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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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6. A priori differences between CLIL, non-CLIL and regular students due to selection, preparation, and class composition (RQ I; year 6)


6.   A priori differences between CLIL, non-CLIL and regular students due to selection, preparation, and class composition (RQ I; year 6)

“While Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) has received a considerable amount of research interest lately, its increasing popularity as an approach to teaching content subjects in a foreign language requires concerted investigation that reflects and recognises its fundamentally contextualised nature.”

(Dalton-Puffer & Smit, 2013, p. 545)

On the basis of the Gymnasium data from year 6 gathered in the context of DENOCS in 2011, the subsequent analyses aim at uncovering the magnitude of CLIL-related selection, preparation and composition effects as a particularity of the way CLIL is implemented in the German and NRW school system. RQ I addresses these effects with reference to all of the constructs that have hitherto been identified as potentially important determinants of language proficiency: To what extent do future CLIL, non-CLIL and regular students differ a priori, i.e., before CLIL starts in year 7, with respect to their general English language proficiency, affective-motivational dispositions (EFL SC and interest in EFL classes) and further potentially influential variables (verbal cognitive abilities, spare-time English, L1, sex)? A priori differences among CLIL, non-CLIL and regular student groups are a major indication of CLIL-related selection, preparation and class composition since they represent the predominant source of differences among the three groups of students. As artefacts of the organisational context in which CLIL teaching takes place they distort direct, cross-sectional comparisons between students...

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