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Literature Focus

CLIL - Bilingual Education


2009 saw a number of books and articles appear on the subject of teaching through the medium of a foreign language, as well as the appearance of several CLIL works. I thought it was time we start a section which lists articles and books. I'll add literature I read as and when I am able, but you are all more than welcome to submit comments and links on articles and books you find yourselves.


28 -  The effects of content and language integrated learning in European education: Key findings from the Andalusian bilingual sections evaluation project.

Lorenzo, F., Casal, S., & Moore, P. (2010)

Applied Linguistics, 31, 391 — 417

Eric Link

Very positive results presented on Andalusian CLIL in the research in this paper. French, German and English CLIL, 3 teacher collaboration, language-embedded methodology.

Comments and summary here

27 - An Examination of the Rhetorical Structures of Authentic Chemistry Texts

A. S. Wood (1982)
Applied Linguistics (1982) III (2): 121-143.

Oxford Journals link
Am not sure this is a good idea, but it caught my eye... interesting to see another perspective on examining the language of Chemistry... notes and summary to come


26 - Speaking English in Finnish content-based classrooms




World Englishes, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 206–223



Wiley link

More good news from the vanguard Finnish, natural language use, code-switching which doesn't opt out of English, emergent bilingualism through CLIL...

Comments and summary are offered here

25 - Thinking and Content Learning of Mathematics and Science as Cognitional Development in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL): Teaching Through a Foreign Language in Finland.

Jaeppinen A K (2005)

Language and Education

ERIC link
I"ve been looking for the articles listed in the previous one in number 24 which refer to contexts of success in CLIL in a number of dimensions. This is one of them which according to the abstract  presents research which shows that studying through L2 does not affect cognitive development of learners.

Comments and summary are offered here.

24 - Collaborative interaction in turn-taking: a comparative study of European bilingual (CLIL) and mainstream (MS) foreign language learners in early secondary education

Moore, Pat (2011)

International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism

First published on: 06 January 2011 (iFirst)


Paid access via



The blurb offers this 'CLIL learners are participating both more frequently and more effectively in collaborative turns than their MS counterparts'

I enjoyed reading this very much. It's a very simple study. Get two groups of students, one studying CLIL, the other a Mainstream group. Get them talking in pairs, and record and analyze their interaction for effective communication.

I've written up a page with quotes, comments, conclusions, and follow up here.

23 - TIMELINES AND LIFELINES: Rethinking Literacy Instruction in Multilingual Classrooms

Jim Cummins | Vicki Bismilla | Sarah Cohen | Frances Giampapa | Lisa Leoni

o r b i t , V o l 3 6 , N o 1 , 2 0 0 5 (pp 22-26)


Note - Translation plays a central role for story writing drafted in any language of choice and rewritten in a second language with support. In my experience visiting bilingual lessons in many contexts, I occasionally see content teachers use two languages in this way. They may not have students writing stories, but they incorporate translation skills into their science writing, for example.

22 - Immersion and CLIL in English: more differences than similarities

David Lasagabaster and Juan Manuel Sierra

ELT Journal Volume 64/4 October 2010;

Oxford University Press



Note – CLIL is not the same as immersion, the authors suggest that to group immersion and CLIL under the same banner confuses the issues and the teachers.

21 - Teaching for Cross-Language Transfer in Dual Language Education: Possibilities and Pitfalls

Jim Cummins

TESOL Symposium on Dual Language Education: Teaching and Learning Two Languages in the EFL Setting (Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, September 23, 2005)

Note – dismisses the ‘two solitudes assumption’ This is the suggestion that languages, can be taught, and are learned in isolation, as if the brain has two separate compartments, one for each language.

20 - Learning English and Other Languages in Multilingual Settings: Myths and Principles


Oct 2009

Hong Kong Institute of Education


Note – It’s a myth that ‘the best way to learn a second language is to use it as a medium of instruction’

19 - Translanguaging in the Bilingual Classroom: A Pedagogy for Learning and Teaching?


