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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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Tarja Nikula - The IRF pattern and space for interaction: comparing CLIL and EFL classrooms 179

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The IRF pattern and space for interaction: com- paring CLIL and EFL classrooms1 Tarja Nikula 1. Introduction This paper deals with CLIL instruction in the Finnish context. More spe- cifically, it presents a discourse-pragmatic analysis of classroom interac- tion in CLIL settings, relating it to that in English-as-a-foreign-language (henceforth EFL) classrooms. The focus of this paper is thus on language use rather than on language learning. However, matters of language learn- ing come into play inasmuch as the findings succeed in revealing some- thing about the nature of CLIL and EFL classrooms as language learning environments. The reasons why CLIL settings will be compared with EFL settings stem from two different sources. Firstly, the overall object of both class- rooms, as often stated by both official documents such as national curric- ula and by EFL and CLIL teachers, is to provide learners with opportunities to develop their communicative and pragmatic competence in English. Much less is known about how exactly this object is realized at the concrete level of language use in the two contexts. Therefore, more research is needed to understand how these two settings compare with each other in terms of local practices of language use. Secondly, at a more general level, comparing two contexts is worthwhile because it is often the case that characteristics of a situation become clearer once they are looked at in relation to what happens in other similar situations. To specify the scope of this paper further, it focuses on the so-called IRF...

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