LINGUIST List 28.2284

Mon May 22 2017

Review: Applied Ling; Ling Theories: Smit, Dafouz, Moore, Nikula (2016)

Editor for this issue: Clare Harshey <>

Date: 19-Dec-2016
From: Anna Krulatz <>
Subject: Conceptualising Integration in CLIL and Multilingual Education
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Book announced at

EDITOR: Tarja Nikula
EDITOR: Emma Dafouz
EDITOR: Pat Moore
EDITOR: Ute Smit
TITLE: Conceptualising Integration in CLIL and Multilingual Education
SERIES TITLE: Bilingual Education & Bilingualism
PUBLISHER: Multilingual Matters
YEAR: 2016

REVIEWER: Anna M Krulatz, Sør-Trøndelag University College

Reviews Editor: Helen Aristar-Dry


Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) has received a great deal of attention in the last decade. The volume “Conceptualising Integration in CLIL and Multilingual Education,” edited by Tarja Nikula, Emma Dafouz, Pat Moore, and Ute Smit, brings together the no baby allwork of sixteen contributors under the project “ConCLIL – Language and Content Integration: Towards a Conceptual Framework” funded by the Academy of Finland, in which data was collected from three countries with diverse CLIL policies and repertoires. The contribution aims to complement the existing CLIL research by focusing on institutional, pedagogical and personal perspectives on integration in multilingual and CLIL educational contexts. The book is organized into the following sections: “Foreword”; an introductory chapter “More Than Content and Language: The Complexity of Integration in CLIL and Bilingual Education;” Part 1, “Curriculum and Pedagogy Planning,” which focuses on the integration of content and language at curriculum level; Part 2, “Participants,” which explores integration from the perspective of teachers and students; Part 3, “Practices,” which is devoted to the realization of integration through actual classroom practices; and “Conclusion,” which summarizes the volume and synthesizes the approaches to integration it presents.

“More Than Content and Language: The Complexity of Integration in CLIL and Bilingual Education,” by Tarja Nikula, Christiane Dalton-Puffer, Ana Llinares and Francisco Lorenzo, serves as the introduction to the volume. It explains the rationale for the book and introduces and defines the three perspectives on integration that serve as the organizing principle: the what, or the institutional level of curriculum planning; the who, or the participants’ perspectives on integration; and the how, or the classroom practices. The section also gives a review of previous research in each of the three areas of integration, as well as provides a summary of each of the parts in the book.

Chapter 1, “Cognitive Discourse Functions: Specifying an Integrative Interdisciplinary Construct” (Christiane Dalton-Puffer) applies a transdisciplinary construct of cognitive discourse functions (CDFs) to link subject-specific cognitive learning goals with the linguistic representations relevant in specific classroom interactions. The classification of the seven CDFs types (classify, define, describe, evaluate, explain, explore, and report), their underlying communicative intentions and their members are provided, followed by detailed descriptions of the seven CDF components illustrated with classroom examples obtained from the data pool of the ConCLIL project. The chapter is of interest for CLIL researchers, and CLIL teachers and teacher educators in that it offers an organized heuristic tool for conceptualizing discourse functions. By focusing on how to increase the visibility and teachability of CDFs, the chapter enables teachers and learners to better access and communicate subject-specific knowledge in CLIL.

Chapter 2, “Historical Literacy in CLIL: Telling the Past in a Second Language” (Francisco Lorenzo and Christiane Dalton-Puffer) explores teaching and learning of history within CLIL. The authors give an overview of the evolution of the construct of historical literacy and explain how the broadening of the notion of literacy led to changes in school curricula, which they illustrate with two concrete examples. They then present a classification of historical literacy into three levels, namely historical notions, gestalt historical principles and historical heuristics, and show how these correlate with predictable units at three language levels, i.e., genres, functions, and lexico-grammar. The framework is then expanded as the authors provide specific examples of communicative discourse functions that characterize the oral and written language performance of teachers and learners in L2 history courses.

Chapter 3, “Learning Mathematics Bilingually: An Integrated Language and Mathematics Model (ILMM) of Word Problem-Solving Processes in English as a Foreign Language” (Angela Berger) addresses the issue of interaction between mathematics and language, focusing specifically on cognitive processes involved in solving mathematical word problems. The chapter opens with an overview of previous conceptualizations of how mathematics and language are related, highlighting the issues pertaining to learning mathematics in a foreign language. It then moves on to present an Integrated Language and Mathematics Model (ILMM), which is based on the results of a study that utilized think-aloud protocols of 48 beginners in English language learning who were solving word problems. The model visualizes interaction between content and language-related processing while mathematical word problems are being solved in a foreign language, and it leads the author to conclude that cognitive and mathematical processes form a complex, integrated whole, and that therefore, deliberate attention to language needs to be given in the CLIL mathematics classroom.

