Content and Language Integrated Learning in German – State of the Art and Development Potential in Europe
Background – Why CLIL, why German?
Principles of combining non-linguistic subjects and other languages than the first language(s) (L1) of the learners in educational contexts have been considered explicitly on various levels of European educational policies for over a decade now. Developed on the background of successful results in language immersion (e.g. in Canada, Catalonia and Finland) the educational approach of content and language integrated learning (CLIL) has been driven forward in Europe especially by individual examples of good practice and the contemporary goal setting of pan-European language education policies..
Ever since the conclusions of the Luxemburg EU-presidency conference dedicated to CLIL were published, efforts on CLIL-implementation in the national contexts of language policy making have become more frequent and visible throughout the continent. Not least from the point of view of present pan-European activities to support plurilingualism, linguistic awareness, mobility and multicultural inter-comprehension, new research and development measures concerning especially the use of target languages other than English in CLIL-education have been gaining importance with a great significance. As foreign language learning in Europe today is seen to be at risk of becoming “English learning” only4, new approaches and ideas as on how to motivate and encourage more Europeans to expose themselves to multiple language acquisition in- and outside school environments need urgent attention in both national and international studies and development actions. Moreover, as the current European language education policy is interested in not only providing a high-quality language education, but also in enabling European citizens to obtain a “reasonable degree” of communication skills in at least two languages additionally to their L1, and this from as an early age on as possible, it is the experiences with and research on CLIL education of all things from which we can expect to gain extremely valuable knowledge and guidance for introducing more diversity and methodological variety into our language education. To the question why, a couple of generic arguments for benefits of CLIL -education can be highlighted in a nut shell:
Acquisition of content(s)
As a dual-focused educational approach focusing on content and language learning at the same time, CLIL can provide specific added value in both the development of content knowledge and the acquisition of language skills. Actually, there are indications on the development of content knowledge being even more successful in a CLIL-approach than in a respective solely L1-based subject classroom. The reasons for this are, of course, manifold, but seem to be very often linked to e.g. a learner-centred appropriateness of presentation and teaching techniques and a reasonable simplification and reduction of the “teacher talk” typical of CLIL, as well as to a high motivation and enthusiasm among CLIL students to acquire subject knowledge through a language other than their L1. In addition, the simultaneous confrontation with two languages in CLIL classrooms, known as translanguaging (i.e. language in-take in the L2, output in the L1), is said to contribute to an eventually better and deeper understanding of the content than it is mostly the case in a L1-based context. In other words, and opposed to what was suggested on the language use in CLIL and immersion
classrooms earlier (known as the “une personne, une langue”-principle), the parallel presence and use of two languages in CLIL classrooms is no more seen as that problematic for CLIL, but rather as an element supporting the feeling of freedom and safety amongst the pupils in CLIL classrooms, which is, as we know today, crucial for any successful learning process to take place. On the other hand, there is a lot variation between different CLIL classrooms with respect to modes and measures of translanguaging. Some basic principles might be transferred from one practice to another, but the teaching techniques and the realisation of the basic principles must be always adapted and developed context-specifically.
Acquisition of language(s)
As concerns the “pure” linguistic development of the pupils in CLIL-streams, then, it seems that the highly variable and meaningful language use in CLIL supports significantly not only the acquisition of the L2 but also but the further development of L1. Both the aforementioned development of content knowledge and the advantages in further acquisition of first language skills through CLIL have been recently gaining remarkable interest as research topics in the field. This is a fairly new trend, as the academic research on CLIL has so far quite clearly focused on the L2 development. Therefore, it has been known to us for quite a while now that CLIL can – at least in theory – provide the most fruitful setting for a comprehensive approach to (foreign) language acquisition at school: As long as the interplay of the learning activities undertaken in the foreign language classroom (focusing usually on form and structures) and those taking place in a parallel CLIL-environment (focusing
usually on content and communication) can be elaborately structured and optimized, there is hardly any other “path” as promising as this combination to support a comprehensive language development in a school environment and this, evidently, in different languages and even with heterogeneous learner groups.