The Modern Language Journal 94 (2010) (pp 113-115)


Note – knowledge and skills are interdependent across languages

18 - Minumum Competence in Scientific English


Sue Blattes, Veronique Jans, Jonathan Upjohn


EDP Sciences, Grenoble, 2003



There is a link in Amazon, but also to a number of sample pages at this link to the University of Grenoble.

It’s a gem. Why? Because this is essentially a grammar practice for Science and Technology through English based on a detailed analysis of these subjects. If you're a CLIL Science or Technology teacher - Buy it!

More on this book here...

17 - Developing Material for Physical Education Lessons in CLIL

Meike Machunsky 2007


A seminar paper from the University of Kassel, Germany, bought as an ebook through:
GRIN Verlag fuer akademische texte.

The paper offers: a definition of CLIL; a description of PE methodology and possibilities for CLIL; an outline of general CLIL materials development; and a description of materials development for PE in CLIL.

I have to agree with the author of this paper, PE is ‘more than suitable for CLIL’. The paper has a number of strengths and weaknesses. It’s a great piece for a clear and readable presentation of a technique for getting students reading about specific aspects of sport with a view to incorporating content knowledge into their sports performance, which I think is very innovative.

Disagree that CLIL is about culture, would like to have seen more suggestions for activities which represent the specific CLIL PE methodology the author cries out for.

More CLIL PE here...

16 -  The Language of Chemistry: A New Challenge for Chemistry Education

This article can be accessed via the website of the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry in their journal Chemistry International.

(Feature article)

I'm not going to review this or give opinion on it, as I wrote it, but would invite any colleague interested in doing so, to write in with responses to me ( and I'll publish them here.
Suffice to say, it's a great result to get a piece on language in the Chemistry International journal, and I tip my hat to them for putting language on the chemistry agenda with this article.

15 Evaluation Report of the Bilingual Education Programme, Spain


Spanish Ministry of Education website

I first came into contact with this amazing project in October 2004 when I was asked to provide training input to secondary teachers, content and English. At that stage the secondary teachers were being prepped to receive the cohort of primary graduates who had been receiving their education through the medium of English. This is report from Richard Johnstone and colleagues comes after that group of children graduated compulsory education and after a control group of students gained a 90% plus pass rate in their (English-medium) GCSEs. Read on...

14 Multilingualism in Mathematics Classrooms: Global Perspectives


Richard Barwell (2009) Multilingual Matters



This is a buy from Amazon which is worth it. It came recommended from a colleague, and now having read it I can see why.

It's a very important book in many ways. Not least because of the rich collection of stories about language and maths from a variety of classroom contexts, so real stories about real practice in dealing with the language of maths. It also places language support at centre stage in teaching maths to learners of additional languages in the maths class.

Highly recommended read!

More Maths here

13 Content and language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Teaching Mathematics in English

Nadja Wilhelmer (2008) VDM, Austria



I'm a bit disappointed. It cost a small fortune to get and there is little talk about CLIL Maths until page 68. All that comes up to that point is a foundation into what CLIL is and generally what learning involves.. There are plenty of books now that you can read for a more in depth introduction to CLIL. What information there is about Maths CLIL is in the form of quotes and statistics related to interviews with teachers. This is interesting in itself, but it doesn't live up to the claim on the cover to providing 'assistance and support' for others who want to introduce Maths CLIL. I found it very difficult to find evidence of 'insight into ... practices'. There aren't any suggestions about actual pedagogy and activity in the Maths classroom in English which I think is what the 'realisation' of Maths CLIL is all about.
12 Speaking up - announcing a multilingual revolution
Matthias Krug article for Abode Magazine

This article talks about Multilingual / Bilingual Education / CLIL in Spain and Qatar
Posted June 5th, 2010
I really enjoyed reading this article. It's says what's what, deals with the main issues and questions concerning bilingual and multilingual education, is positive about the future and celebrates the success stories it reports. Bravo!



