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Empirical Perspectives on CLIL Classroom Discourse

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Edited By Christiane Dalton-Puffer and Ute Smit

Similar to immersion, Content and language Integrated Learning (CLIL) combines second language education with other content-subjects and has become an important educational approach in many parts of the world. Only recently research on CLIL classrooms has started to emerge on the international scene. This volume presents current work dealing with classrooms located in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany and the UK, focussing on various dimensions of classroom talk such as oral proficiency, repair, the structure of learning opportunities, cognitive effects, pragmatic differences from traditional EFL lessons as well as issues of research methodology. These are complemented by the discussion of educational policies and the perceptions and attitudes of CLIL teachers.

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Erwin M Gierlinger - Modular CLIL in lower secondary education: some insights from a research project in Austria 79

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Modular CLIL in lower secondary education: some insights from a research project in Austria Erwin M Gierlinger 1. Introduction This chapter looks at a research project investigating the situation of con- tent teaching through a foreign language in the federal state of Upper- Austria.1 The legislative background for this was provided by the so called 'push for foreign languages' ('Fremdsprachenoffensive') which was started in the early 1990s by the Ministry of Education. It was intended as an initiative to further the learning of foreign languages at Austrian schools. Among other measures to improve foreign language learning, it spelled out that a foreign language could be used as a linguistic vehicle for the teaching of subject specific content.2 As this new law did not include any further legal constraints or guidelines, it led to a high level of flexibil- ity allowing individual schools to set up locally appropriate and tailor- made programmes. Basically, these can range from short, project based modules to grander schemes in which English is used as a means of in- struction for one or more subjects throughout the whole school year. The modular aspect of this approach was regarded as a liberating way for- wards from the rather elitist straitjacket of traditional bilingual teaching.3 However, apart from the groundbreaking work of the Osterreichische 1 I would like to express my sincerest thanks to the other members of the project team, Christian Hametner and Harald Spann, who helped me gather and interpret the data. With- out their kind...

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