„Learn as you use, use as you learn“ – reflections on the language choice of the CLILiG-project
Such findings on CLIL and on its interplay with foreign language classrooms have been quite frequently discussed amongst experts during the last years. From time to time they have also been presented to a wider public through different forms of media. Interestingly though, there has so far been hardly any approach to these questions in direct relation with such CLIL – contexts, in which other languages than English are used as a medium of instruction. Given the actual aims and objectives of the pan-European language education policy making, however, it has now become absolutely necessary to survey and analyse the possibilities and opportunities of the CLIL approach for the purposes of diversification and quality development of European language education in the future. Even though many of the issues (such as the basic methodologies, principles of classroom and teacher cooperation, etc.) related to CLIL-education in general are independent of the respective target language used, some themes still require also a language-specific approach. This particular need was also recognized when the proposal for the first European survey ever on CLIL – education in the medium of German language (Content and Language Integrated Learning in German, CLILiG) was designed. The target language German was also chosen as a working language for the project, even though this is and has never been the most common choice for similar European development actions so far. This decision was made mainly for three reasons: (1) Firstly, as all the project members are experts in the field of German (as a foreign or second) language and not to the same degree in that of English, no similar results or even work forms could have been realistic for the consortium, if the project group was to work in English. (2) Furthermore, as the core aim of this survey is to find out about different forms and the general state-of-the-art of German medium CLIL – education in Europe, it would have been impossible to obtain as high a degree of accuracy and substantial depth in the research work, if the main working language had been any other than German. (3) Last but not least, the choice of English would have made it extremely hard if not impossible to include in the survey such questions, which are – to a varying degree – linked to actual teaching and CLILiG in practice. Omitting these would have, however, resulted in a significant decrease of the overall quality of the project measure and made it impossible to proceed according to the original work plan foreseen for the whole action. Additionally, it might have appeared somewhat peculiar to certain cooperation bodies and instances, if the first European development measure ever on German medium CLIL-education had been carried out in English, especially in the light of the current profiles and pleadings of the language education policy in Europe and the concrete argumentations therein for a frequent use of other languages than English in different contexts. Even in the present form, where only the title of the project is in English and this for obvious and transparent reasons, some addressees and external partners of the consortium have found it unordinary, as the project still deals with German medium CLIL and is, thus, addressed and probably also most interesting above all to representatives of German (as a foreign or second) language. Communication and exchange between the CLILiG-consortium and the external expert bodies, be it a representative of German as a foreign language or that of CLIL-expertise operating in English, have, however, not suffered from the parallel use of English and German. Actually quite in contrary, the questions and comments related to this issue on different occasions have helped to bring these two fields (German as a foreign language and CLIL research and development) visibly closer together – and this, of course, in accordance with the initial plan of a not least (language education) political project measure.
Aims and objectives of the CLILiG-survey – How and what for?
As concerns the main goals and objectives of the CLILiG-survey study, a summarized description can be provided with a direct reference to the three main areas of interest in the outline of the support programme “Observation, Analysis, Innovation”. This reference is indicated below with italic text in the brackets after the respective description of the objectives. The work plan of CLILiG has been divided into four major steps of activities, which can also be seen in relation with the three focus areas of the support programme in question. In this chapter, a short explanation is given under each key objective as to provide a clearer picture of which concrete tasks have been accomplished in order to achieve the objectives set for the project measure. This list provides, however, at best a short overview of the main activities of the project, whereas the work plan as a whole, as well as some particular activities and separate steps will be highlighted in more detail in a separate section (see CLILiG in action – what happened when).
Hence, the main aims and objectives set for the CLILiG-survey included e.g. the following activities:
1) Carrying out a state-of-the-art survey on content and language integrated learning
through German in the 11 member countries of the project consortium (Observation)
a. Observations on the context of the institutional frameworks and language education
policy, in which foreign language instruction and CLIL-education is taking place in the member countries
b. Preparatory discussions on the scope and possibilities of the survey on the background of the aforementioned observations (a)
c. Designing a suitable core-instrument for the survey to be implemented in four different areas of educational systems in all CLILiG-member countries. These four areas under study were:
i. Common framework of language education policy and respective institutional parameters
ii. Pre-school education, learning and teaching at school
iii. Pre-service teacher education
iv. In-service teacher education
d. An additional, tailor-made survey instrument is designed for those countries and regions, in which no CLILiG has been reported so far
e. An evaluation instrument is designed for the analysis of the data to be gathered through the survey
2) Undertaking research activities regarding the implementation potential of CLILiG in new regions, i.e. regions and countries, in which no CLILiG has been reported so far (Observation, Analysis)
a. Close observation of educational structures and foreign language education policy in countries with so far no CLILiG and only little (if any) CLIL-education in general
b. Analysis of the data gathered through the CLILiG-survey in countries and regions with so far no CLILiG-provision
c. Subsequent interviews and discussions with representatives of educational policies and other expert institutions in the respective areas and countries on the implementation of German medium CLIL
d. Designing a strategy plan for pilot projects and other activities to support CLIL-education (especially, but not solely through the medium of German)
3) Conducting analyses on CLILiG-classroom methodologies, as well as on political
and institutional conditions, in which CLILiG is already implemented and could
be further developed (Analysis)
a. As a parallel measure to the aforementioned analyses regarding countries and regions with so far no CLILiG, a more detailed analysis is carried out with respect to already existing practices on the level of both classroom methodologies and political and institutional settings these are embedded in
b. Preparation of a medium-term development plan in order to support the existing CLILiG-practices in the member countries, incl. their further development, quality assurance and cooperation measures on different levels of educational structures both nationally and internationally
c. Initiation and enhancement of exchange between classrooms and schools providing CLIL through German and CLIL through other languages, preparation of plans to fasten and foster contacts e.g. via information and communication technologies (ICT)
4) Working out innovative support concepts for German medium CLIL e.g. through
transnational cooperation in the development of pre- and in-service teacher education
a. Based on the data gathered, a strategy plan for continuous development work of CLILiG is prepared by the consortium in cooperation with other international partners and experts
b. The medium- and long-term cooperation plans envisaged aim to fasten and foster cooperation in the field of teacher education, both on pre- and in-service levels and in cross-linguistic and language specific settings
c. After designing an initial development plan (cf. 4 b.) the potential of information and communication technologies (ICT) is analyzed with regard to development of a structural framework for transnational teacher training cooperation for CLILiG (e.g. by using the WWW for online meetings, planning sessions, presentations and small-scale conferences in real time, etc.)
