Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Day at Aston

Aston University is hosting a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Day on Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Aston University has long been at the forefront of using CLIL in higher education, and teaching in the target language represents one of its unique selling points. Student recruitment to modern languages is above the national average. Results in the National Student Survey show almost 100% student satisfaction across all languages, and students especially mention teaching in the target language as key to their success. Moreover, employability prospects for Aston language graduates are regularly amongst the top 5 nationally.

At Bordesley Green Girls School (BGGS), an inner city school in Birmingham, 89 percent of girls study languages at GCSE and 81% of these girls report that they enjoy learning a language. A sizeable group of 28 students also study languages at AS and A2. Value-added scores for languages are the highest of all EBacc subjects in the school. Languages are at the heart of whole school improvement. The Head Teacher Judith Woodfield has indeed shown that standards have risen in all other subjects at Key Stage 3 thanks to the adoption of a European curriculum which has CLIL at the heart of its delivery. Research in the UK and internationally shows that this approach to language learning leads not only to language improvement but also to cognitive acceleration.

The results from both BGGS and AU demonstrate that the negative national trend for languages is not inevitable. Given the right approach, children from any context and at any level of education can achieve success in languages. We believe that language is a skill that can be accessed by all; its potential for inclusivity is a key strength that needs to be advertised widely.

The aims of the workshop are:

  • To present CLIL success stories internationally (Estonia) and locally at different levels of education;
  • To share your own good practice during the Show and Tell sessions
  • To network for the promotion of CLIL as a highly effective approach to language learning and of its related benefits for the individual and the society.

Plenary talks:
Peeter Mehisto  (University College London Institute of Education) – Getting concrete with CLIL

Judith Woodfield  (Head teacher, Bordesley Green Girls School) – How Content and Language Integrated Teaching Can Halt the Decline of Languages in Schools

Elisabeth Wielander (Aston University) – Something to talk about: Integrating content and language in tertiary education

Workshop with Peeter Mehisto – Scaffolding through the unavoidable gateway of short-term memory: A CLIL essential

Show and Tell Event

9.30-10.00     Registration
10.00-11.00    Welcome and Peeter Mehisto
11.00-11.30    Coffee
11.30-12.15    Judith Woodfield
12.15-13.00    Elisabeth Wielander
13.00-13.45    Lunch
13.45-14.45    Workshop with Peeter Mehisto
14.45-15.30    Show and Tell 1
15.30-16.00    Coffee
16.00-16.45     Show and Tell 2
16.45-17.00    Closing

Register to reserve your free place at this event

CLIL in HE workshop sparks fascinating discussion between experts, practitioners and newcomers

On June 11, almost 30 delegates from British universities came together at the one-day workshop “Something to talk about: Integrating content and language study in higher education”, organised by Elisabeth Wielander on behalf of the Centre for Language Education Research at Aston (CLERA) and hosted by the School of Languages and Social Science (LSS) at Aston University. The event was funded by the Higher Education Academy as part of the discipline workshop and seminar series, in association with the AHRC.

©Jordina Sala-Branchadell

©Jordina Sala-Branchadell

The aim of the workshop was to disseminate findings from the organiser’s own PhD research, based on results from international research efforts, to outline the possible benefits of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) in MFL degrees in UK Higher Education. It provided a platform for sharing practice in subject-specific content teaching through the target language and discussing implications for curriculum design and teacher training.

In the morning session, Elisabeth introduced the participants to CLIL, building on findings from its predecessor, Canadian immersion, and tracing the development of this European form of bilingual education since the term was coined in the mid-1990s. After presenting some European research investigating the gains and losses of content instruction in a second language (L2) as perceived by university students and instructors, Elisabeth then shared some findings of her own PhD research into the use of German as a medium of instruction in UK undergraduate programmes and showed how Aston University is implementing this teaching approach, which has been in use since the 1970s.

