Academic journal article International Journal of English Studies

A Preliminary Study on Motivation and Gender in CLIL and Non-CLIL Types of Instruction

Academic journal article International Journal of English Studies

A Preliminary Study on Motivation and Gender in CLIL and Non-CLIL Types of Instruction

Article excerpt


Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) is an approach in which a foreign language is used as a tool in the learning of a non-language subject in which both the language and the subject have a joint role (Coyle, 2007; Mehisto, Marsh & Frigols, 2008). The essence of CLIL is integration with a dual focus: "language learning is included in content classes (e.g. maths, history, geography [...], etc), and content from subjects is used in language learning classes" (Mehisto, Marsh and Frigols, 2008: 11). Content in CLIL will depend on the context of the learning instruction. It can range from the delivery of elements taken directly from a statutory national curriculum to a topic based on topical issues drawing together different aspects of the curriculum. Content in a CLIL setting could also be thematic, cross-curricular, interdisciplinary or focus on citizenship.

Content learning and its integration with language is complex and implies teachers and apprentices working together in a dynamic state where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Therefore, the social-constructivist model (Vygotsky, 1978) is associated with CLIL settings, since it focuses on interactive, mediated and student-led learning. This scenario requires social interaction between pupils and teachers, so that the former become cognitively engaged, which implies that they need to be aware of their own instruction through developing metacognitive skills such as learning to learn. They must be taught how to operate collaboratively and work effectively in groups. Therefore, for CLIL teaching to support effective understanding, it has to take into account not only students' knowledge and skills base, but also their cognitive engagement. On the basis of such an awareness can students' responsibility be promoted as a preliminary step towards the development of autonomy, and, ultimately, to the achievement of more successful learning outcomes (Pérez-Vidal, 2009).

Assuming that in CLIL settings it is necessary to progress systematically in both pupils' content and language learning and using, then using language to learn becomes as important as learning to use language. As a result, classroom communication - interaction between peers and teachers - is at the core. There is also growing recognition that dialogic forms of pedagogy - that is, "where learners are encouraged to articulate their learning" (Coyle, Hood and Marsh, 2010: 35) - are potent tools for securing students' engagement, and understanding. Focusing teaching on quality discourse understanding between students, and between learners and teachers - where pupils have different opportunities to discuss their own learning with other peers as it progresses, where feedback is integrated into classroom discourse and where apprentices are encouraged to ask as well as answer questions. The challenge in the CLIL setting is that trainees will need to engage in dialogic interactions by using the vehicular language.

This interaction between teachers and pupils is supposed to foster learner motivation (Lasagabaster, 2011) at Secondary education. However, to our knowledge no studies have conducted with Spanish Primary students regarding gender and motivation in CLIL and non- CLIL (EFL) settings: For this reason, in the following sections this paper will relate motivation and gender in the foreign language and CLIL classroom.


2.1. Motivation and gender in foreign language learning

Both motivation and gender are recognized as relevant variables in foreign language learning (FL). A large number of studies have identified a positive link between motivation and scores in foreign language learning (Bernaus & Gardner, 2008; Csizér & Dörnyei, 2005; Fernández- Fontecha, 2010b; Gardner, 2007; Masgoret & Gardner, 2003; Schmidt & Watanabe, 2001; Yu & Watkins, 2008).

There are several models of motivation and language learning. …

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