5) Providing experts’ support and contributing to awareness raising and further development
of CLILiG-related methods and work forms in multilingual classes especially
in the German speaking countries (Germany, Switzerland, Austria) (Innovation)
a. On the background of the data gathered and with the help of the established CLILiG-networks development concepts are prepared, which can be used to support the challenges faced in multilingual classrooms in German speaking countries
b. Measures of awareness raising with respect to special needs and particular demands of teachers and learners in multilingual contexts are planned on the basis of the information gathered through the study and with the help of external partner networks
c. Learning and teaching materials used in CLILiG-contexts throughout the world are modified and adapted according to the needs in multilingual German speaking classrooms. In addition, piloting and evaluation is planned in cooperation between the CLILiG-consortium (represented by the Central Agency for German Schools Abroad and the Head of consortium) and a group of external experts (e.g. former CLILiG-teachers in different parts of the world, currently working in and with multilingual classes in Germany)
6) Contributing to curriculum development and measures of quality assurance in
CLILiG by initiating networking and research & development activities between
classroom practices and research experts throughout Europe with the help of information
and communication technologies (ICT) (Innovation)
a. Using both the expertise of the CLILiG-consortium and that of the external partners and supporters of the project, information is gathered on already existing curricular guidelines for CLILiG-education. Particular attention is paid to the interplay of the structures and goals of target language use in (1) foreign language classroom (German as a foreign language, Deutsch als Fremdsprache) and in (2) sc. non-linguistic subjects taught through the medium of German language.
b. For purposes of a profound development of curricula for CLIL(iG) – environments, research consortia working on e.g. neuro-linguistic approaches to cognitive development of children in CLILiG-environments are consulted and cooperation measures with experts in this field planned (e.g. with University of Heidelberg, Germany; German Kindergarten and School Lisbon, Portugal)
c. On the background of the activities described in 6 a. and 6 b., external experts in the field of ICT are consulted as to prepare a plan on how to support and enhance the new cooperative measures of research and development through different forms of multimedia and ICT-tools. Special attention will be paid to creation and provision of work forms and communication forums, in which a real-time exchange can take place irrespective of geographical location of the participants
7) Fastening global academic research networks on CLIL and bilingual education in
order to enable continuous evaluation and development of CLIL through German
(in cooperation with CLIL in other target languages) in Europe and beyond (Innovation)
a. As a profound research cooperation on CLIL still is only in its infancy, it is of particular importance for the CLILiG – survey to contribute to fastening of such networks, in which also German medium CLIL can be considered in detail
b. In addition, questions and possibilities concerning resources and funding of academic research on CLIL(iG) will be discussed and strategies prepared in order to enable more long-term research cooperation on CLIL(iG) in both European and global research settings
c. Furthermore, dialogue and cooperation between immersion and CLIL-research, as well as between experts and research consortia representing different CLIL target languages is enhanced also through participation of the CLILiG-consortium in international conferences and seminars, at which issues on CLIL and immersion education are discussed and co-publications, as well as other forms of concrete cooperation planned
As an overall aim, the CLILiG-study is concerned with providing closer insights into the methodologies and organisational arrangements of individual CLILiG-type classrooms in the member countries. The goal is to show, how a co-operation between CLILiG-practices (incl. ones not included in this study) as such, and with CLIL-contexts using other target languages than German could contribute to a long-term quality development of CLIL-education in general, as well as to the linguistic and methodological variation in CLIL-programmes and the general European efforts in supporting plurilingualism and multiculturality in different forms of lifelong education. In addition, as stated already earlier, special attention will be drawn to co-operation between foreign language classrooms and CLIL. Being one of the key issues of interest for current CLIL-research in general, this will – in any case – need to be studied in further detail in terms of follow-up measures. Expressions of interest from outside Europe also suggest that a platform for purposes of long-term cooperation and exchange should be created and developed between experts and classrooms in- and outside Europe. As concerns German medium CLIL, recommendations for these developments will be prepared already as a part of this survey.
