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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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4. Learning in EFL CLIL classes/strands: Empirical findings from Germany


4.   Learning in EFL CLIL classes/strands: Empirical findings from Germany

“’Nichts ist praktischer als eine gute Theorie [...] vor allem dann, wenn sie kontinuierlich auf den Prüfstand der Realität gestellt wird!’”

(Nothing is more practical than a good theory, especially when it continually finds itself on the test bed of reality)

(Rost, 2013, p. 15)

The present chapter marks the transition between the theoretical and the empirical part of this thesis. It begins with a critical general appraisal of research on EFL CLIL streams in Germany and a depiction of the most prevalent issues that have led to a broad continuum of partly conflicting views on the evidence for the benefits of CLIL – which seems odd in light of the fact that these positions have been largely informed by the same (dearth of) research. The insights that can be derived from the issues depicted provide a sound foundation for the subsequent illustration of research findings (for explanations of statistical concepts and common interpretations of numerical results, e.g., values of effect sizes, see pp. 27-40). This commences with a preliminary overview of the nine largest studies in the German context that will frequently be referred to in the course of the current chapter. Against this background, its main purpose is to give a critical overview of empirical research results on English CLIL streams at Gymnasien in Germany in connection to the constructs outlined in Chapter 3: (general) language proficiency, EFL SC,...

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