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Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education

Perspectives on Professional Practice

Edited By Jennifer Valcke and Robert Wilkinson

This book offers a collection of original papers showing how Higher education institutions have coped with changing the language of instruction. It points out that Higher education institutions have undergone radical change in the past decades; of which the shift to English-medium instruction, as well as bi- or plurilingual programmes, is one notable example. The papers comprise new research on teaching and learning through an additional language, and its impact on professional development for university teachers, programme and course development, as well as quality assurance. The articles span different international contexts, and provide education developers, university teachers, educational administrators, language experts, and others, with global perspectives on the professional practices of university teachers.

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Preface (Roy Lyster)


Roy Lyster McGill University, Canada


There is increasing concern that ICL does not systematically address the kind of academic discourse required to become pluriliterate users of academic disciplines. It is not simply a question of teaching in English.

Thus were aptly expressed the challenges of Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education (ICLHE) in the advertisement for the 2015 ICLHE Conference held at the Université libre de Bruxelles. Framing the issues as “not simply a question of teaching in English” helped to build a stimulating conference and was a strong incentive for me personally to participate.

When I was invited to be a plenary speaker at the conference, I was initially hesitant, because most of my research had focused on content and language integration at the school level. I wondered how my work with young learners in schools could possibly contribute to ICLHE. I was enticed, though, by some of the core themes that drove the conference, also highlighted in the promotional brochure:

• fostering collaboration between language and content specialists

• supporting student language acquisition

• fostering cognitive engagement and active learning

• incorporating language acquisition in teacher training

These themes have come to be constants in the field of content and language integrated learning, crossing all levels and different instructional settings. This preface thus draws on a range of contexts and is structured to foster reflections on the characteristics and effectiveness of content-based...

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