A short overview of the official work plan
As stated above, the official work plan of the CLILiG – project was divided into four different phases of activities. These are named after the main activities undertaken during each period and can be summarized as follows:
The very first (1) phase was dedicated to design and preparation of the survey instrument and the conduction of the survey itself (Erhebungsphase). The first activity period lasted from October 2005 until May 2006 and comprised various activities around the development of the instrument to be used for the purposes of the study. The second step was (2) the phase of analysis, evaluation and estimation (Analyse- und Evaluationsphase), lasting from May until October 2006. During this phase the CLILiG – contexts included in the survey were analysed and evaluated, as well as the potential of introducing CLILiG in “new countries or regions” estimated. The (3) third work phase of CLILiG comprised a timeframe from October 2006 until July 2007 and included activities regarding the preparation of concepts and strategies on quality assurance and development of CLILiG in local, regional, national and international cooperation (Konzeptentwicklung zur Qualitätssicherung des CLILiG). The main aim of this work phase was to sum up all the findings of the survey, list weaknesses and strengths of the present situation, as well as risks and opportunities for the future and subsequently, on this background, to provide an overview of ideas and recommendations e.g. on how to contribute to a comprehensive development CLIL-education (especially CLILiG) and its various support measures in national contexts and in transnational cooperation in Europe and beyond. In addition, the potential of CLIL – approach as a means to foster and secure linguistic diversity in European school education was reflected upon, as was a whole range of other issues around the broad field of CLIL and its future development potential. Particular attention was also paid to forms of information work to raise awareness on issues of foreign languages in different educational contexts. For this purpose, amongst others, alsosome film material was gathered has been subsequently compiled to a DVD-format, even though no claim could be raised to produce a professional film on CLILiG within project measure. A professional and a more detailed film on different aspects of CLILiG – education, for example, should be taken care of in terms of the follow-up measures instead. The last two months of the project (Schlussphase), finally, were devoted to the preparation of the final conference and the production of envisaged project materials. (4) The final phase of CLILiG (Schlussphase) was also, additionally, contributed to launching of various follow-up measures, which have been planned and initiated at least in part already by members of the constantly expanding CLILiG-consortium. As the follow-up measures are and will be, of course, far more specific than the CLILiG-survey, both national and transnational dimensions of development and future cooperation have been taken into consideration.
Some milestones of the CLILiG-survey study in a nut shell
1. Initial reports on foreign language education and CLIL-provision in the member countries
As a first concrete written contribution to the CLILiG-survey, the project members prepared and produced an initial description of the situation on CLIL(iG)- type provision in their respective countries (Situationsbeschreibung). The current situation of CLIL(iG)- education was presented on the background of the educational and political contexts, in which foreign language teaching is taking place in the countries in question, and CLIL could be further developed or introduced, if not reported yet. On the background of these initial reports it became evident that beside the not completely unexpected great heterogeneity, numerous examples of good practice in German medium CLIL-provision do exist throughout Europe already and various measures will be needed in different parts of the continent in order to gather information with an appropriate accuracy on the state-of-the-art of the practices existing, as well as of the contexts and situations, in which introduction of CLILiG-provision could be realistic in near future.
2. Design and preparation of the CLILiG-survey instruments
On the background of the information gathered through the initial reports, a special tool for the purposes of the survey was designed. The first reports on the CLILiG-structures and development potential in the member countries had made clear that a tailor-made instrument had to be designed to enable an appropriate approach to issues of particular interest for the study. Conducted by the head of the consortium, the design and preparation work on the CLILiG-survey instrument was commenced at the first project meeting held in Sofia, Bulgaria in January 2006 (cf. work plan). After intensive discussions and group presentations a consensus was reached on that the target groups and main fields of analysis of the survey should include the following focus areas: (1) Common framework of language education policy and institutional parameters, (2) Pre-school education, teaching and learning at school, (3) Pre-service teacher education and (4) In-service teacher education. After the meeting in Sofia, the instrument was further developed and finalised in form of a “distance group work” over the following few weeks. The result of this work phase, a four-piece questionnaire including numerous issues and relevant questions to all the aforementioned addressees was presented as a part of the CLILiG interim report and is still available for download here.
3. Conduction of the survey and analysis of results
The tailor-made CLILiG-questionnaire was sent to different representatives in the aforementioned fields in March 2006, followed by a back-up and a partial extension of particular questions through telephone conversations, face-to-face interviews and e-mail correspondence. Once the addressees had responded to the questionnaires and the survey as such had been completed, the outcome was analyzed in each member country on the background of its respective context, but according to common basic principles of analysis given by the head of the consortium. Following these steps, the stage of analysis and the first results of the study were presented by an expert representative from each of the member countries at the second project meeting held at the University of Vienna in July 2006. Towards the end of the meeting, the results of the survey from all the eleven partner countries of the project were analyzed with respect to strengths and weaknesses in the current state of CLILiG – education in the four different survey areas inventoried.
