Teacher Education for CLIL

Organiser: Josephine Moate (University of Jyväskylä, Finland)

Invited Speakers: Kim Bower (Sheffield Hallam University, UK), Russell Cross (University of Melbourne, Australia), Enlli Tomas (Bangor University, UK)


This symposium brings together international perspectives on CLIL with contributions from Australia, England, Finland and Wales. The aim of this symposium is to explore how CLIL teacher education is shaped by different educational contexts and to address the questions:

  1. How have teacher educators responded to challenges that have come from the field as CLIL has been introduced more widely?
  2. How has CLIL teacher education been developed as the theorisation of CLIL as an educational approach has expanded?

CLIL has long been defined as a dual-focused approach with ‘non’-language subjects being taught and learnt through a foreign language and an ‘umbrella’ able to ambitiously incorporate all existing approaches (e.g. Marsh & Langé, 2002). The flexibility written into this definition enabled CLIL to expand in a wide range of educational environments, however, incorporating different approaches in different settings under the same umbrella arguably hides subtle and significant considerations. This situation highlights the need to understand CLIL as the integration of subject and language learning (e.g. Nikula, et al. 2016) and the need to be more sensitive to situated-knowledge that informs CLIL practices and theorisations in different environments.

As illustrated by the examples in this symposium, it is this sensitive, situated knowledge which CLIL educators need to be able to invest in student development as they combine practical know-how with theoretical understanding in a particular policy context. Moreover, it is the responsibility of CLIL teacher education to make this understanding available to pre- and in-service teachers.The four international cases included in this symposium illustrate the importance of situational knowledge when working in different CLIL environments and the potential of contextual sensitivity to draw attention to key considerations that can contribute to further theorisations of CLIL.

The four cases include: 1) engaging Welsh-English bilingual pupils in STEM subjects as a way to promote minority language education and language revitalisation, 2) recognising the impact current teacher education policies for languages and CLIL have on pre- and in-service teachers, 3) the challenges busy, experienced teachers face when engaging with and investing time in developing CLIL skills, knowledge and expertise, and 4) tensions between grassroots initiatives and policy development. These cases highlight the need for CLIL teacher education to validate models, frameworks and tools that are useful to teachers and can be sequenced in ways that are developmentally meaningful and available to teachers. Moreover, these cases highlight the need to better understand how the integration of language and subject learning in CLIL is enabled and shaped by bilingual policies, multilingual communities and deep learning that contributes to educational communities and societal development.

This 90 minute symposium will begin with an overview of the four cases which will provide the basis for dialogue between the different presenters. This dialogue will then be opened up for members of the audience to also ask questions and to share their reflections.

Marsh, D. & Langé, G. (2000). Using Languages to Learn and Learning to Use Languages. In Marsh, D. & Langé G. (Eds.) Using Languages to Learn and Learning to Use Languages. Jyväskylá: UniCOM, University of Jyväskylä on Behalf of TIECLIL

Nikula, T., Dafouz, E., Moore, P., & Smit, U. (Eds.). (2016). Conceptualising integration in CLIL and multilingual education. Multilingual Matters.