Content and Language Integrated Learning in Higher Education: A Technology-Enhanced Model

Content and Language Integrated Learning in Higher Education: A Technology-Enhanced Model

Giovanna Carloni (University of Urbino, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5472-1.ch026
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This chapter describes the online learning component of a blended model designed to promote Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) at the University of Urbino, Italy. A technology-enhanced learning environment is presented along with an analysis of how CLIL was implemented across multiple university departments.
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Setting The Stage

In Content and Language Integrated Learning, subject-specific content is taught through a foreign language. CLIL aims to enhance both content and foreign language acquisition: “Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) is a dual-focused educational approach in which an additional language is used for the learning and teaching of both content and language” (Coyle, Hood, & Marsh, 2010, p.1). The integration of content and language is pivotal: “Integration is a powerful pedagogic tool which aims to “safeguard” the subject being taught whilst promoting language as a medium for learning as well as an objective of the learning process itself” (Coyle in Marsh, 2002, p. 27).

The Content and Language Integrated Learning approach is characterized by the 4Cs Framework (e.g., content, communication, cognition, culture) that integrates four components:

Content (subject matter), communication (language learning and using), cognition (learning and thinking processes) and culture (developing intercultural understanding and global citizenship). In so doing, it takes account of integrating content learning and language learning within specific contexts and acknowledges the symbiotic relationship that exists between these elements (Coyle, Hood, & Marsh, 2010, p. 41).

In addition to content acquisition and foreign language development, Content and Language Integrated Learning also promotes cognitive flexibility:

Different thinking horizons and pathways which result from CLIL, and the effective constructivist educational practice it promotes, can also have impact on conceptualization (literally, how we think), enriching the understanding of concepts, and broadening conceptual mapping resources. This enables better association of different concepts and helps the learner advance towards a more sophisticated level of learning in general. (Coyle, Hood, & Marsh, 2010, pp. 10-11)

In a Content and Language Integrated Learning context, activities are created using the Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) construct:

BICS defines basic interpersonal communication skills (survival skills). It refers to a minimum level of competence to handle non-complex interpersonal situations. CALP defines cognitive academic proficiency as a level of linguistic competence needed to operate in more formal academic settings which demand more abstract use of language. (Cummins, 1979)

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