In addition to the activities discussed above, a new project-internal working group on implementation of information and communication technologies (ICT-group) into development of CLILiG was established at the Vienna meeting. As can be seen from the aims and objectives of the study (cf. chapter 1), implementation and use of ICT-media is foreseen for different activities on various levels of the CLILiG-project. In the light of the profile of the action 6.1.2., these activities are above all linked to the part of innovation. On the background of the official work plan of CLILiG, again, the potential of ICT was studied at and benefited from especially in terms of the work phase 3, which focused on the preparation of concepts and strategies on quality assurance and development of CLILiG in transnational co-operation (Konzeptentwicklung zur Qualitätssicherung des CLILiG). After the Vienna meeting the ICT-group also took up the task of recording and collecting film material on German medium CLIL-provision and related issues (including conference documentations, school visits, etc.) throughout Europe. Material was collected in several countries and at different occasions both in the CLILiG-member countries and outside. It has been extremely fruitful and interesting to notice that especially the activities “outside the actual CLILiG-consortium countries” have remarkably contributed to the awareness- raising on the core issues in question, as well as to the general perception of linguistic diversity and its value above all in educational settings. The collected film material has been compiled to a DVD-format, which now represents of one the main products of the CLILiG-survey. Even though a production of a professional “awareness raising film” on CLIL-education (with German as a target language) could not be included in this project, the CLILiG-consortium has succeeded to produce an information DVD on CLILiG and herewith to provide interested colleagues and institutions with some first insights into European CLILiG-classrooms, as well as with ideas for structure and content of more detailed materials on awareness-raising and other relevant issues of CLILiG, which can and should be produced in terms of the follow-up measures of the survey.
Following the project meeting held in Vienna, the members of the CLILiG-consortium produced individually country-specific reports on the results and reflection of the survey. In these reports the results of the study were displayed in more detail and analyzed on the background of the characteristics of language education policy in each member country. In addition, each report included a chapter, in which the outcome of the survey was reflected upon the actual efforts and activities of pan-European policies concerning awareness raising for plurilingualism and multiculturality, as well as their interwoven relations not only in contexts of lifelong education, but also — and especially — in various situations of lifelong communication in everyday life (i.e. outside institutional contexts). A sample of the country- specific reports on the results and reflection of the survey was presented together with the interim report and can be still downloaded here.
4. Concepts and strategies on further development of CLILiG
As can be seen from the work plan (cf. e.g. the interim report), the second half in the lifetime of CLILiG (October 2006 – September 2007) kicked off with the work phase 3 and was dedicated to the preparation of concepts and strategies on quality assurance and further development of CLILiG on the basis of the findings of the survey (Konzeptentwicklung zur Qualitätssicherung des CLILiG). Accordingly, a more detailed analysis of the results was produced, and all the strengths and opportunities discovered made use of in order to tackle weaknesses and inadequacies hindering the development of high quality CLIL education for purposes of plurilingualism, linguistic awareness, mobility and multicultural inter-comprehension in European education. As concerns concrete activities and aims during this work phase, the following issues deserved particular attention: (1) Preparation of a common framework and a scaffolding for quality development of CLILiG on the background of the data collected through the survey, (2) analysis and categorisation of results on the basis of the four focus areas under study, (3) preparation of a strategy plan for development actions and quality assurance in the four focus areas, and (4) estimation of the implementation potential of ICT-media for the development work in question. In addition to these steps, the ICT-working group continued its work on the preparation of the information-DVD for purposes of project synopsis and a later production of film material to be used e.g. for awareness-raising and public relations work at different occasions. The ICT-group presented some of the first concrete ideas on the structure and form of this information material to the rest of the consortium at the end of year 2006. A more detailed structure and a first draft in a DVD-format was finished and ready for discussion and analysis in the CLILiG-consortium at the third transnational meeting of partners held in Budapest, Hungary, in March 2007 (cf. work plan). Apart from this, the third meeting provided a possibility to give concrete shape to the ideas and concepts on further development work on CLILiG, which had been drafted so far. Hence, the initial ideas and concepts which were partially discussed already at the second project meeting in Vienna and thereafter reported and reflected by individual members of the consortium e.g. in the country-specific survey reports, were now developed and shaped into strategy plans for local and regional, as well as for national and international development measures. What is more, just six months later a thoroughly valuable opportunity arose to present and discuss these ideas and plans with approximately 130 experts of foreign language education from over 20 countries around the world at an international education conference in Finland – CURRICULUM LINGUAE 2007 – which also represented the final conference of the CLILiG – project.
CURRICULUM LINGUAE 2007 – Linguistic Diversity through Integration, Innovation and Exchange
Under the banner “Curriculum Linguae 2007” and aiming at general recognition, enhancement and fostering of linguistic diversity especially in European school education the final conference of the CLILiG-project was addressed to a broad target group of different actors in the field of foreign language education, CLIL and related areas. The subjects for plenary and workshop sessions, as well as other forms of presentations (such as posters) comprised several key issues currently under discussion in the field. Over two days, a total of approximately 50 talks and presentations were produced on different dimensions of European education for multilingualism. The plenary talks covered e.g. pan-European strategies and future challenges for school-based multi- and plurilingual education. In this context, issues such as the role of English and challenges and experiences in language education with multilingual learner groups were debated. Moreover, current developments in multi- and plurilingual education in different countries (e.g. Finland and Switzerland) were highlighted, as well as theories, practices and relevant research questions of multiple language acquisition at school with a special reference to new and innovative structural developments, such as a common curriculum for language education.
