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Empirical Perspectives on CLIL Classroom Discourse


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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Claudia Mewald - A comparison of oral foreign language performance of learners in CLIL and in mainstream classes at lower secondary level in Lower Austria 139


A comparison of oral foreign language performance of learners in CLIL and in mainstream classes at lower secondary level in Lower Austria Claudia Mewald If language were totally predictable, communication would be unnec- essary (i.e. if I know in advance what you are going to say, then there is no point in my listening to you). If language were totally unpredict- able, communication could probably not occur. (Nunan 1995:42) 1. Introduction Looking at classroom communication we find that quite frequently it seems to reflect the described predictable scenario although Nunan sug- gests that "most interactions can be placed on a continuum from relatively predictable to relatively unpredictable." However, while real life seems to encourage the continuum, educational settings often seem to tend towards predictability. Asked for their reasons why they favour predictable situa- tions, teachers often justifY their cautiousness with the aim to avoid mis- takes through restricting themselves to the structures or phrases already practised. Not only do teachers stick to language already used, they also seem to keep the learners away from situations which would require them to understand and/or use new language. As a consequence, the questions asked and the answers as well as the language to be used are of a kind that does not offer surprises. This holds particularly true for foreign language (FL) lessons, where learners often find themselves put into artificial situa- tions which require them to speak about the most obvious things such as asking for each other's names even if...

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