After lunch, two colleagues from each of the languages offered at degree level at Aston – French, German and Spanish – talked about their experience with L2 content teaching and shared examples from their teaching practice. The subsequent Q&A discussion raised some intriguing questions regarding the reasons why some universities embrace L2 content teaching, while others remain reluctant.

The Powerpoint presentations and handouts used on the day will shortly be made available on the HEA website and blog.

Call for Papers: III International Conference on Bilingual Teaching in Educational Institutions, Madrid

CIEBThe Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid and the Department of Education, Youth and Sports of the Madrid Regional Government will host the III International Conference on Bilingual Teaching in Educational Institutions to be held at the Rey Juan Carlos University (Vicálvaro Campus) in Madrid on the 18th and 19th of October, 2013.

Bilingual education is growing in different educational systems across Europe. In the multilingual society in which we live, preparing our young people for their future studies and professional life is a decisive issue. Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) has become a necessary instrument for confronting this challenge.

The III International Conference on Bilingual Teaching in Educational Institutions titled: “Bilingual Education: Consolidation and Perspectives for the XXI Century” aims to go deeper into and move forward in the analysis of bilingual education. The conference is of special interest for primary, secondary and university teachers, researchers and policymakers committed to bilingual education.

The key themes of this Conference are the following:

  • CLIL and good practice
  • CLIL assessment in different subjects
  • Bilingual education: teacher training and updating
  • Activities and resources to support CLIL methodology
  • Technological tools for bilingual education in the XXI Century
  • The importance of literacy in the bilingual classroom
  • Bilingual teaching in secondary education
  • Future challenges in bilingual programs
  • Academic language in different subjects
  • Bilingual teaching in higher education

The registration period is currently open and available on the website Abstracts (not exceeding 400 words) should be sent before July 8th,2013.


This was ICLHE 2013: Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education, at Maastricht University


The international conference “Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education” took place at the University of Maastricht, Netherlands, on 11-13 April, 2013.

This was the third conference of its kind (after previous events held in 2003 and 2006) and, like its predecessors, it focused on how the integration of specialist content learning and language learning affect universities and other institutes of higher education worldwide.

In the years since the Bologna Declaration of June 1999, there has been a surge in undergraduate and graduate degrees offered in other languages – most notably English but also, if to a lesser degree, other languages. The findings presented at this conference are a reflection of the growing research interest in how the integration of discipline-specific content and (second or foreign) language learning is achieved in practice and what the implementation of ICLHE means in terms of education policy (on the international, national, regional, local and institutional level), theoretical and research frameworks, discipline and language pedagogy, teacher training, and student experience.

The conference brought together researchers and practitioners from around the world whose presentations addressed key themes such as:

  • policy: how local, regional, national and supra-national policies shape the design and implementation of the integration of content and language in higher education.
  • linguistic strains: the impact of the rise of English-medium instruction on the role of other languages and cultures in the higher education landscape
  • content: ICL and the access to content knowledge
  • language: the evolution of language competencies in ICLHE programmes
  • theory: theoretical frameworks for underpinning the integration of content and language

Two fascinating keynote speeches set the tone of the conference:

Cecilia JacobsOn Thursday, Prof Cecilia Jacobs (Stellenbosch University, South Africa) talked about “Mapping the terrains of ICLHE: a view from the south”: After setting the scene by discussing frameworks, key concepts and contextual agendas of ICLHE, she called for the abolishment of what she called ‘the dichotomy of language and culture’; instead, she proposed to put knowledge – and the knower – at the centre of ICL pedagogy.

Francois GrinOn Friday, economist Prof Franҫois Grin (University of Geneva, Switzerland) spoke about “Foreign language skills, ‘linguistic work’ and the economic theorie of value”. First, he discussed the personal, social and national value added by multilingualism based on the example of Switzerland before turning to issues of internationalisation in HE. Specifically, he expressed concern about the unquestioned dominance of certain languages (often English, but not always) as medium of instruction, the possibility of ‘deliberate linguistic imperialism’, and some of the ‘negative value of internationalisation’. In his view, world language governance is needed, and he called for a ‘Linguistic Kyoto’ to be established.

