Integrating content and language (Content and Language Integrated Learning – CLIL) is in itself an innovative approach to educational practice and language acquisition. For a long time content and language have been regarded as distinct and essentially different subjects with contrary goals. Removing this artificial barrier will release forces of synergy which will benefit content lecturers, language teachers and students, among others. As an innovative approach, CLIL inherently seeks to develop novel ways of transmitting content and presenting language in new teaching environments.
Whereas CLIL has traditionally been regarded as catering to the needs of an elite or even creating those social elites, the focus of CLIL4ALL is to offer practical options for universities with a limited amount of resources to set up and implement foreign language (FL) degree programme using the CLIL approach. In so doing, studying in a foreign language will become an alternative that students with fewer opportunities from less privileged backgrounds will seriously consider as a practical option at third level education. This project aims to extend the target group of CLIL participants to those actors at higher education institutions (HEI) who have previously been excluded. The challenge lies in maintaining high linguistic and academic standards in this wider, more diverse group. If the starting point of such extended CLIL programmes is to be more inclusive, then the cooperation between language and content teachers, based on mutual respect and understanding, becomes all the more important in identifying and addressing whatever perceived deficits these new groups may possess.
CLIL4ALL develops inclusive and participatory working practices and pedagogical tools for educators to promote CLIL in higher education. CLIL4ALL operates mainly in the business and engineering fields but will lead to innovative ways of teaching which can be applied to many other disciplines. We will develop methodology and tools to foster linguistic and cultural awareness and promote transversal competences of HEI graduates. Thus, CLIL4ALL supports the HEI graduates’ entry into the labour market and promotes their integration into society as active European citizens. Our goal with CLIL4ALL is to give all those involved in the learning experience at the HEI level (instructors, students, programme directors) the opportunity to experience and benefit from CLIL.
As second-language (L2) degree programmes attract a range of students and teachers with a variety of native languages and cultural backgrounds, it is a logical and natural step to seek cooperation with European partners to attain a more diverse and robust set of recommendations for best practice. Moreover, the choice of partners provides the opportunity to learn from experiences of different universities at varying stages of CLIL implementation.
The key project objectives are:
- To obtain an overview of the recent developments in L2 degree programmes by conducting a systemic review of the literature relevant to L2 study programmes at HEIs. This review will be published in a top quality higher education journal in the course of the project. Additional research will be carried out based on the insights gained in the other two work packages.
- On the basis of this review from work package 1 and other forms of research, best practices will be identified to draft a best practice guide for implementing CLIL that is to be used by the partners within the project and, in turn, during and after the project by those third-level educational institutions interested in implementing CLIL under similar conditions. Stakeholders such as students and commercial companies will be included to maximise the practical value of this guide as it relates to classroom practice and the current demands of businesses.
- In concert with this work modules will be adjusted and developed by the partners to test and refine best practice, both within their own institutions and, more importantly, between the partners. This brings an added intercultural and digital aspect to the CLIL experience. These modules covering a range of subjects and disciplines will be made available in digital form so that the results are sustainable and reach a wider audience beyond the immediate participants.