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Research Agenda for CLIL Pedagogies

Research Agenda for CLIL Pedagogies



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Published by Isburt
Content and Language Integrated
Learning: Towards a Connected
Research Agenda for CLIL Pedagogies by Do Coyle
Content and Language Integrated
Learning: Towards a Connected
Research Agenda for CLIL Pedagogies by Do Coyle

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Published by: Isburt on Mar 22, 2009
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Content and Language IntegratedLearning: Towards a ConnectedResearch Agenda for CLIL Pedagogies
Do Coyle 
School of Education, University of Nottingham, UK 
This paper sets out to position CLIL research within the broader field of bilingualeducation in the 21st century. In considering the development of CLIL across diverseEuropean contexts, the author problematises the construction of a research agendawhich lies at the interface of several different fields of study. A conceptualframework for CLIL is presented which reorientates the integration of languageand content in order to inform and develop CLIL pedagogies from a ‘holisticperspective. Using the 4Cs Framework for analysis, the author concludes that forCLIL research to ‘mature’, the nature and design of the research must evolve toidentify CLIL-specific issues whilst drawing on a much wider frame of reference.This poses a challenge for a future CLIL research agenda which must ‘connect’ andbe ‘connected’ if the potential of CLIL is to be realised.
doi: 10.2167/beb459.0
CLIL (content and language integrated learning), 4Cs Framework,theories of practice, research
Bilingual Education in Europe: Setting the Context
In the 21st century where the grand rhetoric of ‘global’ perspectives sitsalongside postmodernist interpretations of fragmented societies, bilingualeducation is a generic term which is ‘volatile and ideologically loaded’(Cummins, 1999). On a global scale language patterns have changedsignificantly
a situation described by Maurais (2003) as a ‘new linguisticworld order’. Yet being educated in a language other than one’s mothertongue has been around for over 5000 years. It is a complex business involvingwide-ranging variables in very diverse contexts, rooted in historical andsociopolitical developments. As Baker (2002) emphasises, any analysis of  bilingual education must take account of situational and context variables sothat developments are interpreted through a sociocultural lens, as for examplein Wales and Ireland to consider the effects of a rise of nationalism andlanguage rights movements over a period of time, in Japan to recognise therole of monolingual ideology and internationalisation and in Scotland topromote the need for revitalisation and maintenance of a severely decliningGaelic-speaking community (Johnstone, 2001).The European context is no exception. Variegated forms of bilingualeducation date back over several millennia (Glyn Lewis, 1976). Luxembourghas had bilingual education since 1843 (Davis, 1994) and trilingual educationsince 1913 (Berg, 1993). According to the Eurydice Report (2006), Malta
1367-0050/07/05 543-20 $20.00/0
2007 D. CoyleThe International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism Vol. 10, No. 5, 2007
introduced bilingual education in the 19th century, Bulgaria in the 1950s,Estonia in the 1960s as well as the first French
German bilingual schools inGermany in 1969 and so on. Moreover, a multilingual European Schoolnetwork was started in 1953 (Swan, 1996) to take account of linguisticdiversity for children of mobile European civil servants. Until recently, thesedevelopments were perceived asspecial, marginal, remedial, compensatory, peripheral, experimental orexotic. As such, alternative bilingual forms of education have simply goton with their business outside the mainstream of consciousness,accumulating experience and expertise which have failed to reachout to the relevant research public or academic spheres. (BaetensBeardsmore, 1993: 1)What is clear, however, is that European diversity in terms of sociopoliticalagendas, languages and cultures is highly complex and dynamic. In the 1990s,the European Commission and the Council of Europe were instrumental inraising awareness of the potential of different forms of bilingual education.European Language Policy had to address language issues through promotingthe learning of foreign languages, especially in the compulsory educationsector. In 1993, the Council of Europe within the Language Learning forEuropean Citizenship programme organised pan-European Workshop 12A
Bilingual Education in Secondary Schools: learning and teaching non-languagesubjects through a foreign language
