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Evaluating Bilingual Education in Germany

CLIL Students’ General English Proficiency, EFL Self-Concept and Interest


Dominik Rumlich

The author uses a theoretical account rooted in TEFL, language acquisition and educational psychology to provide the basis for the development of a comprehensive model of language learning in CLIL. It incorporates prior knowledge, EFL self-concept, interest in EFL classes, verbal cognitive abilities and contact to English. This model is used to estimate the effects of CLIL in the context of high-intensity programmes at German Gymnasien. The statistical evaluation of the quasi-experimental data from 1,000 learners proves the existence of large initial differences due to selection, preparation and class composition effects. After two years, one finds no significant effects of CLIL apart from a minor increase in self-concept, suggesting that the actual effects of CLIL have often been overestimated.

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3. Learning in EFL CLIL classes/strands: Theoretical background


3.   Learning in EFL CLIL classes/strands: Theoretical background

“Inhalte werden primär über Sprache vermittelt und mittels Sprache gelernt. Ohne Sprache ist Wissenserwerb im Fachunterricht nicht möglich – Sprache ist ein zentrales Medium des Lernens in jedem Fach.”

(Content is primarily mediated/transported by language and learnt through language. Without language, the acquisition of knowledge in any subject is not possible – Language is a central medium of learning in every subject.)

(Schmölzer-Eibinger, 2012, p. 25)

If all (content) learning is language-dependent, it is imperative that language as the mediator of content be considered in every learning process (Baetens Beardsmore, 2008, p. 8; Wolff, 2013a). Combined with the corresponding insight from language learning theories that a focus on meaning in teaching is of paramount importance for language learning processes (e.g., Bleyhl, 2005, pp. 60 f.; Richards, 2006, pp. e.g., 26), this is the backbone of content and language integrated learning. It represents a dual-focused, holistic approach that is meant to facilitate the development of both content and language-related competences in conjunction with learning strategies and social and self-related competences:

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