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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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Introducing content and language-integrated learning at a Saudi Arabian university


Abstract King Abdulaziz University (KAU) has found that the current English programme in the foundation year (FY) has not achieved the desired outcomes in terms of student learning. The FY is not adequately preparing students to be successful learners in content areas in which learning materials are in English. This qualitative study explored the feasibility and practicality of introducing a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) programme as a new approach to the FY at KAU. English teachers, content subject teachers and students were interviewed. Recommendations made at a FY evaluation workshop were also highlighted. CLIL would allow both content classes and language objectives to be included in the FY programme thereby enhancing the students’ cognitive abilities. Findings indicate that content teachers and English teachers felt that this would be a good approach to instruction. However, students were concerned about having to learn English as well as the content class material. The results indicated the importance of having clear FY aims and of training teachers in how to adopt the new teaching approach, and the need to facilitate communications.

Keywords: Higher Education; CLIL; Saudi Arabia; Foundation programme; Policy

1.  Introduction

The use of English to deliver instruction in higher education has expanded internationally in recent years for economic, political and educational reasons. Higher education institutions worldwide use English as the language of instruction across a variety of educational programmes (Wilkinson, 2013). It is imperative that European universities as well as universities in...

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