.

 SALT emphasises the pedagogical consequences of languaging for learning by postulating that explicit language instruction needs to be systematically and meaningfully integrated into any content-based learning. Since its first inception in 2011 it has been successfully implemented in training courses to support subject teachers with language-aware instructional practices and, even more importantly, assisting them in their identity transformation (Cammarata & Tedick, 2012) from being primarily subject teachers to becoming subject and (foreign) language teachers. However, SALT was not conceived as a set of techniques but as a reflection tool of concepts and principles to inspire more theoretically informed, local CLIL implementations. Owing to this intensive reflective feeding processes the model has gone through various adaptations and changes following Vygotsky’s (2004) concept of a dialectical and reciprocal unity of theory and practice in which, “practice sets the tasks and serves as the supreme judge of theory, as its truth criterion” (p. 304).

The model’s four dimensions and their underlying principles will be discussed and possible classroom realisations presented.