The four thematic sections of the conference, again, included presentations in the following areas: 1) Promotion and implementation of European language education policies, 2) Diversity and quality assurance in Content and Language Integrated Learning, 3) Cross-curricular skills teaching for multilingual learner groups and 4) Resources forum for international cooperation in research and practice of modern languages education.
The conference proceedings, consisting of an overview on the background and the profile of the conference, as well as approximately 20 contributions given at the event, provide an insight into the presentations in both plenary sessions and the section work. This publication (see below), together with a project synopsis provided on a DVD, also represents one of the main products of the CLILiG-project.
A Summary of key results of the CLILiG-survey
The information collected and analyzed in terms of the CLILiG-survey shows clearly that a fundament for multiple forms of CLIL-type provision and its further development in Europe exists. At the same time, however, an urgent need can be recognized to enhance research and development measures regarding certain basic elements of quality assurance and development of CLIL education in general, and especially that regarding the potential of CLIL-LOTE. On the background of the four focus areas observed in the CLILiG-survey (cf. above), some of the existing resources, strengths and abilities (marked with plus “+”), as well as current weaknesses and some of the most urgent development needs (marked with minus “-“) can be summarized as follows…
Focus area 1: Common framework of language education policy and institutional parameters
+ General awareness of the advantages of CLIL(iG) – education is essentially present and growing
• COMMENT: It is evident that the general state of knowledge concerning CLIL-approach and its various different forms of realization as such is constantly growing in Europe. This is partly thanks to some recent pan-European publications on the issue (cf. e.g. Eurydice, 2006), partly again because of the increasing number of schools providing some sort of CLIL-education throughout Europe. It is important to underline the fact that the development work undertaken at schools, which has actually lead to a more sensitive perception of the issue and the increase of interest in general, has been in most cases run by engaged and competent individuals with knowledge and vision of CLIL education and / or cross-curricular (foreign) language mediation. Thus, the qualitative development of CLIL-education has so far been to a great extent a bottom-up- approach. This, however, is but a positive point of departure for a long-term development work.
+ Positive system-based solutions for specific cases documented (in legislation and elsewhere)
• COMMENT: Following the increasing state of knowledge on CLIL in general, it can be seen that there is also an increasing interest in CLIL-type provision and its different implementation forms among the decision makers and relevant institutional frameworks behind them. It seems that lack of interest quite often – at least with respect to innovative forms of foreign language education and CLIL – goes together with lack of information.
– Inadequate research-based awareness-raising and public relations work on CLIL or none at all especially in the field of CLIL-LOTE (CLIL through languages other than English)
• COMMENT: Even though the state of knowledge and subsequently the level of interest in CLIL-education are currently improving in general terms, it is obvious that measures on awareness-raising for linguistic diversity also in CLIL-settings are urgently needed on various levels of education and throughout the continent. Examples of good practice deserve possibilities for further development, which can be only assured through networks enabling resources for e.g. longitudinal research and evaluation of CLIL-practices.
– Dialogue and cooperation between CLIL-providers and – experts (such as institutions,
teachers, researchers) and political decision makers is missing
• COMMENT: So far, there has been hardly any long-term planning cooperation on CLILiG or even CLIL in general in the member countries. Individual examples of good practice are becoming more known and thus contributing to the perception and recognition of the current development work undertaken in schools. The missing link seems to be a systematic institutional cooperation between different bodies developing education or being responsible for the development.
Focus area 2: Pre-school education, teaching and learning at school
+ Individual examples of ‘good practice’ exist and are starting to get known
• COMMENT: As stated above already, individual examples of good practice in CLIL are becoming known, and do thus contribute to awareness-raising and recognition of CLIL-education at different levels (cf. the different focus areas under study in this survey). It is crucial to take note of this and enable a regular exchange and networking between CLIL – experts on the school level.
+ Continuous development work undertaken and good results achieved in the preschool education in several countries
• COMMENT: It is somewhat surprising, how many successful CLIL-practices there are in the field of pre-school education, especially considering the low amount of institutional support given or general attention paid to them (kindergartens, pre-school classes) in development actions so far. In the meantime, however, more and more efforts are taken amongst experts in the field to include kindergartens and pre-schools in the development actions on CLIL education, which have, unfortunately, so far focused almost solely on CLIL in primary and secondary education.
– Cooperation between foreign (or rather: target) language classroom and the CLIL-classroom is under-developed or does not exist at all
• COMMENT: This, the dovetailing of foreign (or: target) language instruction and CLIL – provision is one of the key issues that need urgent attention and development in longitudinal research settings. Some good examples also in the field of German medium CLIL show that a systematic dialogue and exchange are possible and can pave way for development of common curricular frames. This issue, being, of course, not only restricted to German CLIL, deserves particular attention in the follow-up measures of CLILiG and should be developed not least in terms of academic research activities.