Chapter 4, “A Bakhtinian Perspective on Language and Content Integration: Encountering the Alien Word in Second Language Mathematics Classroom” (Richard Barwell) uses Bakhtin’s dialogic theory of language and its key notions of heteroglossia, and centrifugal and centripetal forces as a basis for conceptualizing language and curricular content as one process. Using two examples from an ethnographic study of interaction in elementary school second language mathematics classroom in Canada, the author illustrates how such interactions are shaped by tensions between institutional and political requirements as well as students’ and teachers’ voices. According to Barwell, an important implication of this perspective on integration is that learners need to be supported in the development of content-related language and language awareness through suitable pedagogical approaches. This chapter concludes Part 1 of the book.

Chapter 5, “University Teachers’ Beliefs of Language and Content Integration in English-Medium Education in Multilingual University Settings (Emma Dafouz, Julia Hüttner and Ute Smit) presents a study of conceptualizations of content and language in English-medium education in multilingual university settings (EMEMUS). Specifically, using the corpus of 18 teacher interviews conducted at four institutions of higher education (one in Finland, one in the UK, one in Austria, and one in Spain), the study investigated teacher perspectives utilizing the ROAD-MAPPING framework (Dafouz & Smit, 2016). The results, which focus on participants’ position with regards to A, ING and AD of the ROAD-MAPPING framework (Agents, Internationalisation and Glocalisation, and Academic Disciplines) suggest a range of conceptualizations of integration of content and learning across the subjects and sites. Teacher beliefs about EMEMUS are shaped by the contexts and disciplines in which individuals work, and are located on a continuum from “similar” to “different” in relation to traditional monolingual education. This chapter raises important points about teacher agency in providing language scaffolding and making curriculum adaptations and about their views on diversity, and the use of languages other than English in EMEMUS settings.

Chapter 6, “CLIL Teachers’ Beliefs about Integration and about Their Professional Roles: Perspectives from a European Context” (Kristiina Skinnari and Eveliina Bovellan) examines what teacher accounts of how they understand CLIL reveal regarding their beliefs about integration and how teachers define their professional roles within CLIL. These research questions were informed by findings from a study by Morton (2012), which suggest relationships among teachers’ beliefs about the role of language in CLIL and their practical knowledge of learners, subject and self. The data used in this chapter comes from the ConCLIL project and was collected through semi-structured interviews with 12 secondary school CLIL teachers. Close reading, thematic analysis and comparison of the data revealed five major themes, which are discussed and illustrated with excerpts from the interviews: teacher content orientation, orientation to language and language teaching, subject-specific language, language as a tool, and additional benefits of integration. In line with Dalton-Puffer (2011), the authors conclude that language and content are integrated in dynamic ways and cannot be separated from each other.

Chapter 7, “Integration of Language and Content Through Languaging in CLIL Classroom Interaction: A Conversation Analysis Perspective” (Tom Morton and Teppo Jakonen) opens Part 3 of the book, which is devoted to classroom practice. The chapter explores the learner perspective on integration as it examines interactional negotiation of language knowledge among students engaged in content tasks. Multimodal conversation analysis methodology for SLA (Kasper & Wagner, 2011), and the constructs of Focus on Form (Nassaji & Fotos, 2011) and languaging (Swain et al., 2009) are integrated to analyze two data extracts from video-recordings of secondary school history CLIL lessons in Finland. The authors conclude that spontaneous, student-initiated occurrences of Focus on Form and languaging do not provide sufficient opportunities for language and content integration, and that language areas of high functional importance in relation to content should be explicitly identified and reinforced in CLIL classrooms.

Chapter 8, “Teacher and Student Evaluative Language in CLIL Across Contexts: Integrating SFL and Pragmatic Approaches” (Ana Llinares and Tarja Nikula) presents an integrated perspective on evaluation, addressing specifically students’ ability to evaluate subject-related information and the use of evaluative resources to establish social relations. Recognizing that different educational traditions may place different constraints on language behavior, and using ConCLIL data from four teacher-fronted classrooms in Austria, Finland and Spain, the study explores how the type of subject and geographical context affect student and teacher use of evaluation. The authors conclude that teachers often employ appraisal resources to evaluate student performance and that the local teaching culture in different countries may have a stronger impact on evaluative practices than a shared CLIL methodology. They add that instructional patterns present in the classroom are also related to the evaluative resources employed by students.

Chapter 9, “Translanguaging in CLIL Classrooms” (Pat Moore and Tarja Nikula) employs the notion of translanguaging to explore integration from the perspective of language choice and merger through a multilingual lens. The authors briefly review the dominant monolingual orientation in CLIL research, describe the origins and interpretations of translanguaging, provide a short summary of translanguaging research, and discuss the issue of language choices in classroom settings. Using the data from a corpus of CLIL classroom recordings (ConCLIL project) and qualitative discourse analysis, the authors examine the roles and purposes of translanguaging in whole-class teacher-led discussions and group work. The findings suggest that two types of translanguaging can be distinguished: the instances when it is employed to explicitly focus on language and meaning, and revolves around key vocabulary and serves to reinforce meaning, clarify terms, and disambiguate; and the instances when it is used to improve the flow of interaction, for instance to clarify instructions, to signal alignment with the interlocutor, or to communicate emotionally charged messages. The authors conclude that translanguaging in CLIL classrooms is purposeful and can be perceived as a useful communication strategy, and that multilingual language practice should be accepted as the norm in CLIL.

