Academic journal article International Journal of English Studies

Faster and Further Morphosyntactic Development of CLIL vs. EFL Basque-Spanish Bilinguals Learning English in High-School

Academic journal article International Journal of English Studies

Faster and Further Morphosyntactic Development of CLIL vs. EFL Basque-Spanish Bilinguals Learning English in High-School

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

A general advantage in proficiency has been repeatedly reported for learners receiving Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) when compared to learners who only receive English lessons. However, fine-grained studies addressing the aspects which make up this general advantage are still scarce. Within this context, this paper concentrates on the morphosyntactic development of two groups of (Basque-Spanish) adolescents learning English in high-school over a two-year period. One group (n= 15) received CLIL instruction and English classes while the other group (n=11) only received English classes. The results indicate a clear advantage for the CLIL group, which seems to be at a further developmental stage. Nonetheless, both groups improve over the two years and, unlike previous claims in schools, no signs of fossilization are found although inaccuracies in inflection still exist. In light of these results, the value of increasing exposure in the form of CLIL lessons in high-school is discussed.

KEYWORDS: morphosyntactic development; CLIL; EFL; school context.

RESUMEN

Repetidamente se ha demostrado que los alumnos en programas de Adquisición Integrada de Contenidos y Lengua Extranjera (AICLE) son mejores que los alumnos que únicamente reciben clases de inglés. Sin embargo, pocos trabajos han especificado qué aspectos concretos de la lengua mejoran con estas metodologías. Este trabajo analiza, a lo largo de dos años, el desarrollo morfosintáctico de dos grupos de adolescentes bilingües (euskera-castellano) que aprenden inglés en el colegio. Un grupo (n=11) solo recibe clases de inglés mientras que el otro (n=15) también recibe clases de AICLE. Los resultados muestran que los alumnos AICLE presentan un mayor desarrollo morfosintáctico. También se muestra que ambos grupos evolucionan a lo largo de los dos años y, frente a trabajos anteriores, no hay signos de fosilización aunque los problemas flexivos persisten. Con estos resultados, se discute la validez de aumentar la exposición al inglés mediante programas AICLE en educación secundaria.

PALABRAS CLAVE: desarrollo morfosintáctico; AICLE; EFL; contexto escolar.

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1. Justification

According to Coyle (2007) the term Content and Language Integrated Learning (henceforth CLIL) was adopted by the European Network of Administrators, Researchers and Practitioners (EUROCLIC) in the mid 1990s and it can be defined as a methodology which encompasses any activity in which "[...] the foreign language is used as a tool in the learning of a non-language subject" (Coyle, 2007, p. 545).

CLIL methodologies have been claimed to raise learners' overall proficiency in the target language (Coyle, 2007) and a plethora of recent research carried out in this context has repeatedly confirmed this finding. However, it has been also pointed out that fine-grained studies that precisely address the aspects which make up these general gains in proficiency are very necessary to obtain a more complete picture of the effects of CLIL instruction (Dalton-Puffer, 2008; Dalton-Puffer, Nikula & Smit, 2010; Van der Craen, Mondt, Allain and Gao, 2007). To address this need, some studies have set offto explore the effects of CLIL on the acquisition of morphosyntax and have obtained conflicting results: Some authors have found that morphosyntax greatly benefits from CLIL instruction (Dalton-Puffer, 2008; Ruiz Zarobe, 2008) whereas others, who have looked at the provision of specific morphemes, have found no differences between CLIL and non-CLIL learners (Bongartz, 2003; García Mayo and Villarreal Olaizola, 2011).

Within this context, the present study focuses on the morphosyntactic development of two groups of (Basque-Spanish) adolescents learning English in high-school over a two-year period. Accordingly, data were collected at two testing times with an interval of two years between Time 1 (henceforth T1), when all learners were 13, and Time 2 (henceforth T2), when all learners were 15. …

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