Educational Studies in Mathematics (2005) 64: 121–144
DOI: 10.1007/s10649-005-9005-1 C Springer 2005



There is a link to this article via the University of Arizona

There is a link between choice of language and response time in solving Maths problems.

The author does point out another important message from this study. It’s potentially a point which in my view would make a major focus given the numbers of children round the world now receiving their education (maths or other) through the medium of another language. That is to what extent may teachers be ascribing low achievement to lack of maths knowledge, when in actual fact it is down to language, or working through the ‘non-preferred’ language?

More Maths here

10 Assessing Effects of Directive Complexity on Accuracy of Task Completion in English Language Learners


School Psychology Review,
2006, Volume 35, No. 4, pp. 552-567

Chisato Komatsu and Joseph C. Witt
Louisiana State University


ERIC link

This study takes a group of 24 students, 5 to 11 years old, and 10 English-speaking Americans as a control group who were each given 5 tasks and instructions with increasing levels of complexity in both Spanish and English. In addition standard vocabulary tests were used to attempt to confirm L1 expectations and identify anomalies (e.g., students who are presented as L1 Spanish, but actually aren't). When I saw the title of this piece I admit I was expecting something which would tell me explicitly that there is a connection between more complex task instructions and success, or rather failure, in L2 content learners. It turns out the conclusion is 'insufficient evidence', which was a little disappointing to say the least.

page 564 ''the results may be insufficient in determining whether it is the complexity of the directive or the language in which the directive is issued that result in the appropriate response'.

9 Learning Geography Bilingually



Journal of Geography in Higher Education, Vol. 28, No. 3, 411-424,

November 2004




Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, UK


No free version found, but link to ERIC (02.04.2010)

Interesting piece about the issues around teaching university students Geography in Welsh bilingual context. The author describes many of the social and political aspects of this issue and in conclusion refers to the need for an approach which makes the language of the curriculum accessible to all students using the term 'citizens' to describe students in their relationship to their learning, asking:


page 422 'What linguistic provision and practices might have to be adopted to enable full citizenship for such students learning geography through their second language?'


Not very relevant for classroom practice, but puts the question of 'other' languages and cultures firmly on the table for debate and this is very relevant to CLIL as much as for bilingual contexts.

8 Mathematical Communication in the Classroom: A Teacher Makes a Difference



Bessie Davis Cooke and Dilek Buchholz (2005)

Early Childhood Education Journal, Vol. 32, No. 6, June 2005

Couldn't find a free version of this, but there is a link in ERIC. (31.03.2010)

On with my hunt for ideas on language and Maths...

Very readable article directly related to classroom practice. It's a description of a teacher working with pre-school learners in Maths and techniques she uses to engage learners in expressing themselves in Maths lessons on Maths topics.

Represents a six step guide to supporting oral production in early years Maths.


More Maths here

7 The complementary contributions of Halliday and Vygotsky to a 'Language-based Theory of Learning'.


Wells, G (1994)


Linguistics and Education, 6(1), 41-90


There is a link to this via the

Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition (31.03.2010)

I really am interested in Halliday's functional grammar and the language-based theory of learning, and use Vygotsky a lot when I refer to the Zone of Proximal Development which I believe Vygotsky was writing about CLIL before its time as CLIL language support instruments are structures to help learners move from their ZPD to beyond. I am interested in all of that, but it was only really the last section of this paper which brings together ideas from Halliday and Vygotsky to suggest an approach to learning based on the combined ideas of the two great minds, which are complementary ideas according to the Wells. The last section is about school learning contexts.

This combined approach is about the language of learning, and the design of the learning which embeds this language within it (my words).


More on Literature on Literacy, Language and Learning here

6 Developing critical understanding of the specialised language of school science and history texts: A functional grammatical perspective.


