A Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Project: Opportunities and Challenges in the Context of Heritage Language Education

Marina Charalampidi, Michael Hammond, Nicoletta Hadjipavlou, Neophytos Lophitis

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) is gaining momentum in the European field of language education. However, to date, research seems to be dominated by studies into English. Further, in the UK, CLIL initiatives in general have been limited, and this is particularly so in respect to community or heritage languages. This paper reports on a CLIL project on environmental pollution and the science of climate change with a community/heritage language, namely Greek, as the vehicular language. The project was implemented in the Greek supplementary school of Leicester, UK, and aimed at teaching students aged 11 to 17 scientific concepts (including those relating to the greenhouse effect, carbon cycle, climate change) while at the same time advancing language acquisition. It included various in-class activities and a visit to the Science Museum in London. Data collection included questionnaires, interviews, materials used in the activities and field notes to investigate the perceived impact of the project on heritage language learners. The ultimate aim of the research was to examine whether CLIL had a role to play in heritage language education, a field with distinct challenges. Gains were reported across language and content learning, cognition and attitudes. Perhaps the most significant finding was that the approach facilitated the building of linguistic and cognitive bridges between the students' linguistic heritage and their mainstream education. The article links classroom practice to research and argues for the inclusion of CLIL in supplementary schools, as an effective pedagogy for the teaching and learning of heritage languages.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2017
    EventEuropean Conference on Language Learning 2017 - Brighton, United Kingdom
    Duration: 30 Jun 20172 Jul 2017


    ConferenceEuropean Conference on Language Learning 2017
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


    • Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)
    • community/heritage languages
    • heritage language learners
    • heritage language learning
    • interdisciplinary
    • supplementary education


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