The content subject-linguistic integrated learning (CLIL) was introduced in the educational environment for the simultaneous acquisition of several subjects. Nowadays, the concept of CLIL is widely interpreted, and there are many diverse definitions in scientific and methodological literature. Despite the term’s general use, discussions about the essence of this approach and the search for its specificity compared to other teaching methods continue.
The distinctive feature of CLIL is that it is not solely a strategy to educate a foreign language or a subject but an integrated form of learning and understanding both. Teachers provide the students with authentic materials in the second language and apply diverse didactic techniques to teach non-language disciplines. It provides immersion in an environment that significantly accelerates understanding a foreign language while exploring new things, not about itself but concerning a particular matter (Hughes & Madrid, 2020). Meanwhile, students are not expected to know how to speak professionally. They understand the language simultaneously with the particular subject, concentrating on fluency rather than linguistic accuracy. It also distinguishes CLIL from the traditional methodology that focuses on excellent grammar and syntax.
Nonetheless, the CLIL classes are similar to the traditional courses in certain aspects as they include a few elements of the natural model of language acquisition. The CLIL generally combines all speech activities: listening, reading, speaking, and writing. Moreover, it involves collaborative work and mastery of multidisciplinary task skills. CLIL engages both individual and paired group work that helps students become critical participants in the learning process that is also inherent in other methodologies (Isidro & Lasagabaster, 2019). Still, the way in which these common elements are applied is determined by the subject, which affects the specificity of language. Thus, it can be noted that CLIL incorporates the essential variables of the natural model; however, their application may be distinct.
The types of tasks for classes conducted using the CLIL methodology should be designed according to the difficulty level, emphasizing the subject content, its understanding, checking, and subsequent discussion. Pedagogical practice shows that discourse analysis is the most appropriate method for studying and evaluating lessons (Mahan, 2020). Foreign language learning works sufficiently when new topics are introduced in a way that leaves students’ affective filters wide open and when they can relate new data to prior knowledge, experiences, and attitudes. I would develop assignments that would involve interaction with audio and video recordings, flash animations, web quests, podcasts, or other interactive materials. I would also establish tasks focusing on converting information from the text to another form, such as a map, diagram, or graph.
Assessment is essential to the success of CLIL, as it is in any other area of education. However, traditional forms of evaluation, where numbers measure results, are not proper for CLIL, where both content and language must be enhanced (Ball, 2018). This is why I would use Rubrics as the most suitable tool for evaluating integrated competencies in authentic disciplinary tasks. I would describe all required activities correlated to a specific score, and then I would use a summative concept and put a final score.
Thus, subject-linguistic integrated learning is an innovative approach that creates a holistic, dynamic, and stimulating environment. Despite some similarities, it expands the didactic possibilities of the traditional educational program and contributes to mastery of both the subject and the language. Its features involve special assignments and a unique approach to assessing students’ results, which will help absorb the materials and understand the areas that need improvement.
Ball, P. (2018). Innovations and challenges in CLIL materials design. Theory Into Practice, 57(3), 222-231. Web.
Hughes, S. P., & Madrid, D. (2020). The effects of CLIL on content knowledge in monolingual contexts. The Language Learning Journal, 48(1), 48-59. Web.
Mahan, K. R. (2020). The comprehending teacher: Scaffolding in content and language integrated learning (CLIL). The Language Learning Journal, 1-15. Web.
Isidro, X., & Lasagabaster, D. (2019). The impact of CLIL on pluriliteracy development and content learning in a rural multilingual setting: A longitudinal study. Language Teaching Research, 23(5), 584-602. Web.