Len Unsworth (1999)


Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 42: 7 April, pp 508-521

I couldn't find a free version of this, but there is a link in ERIC. and there are two related articles which are freely available from Unsworth on similar topics.

Changing dimensions of school literacies

Teaching multiliteracies across the curriculum:  (31.03.2010)

Unsworth explains that the language of curriculum subjects is lexically dense and that most people speak in a longer drawn out way with more clauses, and less content carrying words. He writes about moving from the 'grammar of talk' to the 'grammar of writing'.

His argument is clear and that is that students who have control over the formal written language of the subject do well in the subject. The inverse is equally true, those students who write as they talk will do less well.

Unsworth also describes how subject areas differ in their specific grammars and that Science and History each need their own specific approach based on these differences.

A further point Unsworth makes is that by having an understanding of how grammar is used in the subject, students develop a critical literacy which will serve them well as 'readers' of content texts.


More on Literature on Literacy, Language and Learning here

5 Using Halliday’s functional grammar to examine early years worded mathematics texts


Keiran Abel & Beryl Exley

Queensland University of Technology


Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, Vol. 31, No. 3, 2008. pp. 227–241


There is an 'author version' of this article available as of March 24th, 2010, from:


The Department of Pre-School Education, Faculty of Education, Florina, University of Western Macedonia, cultural studies, semiotic structures and practices.

I'm working on a lot of Maths through English as a foreign language recently and so am collecting papers which discuss language and Maths. Will organize this page into headed sections as soon as I can get the time.

This is a significant article since it is written about mother tongue speakers of English learning Maths and the literacy issues which arise because of the aspects of language which appear in the Maths which aren't taught in the English curriculum.

It's written in a very clear style and is straight to the point, which is 'Isn't it unfair to expect children to succeed in Maths if they haven't been taught the language they need to do the Maths?' This is my wording, not the authors'.


More Maths here

4 Bilingual Geography

What do German students think about geography lessons in English?

GEOGRAPHY, VOLUME 89 (3), 2004, PAGES 274-277

available from:

The Geographical Association
(March 23rd 2010)

It's always good to read positive feedback about this approach, though it is a selective piece of research. I wonder what the survey would show if it were carried out among all the kids in the Asturias CLIL network of regular comprehensive schools!!! I suspect it would still be positive. The conclusions give a very positive opinion from the students about their studying Geography through the medium of English. This is put down to a number of possible factors, difference in group size, the novelty of learning through another language, native speaker teacher, the extra challenge of learning bilingually.

I found this link to Dr Meyer at the University of Trier Department of Geography.

2 Bilingual Knowledge Maps (BiK-Maps) in Second-Language Vocabulary Learning.


Bahr, G. S. and D. F. Dansereau The Journal of Experimental Education, 2001, 70 (1), 5-24.

ERIC has an abstract for this article, but not a free download.


Available from the first international conference proceedings on concept mapping.

(March 22nd 2010)

Those who know me know that I'm a big fan of concept mapping for foreign language content learning. These two papers present strategies for learning bilingual vocabulary.

The first paper reports that in tests 'bilingual BiK map' learners of vocabulary outscore 'bilingual list' learners of vocabulary.

I'd go further to say that the maps present perfect structures for embedding the rest of the language of the content areas, verbs, prepositions, etc. This is hinted at with the coding system suggested, which is nice in itself, but the language outside the vocabulary is not explicitly expanded. link for next concept mapping conference, Oct 2010 in Chile

1 The Inclusive Classroom: Teaching Mathematics and Science to English-Language Learners. It's Just Good Teaching.


Jarret, D (1999).

Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 101 SW Main Street, Suite 500, Portland.


Available in ERIC as of March 21st, 2010

This is dated 1999, but is still a good read ten years later. The context is children in the US learning Science and Maths through English as a second language, but the messages about language in these subjects are applicable to CLIL and other FL-medium contexts.


More Maths here

March 2nd 2011