– Development work on curricular frameworks and networking (especially with respect to target language variation and use in foreign language classroom and CLIL-classroom) urgently needed
• COMMENT: This obstacle goes together with the aforementioned issue regarding the basic cooperation structures between CLIL-classrooms and foreign language classrooms. Consequently, special attention needs to be paid to the variation of the target language use on different levels of interaction in both CLIL and foreign language classrooms. This obstacle has been tackled to a certain extent in the field of English medium CLIL education, whereas other target and working languages still clearly lack any systematic developmental approach.
Focus area 3: Pre-service teacher education
+ Development of modular teacher training on CLIL has started in different forms in a number of European countries
• COMMENT: The difficulty in establishing teacher qualification structures for CLIL has become obvious and well-known through different studies and surveys in the last few years (cf. e.g. Eurydice, 2006). In the CLILiG-study, however, we have discovered that the development of modular pre-service teacher training on German medium CLIL has actually started in some of our member countries (e.g. Hungary). Similar possibilities e.g. with respect to teaching practice in different CLIL school environments are under discussion also in some other countries (e.g. Finland, Portugal). Cooperation with universities and other teacher training institutions are under preparation, as well. As the issue of teacher training in CLIL has been brought up in several forums of language education policy different countries lately (e.g. Finland, Norway, Spain, France, Germany), it would, as a next step, be advisable to present the findings of CLILiG in as many occasions as possible and use these as a basis for a systematic development of teacher training structures preferably in transnational and in both language-specific and cross-linguistic settings.
+ Developing international networks can be used as a platform for systematic development work in the future (e.g. development of transnational modules of CLIL-qualification)
• COMMENT: As networks are now established and further developed between the aforementioned countries with the help of such project measures as CLILiG, a fundamental basis for a systematic long-term cooperation is currently improving, as well. What concerns the development of German medium CLIL and the respective teacher training structures, first plans for further action regarding the development of transnational teacher training programmes on the background of the current project measure and the expertise of the CLILiG-consortium already exist on both pan-European level and e.g. in the Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark).
– No specific qualifying pre-service education on CLIL(iG) in most of the countries observed
• COMMENT: Despite the aforementioned listing of given strengths and a significant potential for future development work it is still to be regarded as one of the most urgent issues that comprehensive pre-service education programmes in CLIL do, as yet, not exist in the member countries. As today, there are some individual programmes in some countries (e.g. Finland) on content teaching in the medium of English, but the CLIL – methodology as such, as well as the challenge of teaching through the medium of another language than English is missing throughout Europe. Needless to say that the basic qualification of teachers is one of the corner stones for developing and reaching high quality in CLIL – as it is, of course, in any education.
– So far hardly any cooperation reported between teacher training institutions, usually only sporadic support measures through governmental policy making
• COMMENT: As CLIL-education is, surprisingly enough, only gaining interest and recognition in Europe as an issue of relevance for teacher education, it is not completely without expectation that there has, as yet, not been any long-term cooperation between teacher training institutions on CLIL in a larger scale. As we have seen above, however, project measures such as CLILiG, can serve as very fruitful sources of information and forums of exchange on already existing structures and thus contribute to establishing new networks and possibilities of cooperation. As concerns the so far only modest recognition of CLIL(iG) in the governmental policy making of the member countries, it can be, once again, stated that this might be – according to the impressions of the experts of CLILiG-consortium – linked to the only moderate state of information gathered and possessed so far on CLIL-education. On the other hand, however, there are clear indications on that interest in CLIL-education is generally growing and the currently improving networks and forms of cooperation should be used also for informing representatives of (language education) policy making about the potential and given expertise to develop foreign language education in European schools into the direction envisaged by the pan-European key-instances of language education policies.
Focus area 4: In-service teacher education
+ Some transnational cooperation activities exist and can be further developed
• COMMENT: As in the field of pre-service teacher education (cf. above), also in the in-service training of teachers some forms of cooperation already exist and have proven their quality in practice e.g. through different kinds of European development projects. These networks form a good and promising platform for further development and cooperation throughout Europe and actually beyond, as well.
+ Use of information and communication technologies (ICT) has been encouraging in this field. ICT-implementation can be further developed and optimized for the manifold tasks of in-service education of CLIL-teachers
• COMMENT: In-service education of teachers represents also that very area, in which – in terms of CLILiG – the most innovative approaches to implementation of modern media have been realized. As a reflection to the development issues listed above to e.g. teacher training cooperation and quality assurance of CLIL, we might argue on this background that in the follow-up measures of CLILiG, particular activities should be undertaken also as to survey and evaluate the measures of ICT-implementations undertaken so far, and to draw conclusions from these to develop the ICT-work in the future not least with respect to transnational cooperation in pre and in-service teacher education. In the course of the CLILiG-study, first proto types of ICT-based training and evaluation instruments have been developed by some members of the CLILiG-consortium. These instruments will be piloted in terms of at least one follow-up measure of the CLILiG-project and used mainly for documentation and evaluation of CLIL-teaching, as well as that of the learning outcome in the target language, the first language and the subject knowledge.