. This brought together key players in the bilingual field ranging from policy makers and theoreticians to teachers andlearners to ‘provide a survey of current models, materials and practices’ and‘initiate a multi-faceted programme of international co-operation in the field of  bilingual learning’ (Report on Workshop 12A: 5). Workshop 12B (1996) maderecommendations for the coordination of developments in bilingual educationacross Europe so that more teachers, learners and curricular programmesmight benefit from offering learning opportunities, other than formal languagelessons, in a foreign language.Defining bilingual education remained a major issue for debate: theplethora of models with differing priorities, needs, aims and outcomes wereunited in the 1995 Commission of the European Communities White Paper
Teaching and Learning: Towards the Learning Society
, which argued strongly thatall European citizens should be able to communicate in three languages
thelocal and/or national language and two other European languages.In the 1990s there was a growing need to create a channel for sharedunderstandings and an acknowledgement of the diversity of European modelsrequired to respond to national and regional contexts. European approaches to bilingual education were described using terms ‘borrowedfrom othercontexts with over 30 descriptors to choose from, but especially drawing onimmersion and bilingual movements in the USA and Canada. Reasons forhesitancy around adopting an existing ‘label’ for European bilingual educationwere threefold. Certain terms had connotations which may be perceived asnegative by a range of European countries due to sociopolitical ideologies e.g.‘immersion’, though used in some European countries, was not widelyfavoured due to its close association with Canadian models where the goals
The International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 
and contexts differed from many bilingual programmes across Europe.Luxembourg, for example, has no special designation for its trilingualeducation system as in the home context it is embedded in the regularcurriculum (Baetens Beardsmore, 2007). A second reason was to do with thediverse origins and varied purposes of different bilingual programmesthroughout Europe
some seeped in tradition and heritage, others focussingon responses to complex problems, or to promote future thinking in terms of curriculum design and globalisation. One size does not fit all. A third reasonwas that as newer initiatives became more widely disseminated in the 1990s, agroup of pioneers began to advocate alternative terminology to account foremerging models and pedagogies.
Content and Language Integrated Learning: EuropeanModels
CLIL is an umbrella term adopted by the European Network of Adminis-trators, Researchers and Practitioners (EUROCLIC) in the mid 1990s. Itencompasses any activity in which ‘a foreign language is used as a tool inthe learning of a non-language subject in which both language and the subjecthave a joint role’ (Marsh, 2002: 58).The adoption of a ‘label’ was indeed an essential step not only to encouragefurther thinking and development, but also to position CLIL alongside bilingual education, content-based instruction, immersion and so on. WhilstCLIL shares some elements with many of these approaches, in essence itsdistinctiveness lies in an integrated approach, where both language andcontent are conceptualised on a continuum without an implied preference foreither. CLIL has its roots in European contexts where sociolinguistic andpolitical settings are rich and diverse. CLIL relates to any language, age andstage
not only in the compulsory education sector but inclusive of kindergarten, vocational and professional learning. It encapsulates lifelonglearning. In this sense, contextual and situational variables determine theposition of CLIL models along the continuum.Usage of this term allows us to consider the myriad variations
. . .
without imposing restrictions which might fail to take account of schoolor region-specific implementation characteristics
. . .
It does not giveemphasis to either language teaching or learning, or to content teachingand learning, but sees both as integral parts of the whole. (Marsh, 2002:59)The 2006 Eurydice Survey,
Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) atSchool in Europe
, provides data on CLIL provision in 30 European countries,and concludes that different terminology is used to describe models indifferent contexts depending on the emphasis given to either the subject-basedcomponent or the language of CLIL. Grin (2005) suggests there are 216 types of CLIL programmes based on variables such as compulsory status, intensity,starting age, starting linguistic level and duration. Clegg (2003: 89) differ-entiates between language-led CLIL, which ‘imports parts of subjects [and]highlights language development’, and subject-led projects, which ‘may
Towards a Connected Research Agenda for CLIL Pedagogies 

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