IATEFL 2009 CLIL Debate

posted by Jürgen Kurtz, Karlsruhe University of Education, Germany

Watch these interesting and thought-provoking videos on CLIL and its future prospects:

Working at one of only two universities in Germany offering a full degree (M.A.) course program in Content and Language Integrated Learning (i.e. at Freiburg and Karlsruhe Universities of Education, the so called Europalehramt), I am of course very interested in CLIL research. I think that the overall approach is innovative and promising, but it should not be set in opposition to what Hugo Beaten-Beardsmore refers to as traditional language teaching (see the third video above).

From the perspective of promoting target-language development in CLIL classrooms, we should not underestimate the difficult problems of enhancing complexity of expression, fluency, accuracy and appropriateness in an integrated way. How much target language work is necessary in a CLIL classroom? What role does target language error-correction play? How should teachers react to combined target language and subject-matter problems?

Generally speaking, I am not convinced of naturalistic or Rousseauistic approaches to foreign language learning and teaching. CLIL students certainly get much more target language input than ‘traditional language learners’, but in my view, they, too, need to be provided with what is referred to as form-focused instruction in international SLA/ Fremdsprachendidaktik research (in terms of pronunciation, lexico-grammar, etc.). And this, of course, raises a number of substantial questions …


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