Content and Language Integrated Learning: Lithuanian teachers’ viewpoints
Keywords:CLIL, language teaching, subject teaching, teachers.
CLIL is an internationally-recognised approach to teaching a language and a subject simultaneously or in other words, teaching a non-language subject through the medium of a second or foreign language (L2). Having emerged from the evidenced-based, well-documented success of the Canadian immersion model for language teaching, in which mainstream curriculum content (e.g. Science) is delivered through the students’ non-native language (e.g. French) (Cross, Gearon, 2013), CLIL has been widely used in Europe for over twenty years now and it has been considered to be an innovative and a successful approach in the promotion of multilingualism in Europe (Ioannou-Georgiou and Pavlos Pavlou, 2011). CLIL has been lately acknowledged in Lithuania as well. The Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania issued the Guidelines project which aim at encouraging a wider implementation of CLIL in the system of general education.
In spite of great potential and benefits that CLL offers (i.e. improvement of learners’ language skills and subject knowledge alongside the development of their communicative skills and intercultural competence as well as promotion of diverse learning strategies, etc.), it raises some important issues for teachers implementing CLIL too. The essential questions about CLIL, as being pointed out by Ľudmila Hurajová and Jana Luprichová (2015), are who should be responsible for teaching content through the second language and how this should be done. Evidently to become a good content or language teacher one has to be an expert not only in the content area but also have a dee understanding of the cognitive, sociocultural and psychological elements of foreign language teaching and learning. In order to find out the Lithuanian teachers’ readiness and willingness to apply CLIL approach in their teaching process, the research was carried out with the aim focusing on Lithuanian teachers’ viewpoints of CLIL. The research sought to address the following four key questions: what CLIL is, why it is important to learn the subject and a foreign language together, what difficulties could a learner encounter while learning a subject and a foreign language together and finally, what difficulties could a teacher encounter while teaching a subject and a foreign language together. There were 36 different subject teachers from various schools of general education of Lithuania who participated in the research. The article provides the results of the qualitative research data analysis and the insights revealing the Lithuanian teachers’ viewpoints of CLIL in the Lithuanian educational context.
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