The acronym CLIL has got many different definitions. In his “What is CLIL?” article, Phil Ball analyzes some approved definitions so as to establish the basic characteristics of CLIL. From the 5th definitions exposed on this reading, we can conclude the following:
- As the European Commission mentions, “with CLIL pupils learn a subject through the medium of a foreign language”
- Marsh, D. (2002) suggests that CLIL “kills two birds with one stone” as subjects, or parts of subjects, are taught through a foreign language with dual focused aims, content and learning of a foreign language at the same time.
- The European Commission says that CLIL has also an administrative objective, which is to increase the contact time with foreign language without having to add extra time in the curriculum.
- David Graddol states that the strong element of CLIL is that students are not required to have an English proficiency level to acquire the subject content, as CLIL classes are more focused on skill-based learning and adopt appropriate methodologies to teach the subject content through more contextualized, clear and useful language.
- Marsh, Marsland and Stenberg (2001) conclude that through CLIL we can install a “hunger to learn” in the student. David Graddol also concurs that CLIL is viewed as a vehicle, as a core skill, that provides reasons for learning and improving the foreign language level due to real motivations, as content is important in itself, therefore students will learn and use new language to apply the learned content and express their opinion about it.
I hope these definitions help you understand what CLIL is. See my PowToon vídeo too!