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Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education

From Theory to Practice- Selected papers from the 2013 ICLHE Conference

Edited By Robert Wilkinson and Mary Louise Walsh

Higher education has seen dramatic changes in the past quarter of a century, notably in the language used for instruction. Universities worldwide are increasingly switching to English enabling them to attract a wide student population. This book presents a new collection of original papers showing how universities apply content and language integrated learning to their instructional contexts. The papers highlight the challenges of theory, policy, programme and course design, integration, and teacher and student competences. The diverse international contexts addressing not just English will be of particular interest to university teachers, educational administrators, linguists and others wishing to understand the instructional landscape of higher education today.
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ICL in UK tertiary education: The case of German


Abstract In many European universities, the second language (L2) English is used to teach non-linguistic disciplines such as business or engineering. In anglophone UK, integration of content and language (ICL) generally features in Modern Languages undergraduate programmes where content is taught through the L2 to maximise exposure. However, few programmes employ a structured approach, and there is currently little research on ICL in UK universities.

This paper reports on the extent to which German is used as the medium of instruction in UK undergraduate German programmes and discusses the institutional parameters which influence the integration of content and language. It appears that the practice of teaching subject-specific content in the target language is more wide-spread than previously thought. Content provision in the L2 is in fact quite common, but the extent, timing, and purpose of ICL depend on the type of university.

Key words: ICL; tertiary education; U.K.; Germany; modern languages.

1.  Introduction

The past decades have seen a remarkable proliferation of research in educational settings where a second language is used as medium of instruction in higher education. Some countries – the Netherlands, Finland, Spain, to name but a few – have clearly led the way in this endeavour to investigate the integration of content and language in higher education (HE), mainly featuring English as the language of instruction. Anglophone UK is – perhaps understandably – characterised by a dearth in ICL research which may indicate that CLIL1 is far less common in...

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