??????????At the conference dinner on Friday, April 12, Prof em. Geerd Hofstede (right), who has a long affiliation with the ICLHE conference series, gave a talk about the “Seven Deadly Sins in a Multicultural World”.

A long list of speakers from Europe and beyond – early-career researchers, practicioners, and leading experts in the field – presented insightful papers about a wide range of issues relating to the integration of content and language at tertiary level. For a full list of abstracts, click here.

CLERA member and postgraduate researcher at Aston, Elisabeth Wielander, presented a paper titled ‘CLIL in UK Higher Education: Converging with and diverging from European models’ (abstract).

And finally, on April 11, 2013, the ICLHE Association was officially founded and its constitutive board elected.

Booking now open: CLIL in HE workshop at Aston University

CLIL word cloudSomething to talk about: Integrating content and language study in higher education

  • Date: 11 Jun 2013
  • Start Time: 10:30 am
  • Location/venue: Centre for Language Education Research at Aston (CLERA)

This workshop – organised in association with the Arts & Humanities Research Council – draws on international research to outline the benefits of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) in MFL degrees in UK Higher Education. It provides a platform for sharing practice in subject-specific content teaching through the target language and discussing implications for curriculum design and teacher training.

This workshop – one in a series of research-led CPD events run by the Centre of Language Education Research at Aston (CLERA) – provides an opportunity to discuss the potential of CLIL as a pedagogical instrument in UK Higher Education, to share experiences with target-language subject teachers, and to investigate the practical implications of introducing or expanding content provision through a MFL.

In talks and group discussions, the workshop explores the methodological framework of CLIL, benefits of integrating content instruction with language study, and implications regarding curriculum design, teacher training and student support. Aston instructors of French, German and Spanish provide examples of CLIL in practice and present selected materials from their undergraduate modules.

For more information, and to book a place, go to the HEA website.

HIG01S0002_Logo_sector-Art_MV1Aston LSS logo small Clera logo_squareAHRC_portrait

CALL FOR PAPERS: The English Language in Teaching in European Higher Education

Copenhagen logo19 – 21 April 2013, Copenhagen, Denmark
organised by the University of Copenhagen

This conference will be the third in a series of conferences of the Leverhulme Trust-funded research network: English in Europe: Opportunity or Threat? The theme of the conference is “The English Language in Teaching in European Higher Education”. The organisers invite papers on all topics relating to this theme. This may include but is not limited to:

  • Ideologies of English in higher education
  • Language policy in higher education
  • English medium instruction in higher education
  • Consequences of English medium instruction for local languages
  • Parallellingualism and multilingualism in higher education
  • English as an academic lingua franca
  • Content and language integrated learning (CLIL)
  • English for academic purposes (EAP)
  • English language testing in higher education

Keynote speakers (confirmed):
Robert Phillipson, Professor Emeritus, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Francis Hult, Associate Professor, Lund University
Glenn Ole Hellekjær, Associate Professor, University of Oslo

Deadline for abstract submission: 1 January 2013

To learn more, go to the conference website.

Free seminar: EN ESPAÑOL – ¿POR QUÉ NO? – Delivering the curriculum through Spanish

The Consejería de Educación en el Reino Unido e Irlanda and Liverpool City Council are inviting interested parties to attend the Consejeria’s Annual Seminar “En español, ¿por qué no? – Delivering the curriculum through Spanish” which will take place on November 30th at Hall 12, Arena and Convention Centre, Kings Dock, Liverpool Waterfront, L3 4FP.

The Seminar is free of charge, funded by the Consejería. At the event, experts and professionals from Spanish Sections in schools in Liverpool and Cumbria will review and debate the integrated learning of Spanish through curriculum content.

Follow this link to view the programme: Programa del Seminario Liverpool
Click here to view the event website and to book a place.