The effectiveness of CLIL for English language learning in Swedish primary schools
Sammanfattning: We live in an increasingly interconnected world where being bilingual or multilingual is the norm. Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) is an effective way to practice important skills for global citizens. The importance of the ability to communicate across cultures in other languages is increasing globally in schools through the expanding use of languages and the inclusion of bilingual education opportunities. It is in school that students can become proficient language users while they learn the content of other language areas. This study presents an overview of four teachers' perceptions of implementing CLIL at the primary school level in Sweden. Hence, the aim is to highlight the effectiveness of CLIL and determine what underlying factors seem to be beneficial and/or challenging when using the method. Four qualitative interviews complemented with four lesson observations were conducted in three international primary schools. The results revealed several success factors, such as heightened skills in oral communication and cognition, increased intercultural awareness and language development. Although the findings showed several beneficial factors, some challenges emerged. For example, the teachers mentioned difficulties in convincing colleagues to participate and in addressing students’ different academic levels in English, as well as the potential loss of vocabulary in their first language when using English exclusively. In sum, perceptions about language and language learning have been shown to highlight both benefits and challenges in using methods such as CLIL. However, CLIL does appear on balance to be effective in that it promotes content learning as well as enhances students’ multilingual development.
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