– In-service education lacks coordination and continuous, research-based development work
• COMMENT: This problem has been recognized – also through the CLILiG-survey – in practically every CLILiG member country and needs urgent action. This issue was also discussed in terms of the strategy planning of the consortium on future collaborations. It should subsequently be further developed in cooperation between teacher education providers and research consortia. Both the national and the international level of cooperation should be specifically considered and the current research questions of CLIL dealt with in detail in both language-specific and cross-linguistic settings. One idea, which arouse during the workshops on strategy plans for future development measures, was the production of a common European framework of reference for CLIL in-service training.
– Regular and systematic communication and cooperation between “language orientation” and “subject orientation” urgently needed (in both pre- and in-service training measures)
• COMMENT: A specific issue of relevance and major concern for in-service education of CLIL. As the teacher qualification for CLIL is in many cases acquired or developed through different forms of in-service training, there are but numerous questions still unanswered regarding the balance between language and subject orientation in CLIL-provision. As in the focus area 2 (see above), the dialogue between “content” and “language” needs particular attention and urgent action also in the field of in-service education. A special challenge is, of course, to design appropriate educational paths for different target groups wishing to qualify for CLIL provision. These include e.g. subject teachers, foreign language teachers and so called class teachers (in primary education) teaching several, sometimes all subjects to a particular class. The CLILiG-consortium wishes to prepare first drafts for co-operation structures which allow respective developments in the field of teacher training.
Ideas and recommendations for further development measures on CLILiG
Some of the common concerns regarding the future of CLIL education have been confirmed here to hold also for the development and quality assurance of German medium CLIL. The certification and qualification issues, establishing and fostering network-building, as well as the development and production of learning and teaching materials seem to need urgent attention all over Europe. This goes also for a systematic implementation of CLIL in both pre- and in-service education of teachers and for academic research as an accompanying measure for all practice-based development work of CLIL.
Apart from the “strengths” and “weaknesses” in the current state of CLILiG in the member countries, the project consortium also produced ideas and recommendations for further developmental cooperation on CLILiG across Europe. These were discussed and prepared particularly at the third project meeting of the CLILiG-consortium in Budapest in March 2007 and presented in part to a wider public at the final conference of the CLILiG-project – CURRICULUM LINGUAE – in Finland in September 2007:
■ Step up public relations efforts
■ Actions of awareness raising and public information work on the advantages and characteristics of CLIL education (incl. different target languages). E.g. production of films on the actual work, learning and the outcome in CLILiG-contexts across Europe and beyond, wherever possible, and this for various target groups (parents, teachers, stake-holders, researchers, etc.)
■ Review and consolidate cooperation structures between
■ a) education policy and school practice
■ b) research and school practice
■ c) pre-school education and school-based education and
■ d) language and subject teaching in schools
■ Develop teaching and learning materials
■ Development and production of learning and teaching materials (incl. e-materials) for specific purposes of CLIL education in transnational cooperation
■ Development and production of multimedia tools, which enable monitoring, testing and assessment of CLIL education on both learner and teacher levels in specific subjects (cf. the certification issue)
■ Target language specific in-depth studies on CLIL-methodologies, materials production and curricular cooperation (“language” and “subject”) in the field of CLIL-type provision in Europe
■ Develop initial and in-service teacher training structures, including transnational cooperation
■ Joint development of a complete study programme including both general courses to be absolved by all students, as well as specific ones varying according to the choice of target language(s) and subject(s) made by individual students
■ Development measures on curriculum development, e.g. projects for the joint development of “European modules” for CLIL-qualification in different subjects and target languages
■ Construction and development of a Common European Framework of Reference for in-service teacher training for CLIL(iG)
■ Develop instruments for the assessment of linguistic and subject-related teaching and learning attainment
■ Detailed studies on the present situation and future development potential of evaluation and certification for CLIL type provision
■ Use of up-to-date ICT-media to enable longitudinal research, documentation and evaluation measures in both language and subject content simultaneously, if needed
■ Explicitly allow for ‘CLILiG-like’ teaching situations in multilingual groups of learners in German-speaking countries (cf. language support for pupils from migrant backgrounds)
■ Collaboration with CLILiG and GFL-experts in the global network of German Schools Abroad (through the Central Agency for German Schools Abroad / Federal Administrational Office, Germany)
■ Collection and analysis of good practices on CLILiG and multilingual learner groups also from outside Europe, e.g. from Australia, comparison with the findings in Europe, subsequent implementation of results into teacher education programmes in higher education and school / classroom cooperation, respectively
The diversity of the participating countries is only equaled by the spectrum of developmental interests and needs among the institutions and countries that helped to shape the project. One the one hand, the aim is to sensitize the education scene at large to the theme of content and language integrated learning especially in languages other than English. In other cases, firm structures already exist, and sometimes even traditions. The intention now is to develop and replicate these by means of systematic national and international cooperation, also with particular regard to German as both the target language and the working language.
The first international survey on content and language integrated learning in German, as embodied by the CLILiG study, is a highly significant step along this developmental path. The results from the study, and the network brought into being by this European cooperation, constitute a basis for cooperation on which to build up long-term, creative developmental work.