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Rick de Graaff IVLOS Institute of Education Utrecht University

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Subject learning and teaching in a second language: promoting content and language integrated learning in linguistically diverse settings. Rick de Graaff IVLOS Institute of Education Utrecht University. This workshop. CLIL in the Netherlands

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Subject learning and teaching in a second language: promoting content and language integrated learning in linguistically diverse settings

Rick de Graaff

IVLOS Institute of Education

Utrecht University

this workshop
This workshop
  • CLIL in the Netherlands
  • Effective ingredients for language focus in subject classes
  • Role of subject teachers and language teachers in CLIL
  • Design principles for integration of subject and language aims
  • Opportunities for content and language integration in linguistically diverse settings

“a dual-focused educational approach in which an additional language is used for the learning and teaching of both content and language” (Coyle, Hood & Marsh, 2010).

“achieving this twofold aim calls for the development of a special approach to teaching in that the non-language subject is not taught in a FL, but with and through a FL (Eurydice, 2006).

clil in the netherlands tto
CLIL in the Netherlands (TTO)

Since early ’90s; now about 120 schools for upper level secondary education

From 12 yrs; most students Dutch L1

Emerging in primary and vocational educ.

Mainly 50% Dutch – 50% English

Science + soc. science + creative subject

European international orientation

National final examination in Dutch

Most teachers non-native speakers (B2+)

research on effectiveness of clil immersion and cblt
Research on effectiveness of CLIL, immersion and CBLT

Johnson & Swain; Swain & Lapkin; Genesee; Harley; Lyster; Huibregtse:

High levels of reading and listening comprehension

High levels of fluency, complexity and adequacy in oral and written prodction

Lower levels of oral and written accuracy

No negative consequences for subject knowledge and for L1 academic proficiency

effective language teaching what does theory tell us
Rich input at appropriate level

Focus on meaning

Focus on form

Goal-oriented production and interaction

Strategies for language use

 Does this also apply to CLIL?

Effective language teaching:what does theory tell us?
research project
Research project

What effective teacher repertoire for language acquisition can be observed in CLIL practice?

  • 3 TTO-schools around Utrecht
  • Observation of 10 subject lessons
  • Template for effective language pedagogy
  • Inventory of good practices
  • Recommendations for CLIL practice








Use of





Penta-pie (2004)


Offer learners lots of target language at a (just) challenging level

  • Select material:
    • authentic
    • functional
    • stimulating
  • and adapt if necessary
  • Tune your own language use

Require learners to do something with the content to understand it

  • Pre-teach and recycle useful vocabulary and expressions
  • Design tasks that focus pupils on understanding of relevant terminology

Direct the learners’ attention to form (language awareness)

  • Draw attention to relevant language forms
  • Explain problematic and relevant forms
  • Give feedback and organize peer feedback

Stimulate learners to practise and be creative with the language

  • Ask for reactions and interaction
  • Stimulate ‘authentic’ use of English
  • Give feedback on language use
  • Organize functional writing

Help learners to develop language learning strategies

  • Encourage the use of reading strategies
  • Encourage the use of compensatory strategies in speaking
  • Encouragereflection on strategy use and language learning
  • All categories were present
  • Individual teacher differences
  • No main differences between subject and language teachers
    • Except for: focus on form
  • Many teachers not aware of their language pedagogical repertoire
    • e.g.: focus on form
    • “just good teaching”
preliminary conclusion
Preliminary conclusion
  • If subject teachers implicitly apply language teaching pedagogy
  • Then collaboration between subject and language teachers should be feasible
  • However: only incidental collaboration between subject and language teachers
follow up survey
Follow-up survey

What’s the role for language teachers in CLIL?

Language expert for their colleagues

L2 pedagogy expert for their colleagues

Co-designing CLIL projects

Pre-teaching content-specific language

Supporting content-class assignments

Follow-up study: Design principles for effective integration/collaboration between subject and language classes/teachers







Existing situation



focus onform

focus on form

English lessons


subjects Geo, His, Bio, …

Subjects, geo, his…

Desired situation



focus onform

focus on form

subjects Geo, His, Bio, …

English lessons


Subjects, geo, his…

how does it work
How does it work


Learning objective


Learning objective


in language class support pupils with subject material and assignments

subject teacher and language teacher design tasks/assignments together

the project
The project
  • 5 TTO schools:
    • Produced examples of integrated tasks and projects
  • Tools for teachers:
    • Checklist for lesson planning
    • Rubric on integrating content and language
project example i
Project example I

“The increasing globalization of business makes cross-cultural skills mandatory”

Pupils of Geography, Economics, English and Drama prepare and present a short film on the effects of globalization on cross-cultural interaction. The film consists of a theatrical/drama part and an informative part, and is assessed for content, language and performance.

criteria for integrated projects
Criteria forintegratedprojects
  • Organization and collaboration between teachers
  • Integration of subject and language:
    • Aims
    • Input
    • Tasks and performances
    • Assessment and feedback
check on cross fertilization criteria
Check on cross-fertilization criteria

Subject teachers and language teachers work together during various stages of the project and have clear and complementary roles and responsibilities.

Both subject and language aims are formulated in CAN DO statements and are related to the main subject/language aims of the specific class/year.

It is clear which part of the input is provided in the language class and which part in the subject class

It is clear which part of the task is carried out in the language class and which part in the subject class

The outcome/product is relevant for both subject and language, in terms of medium/audience, content and skills.

It is clear what is being assessed for both English and the subject.

example rubric category tasks and performances
Example rubric category:Tasks and performances
  • Partly integrated
  • Fairly integrated
  • Considerably integrated
  • Completely integrated
partly integrated
Partly integrated
  • Tasks for both language and subject are carried out parallel but separately, sharing a similar topic. Performances and products are inspired by but different from real-life situations.
fairly integrated
Fairly integrated
  • Tasks dealing with a shared topic are mainly carried out in one subject with the other supporting on specific aims or activities. There is occasional reference between subject and language within the lesson. Performances and products are related to real-life situations.
considerably integrated
Considerably integrated
  • The tasks carried out lead up to and prepare for the final performance or product and mix language and subject.

Tasks might involve transformation i.e. the output is in a different form to the input. For example, the input is a video, the output is a magazine article.

Both performances and products are related to subject and language real-life situations

completely integrated
  • Activities and performances stimulate language awareness, a lot of output and interaction. Subject and language are fully integrated in all activities and performances. Spoken and written performances and products are realistic and authentic. A clear genre (text type), audience and aim are stated for each performance or product.
practical case ii
Practical case II

History in fiction and non-fiction

Pupils read a historical novel (for English) and an informative essay (for History) on WW I, and compare genre, target audience and terminology. They then prepare interview questions for the main character on the historical context.

Support and assessment by both teachers.

opportunities for integration
Opportunities for integration
  • Not only in ‘mainstream’ CLIL:
    • Also in between subject and L1 (academic proficiency)
    • Also for immigrant L2 learners (language support)
    • Also for regional or minority languages (language promotion)
  • Subject-related tasks/projects with a special focus on authentic and functional language use
  • Complementary roles for subject and language teachers: crossing the border