In the final section of the volume, “Conclusion: Language Competence, Learning and Pedagogy in CLIL – Deepening and Broadening Integration” (Constant Leung and Tom Morton), the approaches to integration presented in the preceding chapters are synthesized, and a conceptual framework for positioning the approaches to integration in CLIL is drafted. The chapter concludes with future directions for integrated approaches in CLIL.


This edited volume constitutes an important contribution to the dynamic and growing field of CLIL for several reasons. It brings to focus an integrated perspective on content and language and explores it at three crucial levels: curriculum, teacher and learner perceptions, and classroom practices, an important fused approach to CLIL which has been stressed in recent publications (e.g., Byrnes, 2005; Dalton-Puffer et al., 2019). The various chapters in the volume apply a range of theories, frameworks, and constructs in their analysis of integration of language and content in CLIL, including a Bakhtinian perspective, ROAD-MAPPING, and translanguaging. In addition, new useful frameworks are proposed, e.g., the ILMM and a matrix of approaches to integration in CLIL. All chapters clearly focus on the aspect of integration within the section of the book in which they are placed, and frequent cross-referencing strengthens the relationship among the contributions. The authors and the editors did a remarkable job conceptualizing the integration of language and content in CLIL and highlighting connections between the three perspectives on integration which serve as the organizing principle of the book.

In the Foreword, the editors make a claim that the volume will “inspire teachers, teacher educators and educational researchers alike to take a fused – or integrated – perspective” on CLIL. While I concur that the book’s content is of great value to the latter two audiences, I seriously doubt that it constitutes a resource that is accessible and useful for classroom teachers. The volume is highly theory and research oriented, and mostly addresses the questions of what? and why? in regards to integration of language and content in CLIL, whereas teachers are more prone to reach for a publication that contains practical, easy to follow tips that explain how to implement changes in the classroom. While several of the chapters call for a development of appropriate pedagogical approaches, none offers explicit solutions, which would be of greatest value to teachers. Nonetheless, this audience could be reached indirectly through CLIL teacher educators, for whom the volume would be a valuable read.

An additional, minor shortcoming of the volume is that while all chapters draw on the data collected through ConCLIL, not all authors follow a unified research chapter format, and some do not clearly state research questions and explain research methods and analysis. Additional elaboration on the ConCLIL methodology either in the introductory chapter or in the respective contributions would have strengthened the book’s clarity and informativeness.

Overall, “Conceptualising Integration in CLIL and Multilingual Education” is a great, well-organized resource for CLIL researchers and CLIL teacher educators, complete with rich data excerpts and theoretical models. While the volume may not be as accessible to classroom teachers as the authors and the editors have envisioned, selected sections could be used as a basis for through-provoking discussions in pre- and in-service teacher education courses.


Burnes, H. (2005). Reconsidering the nexus of content and language: A mandate of the NCLB legislation. Modern Language Journal 89(2), 277-282.

Dafouz, E. & Smit, U. (2016). Towards a dynamic conceptual framework for English-medium education in multilingual university settings. Applied Linguistics, 37(3), 397-415.

Dalton-Puffer, C. (2011). Content-and-language integrated learning: From practice to principles? Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 31, 182-204.

Dalton-Puffer, C., Nikula, T. & Smit, U. (2010). Charting policies, premises, and research on content and language integrated learning. In C. Dalton-Puffer, T. Nikula & U. Smit (Eds.), Language Use and Language Learning in CLIL Classrooms (pp. 279-291). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Kasper, G. & Wagner, J. (2011). A conversation-analytic approach to second language acquisition. In D. Atkinson (Ed.), Alternative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition (pp. 117-142). New York: Taylor & Francis.

Morton, T. (2012). Teachers’ knowledge about language and classroom interaction in content and language integrated learning. PhD dissertation, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

Nassaji, H. & Fotos, S. (2011). Teaching Grammar in Second Language Classrooms: Integrating Form-Focused Instruction in Communicative Context. Abingdon: Routledge.

Swain, M., Lapkin, S., Knouzi, I., Suzuki, W., & Brooks, L. (2009). Languaging: University students learn the grammatical concept of voice in French. Modern Language Journal 93(1), 5-29.


Anna Krulatz is Associate Professor of English at the Faculty of Teacher Education at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway, where she works with pre- and in-service EFL teachers. Her research focuses on multilingualism with English, pragmatic development in adult language learners, content based instruction, and language teacher education.

Page Updated: 22-May-2017