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Open access

Valentina Piacentini, Ana Raquel Simões and Rui Marques Vieira

Abstract

CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) is an approach thought to provide, mainly during Content (non-language, subject) classes, a meaningful environment at school for the use and learning of a foreign language (FL), and may also improve conditions and practices of the specific subject. Moreover, CLIL can represent a research context to gauge the importance of language-aware teaching as is the case with the Portuguese “English Plus” project (EP), in which History and Science are taught/ learnt with/in English at lower secondary school. Our doctoral research is designed as a descriptive-explanatory case study on the EP project and its participants (English and Science teachers, former and current students). More specifically, this work focuses on students and shows their relationship with the EP approach and (dis)advantages in learning a subject with a FL. Data were collected through a semi-structured questionnaire and interview, with subsequent content analysis. The importance of “integrated learning” and of diverse strategies used by the teacher to support/scaffold learning is present in students’ perspectives which may further influence teaching practices

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Pilar Couto-Cantero and María Bobadilla-Pérez

Abstract

The main aim of this paper is to provide novice CLIL teachers with advice on key areas related to the implementation of this approach. This is done through the presentation of ‘ten fundamentals’ with their corresponding literature review, activities and suggestions contextualised within the framework of a defined Teaching and Learning Unit, and a final tip, all of which, it is hoped will empower future CLIL teachers in their classroom practice. Materials have been designed by the authors according to the Spanish National Curriculum and the textbook selected to use as an example is: Natural Science 6. In Focus for 6th year at Primary School Level with content designed by Spencer and published by Anaya.

Open access

Aoife Ahern, Rachel Whittaker and Isabel Blecua Sánchez

Abstract

This article introduces a literacy programme based on a linguistic approach to teaching reading and writing across the curriculum, Reading to Learn (Rose, “Reading to Learn: Accelerating Learning”; Rose and Martin), with proven effectiveness for accelerating literacy development in both the L1 (e.g. Rose and Acevedo, among other studies) and for L2 in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) and programmes. Underlying the pedagogy are powerful theories of language, educational psychology and sociology which are applied to text analysis, lesson preparation and classroom interaction around reading and writing. Teachers starting to use the pedagogy see immediate results in students’ engagement and learning, and the written texts they produce. The pedagogy is based on a functional analysis of a text from the curriculum – its structure and the way its language makes meaning in that subject-, and on scaffolding/ modelling the processes of reading and writing with the whole class. In this paper, we offer a brief presentation of some strategies from the R2L pedagogy, and provide examples of text analysis, teacher preparation and application in state bilingual schools in Spain.

Open access

Silene Cardoso

Abstract

This article presents and briefly discusses the results from a survey conducted with English teachers of the third cycle and secondary education in Portugal as part of a study on multiple literacies and Web 2.0 in English as a foreign language (EFL) classroom (Cardoso). Based on the answers provided, it can be assumed that among this group of teachers, new technologies tend to be part of their professional practice. However, it is unclear if digital tools have been used to actually promote more innovative ways of teaching or just as a different way to approach more traditional methods. Moreover, it seems that suitable guidance, training and further development of appropriate materials are required to facilitate and better integrate new technologies in the EFL classroom.

Open access

Maria Ellison

Abstract

Recent growth in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) across educational levels in Portugal has positioned it in European Commission reports (Eurydice 2012; 2017) and attracted much needed attention to the educational practice which warrants further in-depth exploration in order to better understand it and ensure quality provision in the country. This article explores the concept of CLIL at work in Portugal and highlights its brief trajectory to date as well as the challenges and opportunities it presents teacher educators and researchers. It provides an overview of the recently established Working CLIL research strand of TEALS (Teacher Education and Applied Language Studies) which is actively engaged in connecting CLIL communities in Portugal and beyond.

Open access

Maria Ellison

Open access

Ana Ponce de Leão

Abstract

UNESCO and many other organisations worldwide have been working on approaches in education to develop tolerance, respect for cultural diversity, and intercultural dialogue. Particularly, the Council of Europe has laid out guiding principles in several documents to promote intercultural competence, following Byram’s and Zarate’s efforts in integrating this important component in language education. The commitment to developing the notion of intercultural competence has been so influential that many countries, e.g., Portugal, have established the intercultural domain as a goal in the foreign language curricula. However, this commitment has been questioned by researchers worldwide who consider that action is needed to effectively promote intercultural competence. The research coordinated by Sercu, for example, suggests that, although foreign language teachers are willing to comply with an intercultural dimension, their profile is more compatible with that of a traditional foreign language teacher, rather than with a foreign language teacher, who promotes intercultural communicative competence. In this study, I propose to examine teachers’ perceptions and beliefs about intercultural communicative competence in a cluster of schools in Portugal and compare these findings with Sercu’s study. Despite a twelve-year gap, the present study draws similar conclusions.

Open access

Maria Ellison and Álvaro Almeida Santos

Abstract

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), an educational approach in which an additional language is used to teach school subjects, has become increasingly widespread within state schools across Europe since the acronym was coined in the mid-nineties. This now includes Portugal where CLIL activity across educational levels has been growing in recent years. Like other national contexts in Europe, this has also been through the grassroots initiatives of individual schools keen to influence positive change in educational practices and reap the benefits which CLIL is purported to bring about. One such case is the GoCLIL project at Escola Secundária Dr. Joaquim Gomes Ferreira Alves in Valadares, Vila Nova de Gaia, which has been operating a CLIL programme through English since the academic year 2013-2014. This article outlines fundamentals of implementing CLIL in schools and provides an overview of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of the case. It uses data collected from questionnaires administered to teachers, pupils and parents, lesson observations, pupil focus groups, and teacher reflections obtained during the ongoing monitoring process led by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Porto. The data contribute to the rich description of the project from which it has been possible to identify and compare findings across years, as well as factors which have contributed to its sustainability. Insights gained from this case study will be interesting and potentially useful for schools which are considering setting up a project of this kind.

Open access

Carlos Ceia and Nicolas Hurst

Abstract

Over the last 15 to 20 years, changes in foreign language teaching policies in Portuguese higher education institutions (HEIs) have been subject to little discussion and less inter-institutional dialogue. Each institution has absorbed different European directives, and more specifically adapted its context in response to the Bologna Process, according to its own interpretation leading to widespread ‘distortion’ across foreign language teaching curricula. While demand for foreign language courses remains high in Portuguese HEIs there has been little formal research and scarce funding available for projects related to introducing innovative practices and materials. This paper provides a critical reading of the current state of play in this crucial sphere of higher education in Portugal.

Open access

Alexandra Vraciu and Yolanda Capdevila Tomàs

Abstract

Despite their alleged dual focus on content and language learning, CLIL classes are, more often than not, focused on meaning transmission and comprehension and promote an incidental approach to language learning. Yet, empirical evidence from second language acquisition research points out that a mere focus on meaning is not enough for learners to reach proficiency in the target language and some awareness of the linguistic form is necessary for language learning to occur. In order to foster simultaneous subject matter and foreign language learning, CLIL practitioners need to create opportunities for learners to notice the language of the content while performing content-related activities and tasks. We propose a series of pedagogical strategies to achieve this awareness of the form in the context of the CLIL class, drawing on empirical evidence from language learning research and our own experience as CLIL teachers and teacher trainers.