CLIL instruction in Norway and Sweden: Challenges and benefits

Colloquium Day 1 Aud 1

CLIL instruction in Norway and Sweden: Challenges and benefits
Convenor: Lisbeth M. Brevik, University of Oslo

Content and language integrated learning (CLIL), where another language (most often English) than students’ first language is partly used as the medium of instruction is nowadays fairly common in many countries around the world, Norway and Sweden being no exceptions. The colloquium will feature a presentation of some of the most interesting findings in studies that exist and present four projects in the two countries. The aim is to identify similarities and differences in the implementation of CLIL in Norway and Sweden, student learning outcomes, as well as potentials for collaboration beneficial for CLIL in both theory and practice.

Paper 1: Overview of CLIL research in Sweden
Liss Kerstin Sylvén, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Educational research is important to establish possible pros and cons of certain educational approaches. Research into CLIL around the world abounds, and even though all studies in their own right may be of interest, it is not until such research is carefully contextualized that conclusions about potential effects can be drawn locally. This colloquium, therefore, delves specifically into research on CLIL in Sweden and Norway. The first part of this presentation, focusing on Sweden, concerns early studies, such as Åseskog (1982) and Washburn (1997), whose work set the agenda for later research into CLIL in the Swedish context. The second part goes into some detail in the most recent CLIL research project in Sweden, namely the longitudinal, large-scale, CLISS-project (Content and Language Integration in Swedish Schools, Sylvén, 2019). In the overview, areas of investigation, perspectives taken, methods used, as well as analytical tools and lenses are scrutinized and taken into account in the final section of the presentation, which discusses conclusions drawn based on existing evidence as well as identifies gaps in need of further research. Avenues on how to move forward to make CLIL research in the Scandinavian context as relevant and complete as possible are defined.

Paper 2: Two projects on CLIL in Swedish middle school
Eva Olsson, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

In Swedish middle school, English is generally studied in foreign language classes for two hours a week. In CLIL classes, English may be encountered and used for up to 50 percent of the school day as the language of instruction in different subjects. However, the effect of CLIL instruction on language and subject knowledge has not yet been explored among young learners in the Swedish context. In this presentation, two recently initiated longitudinal research projects focusing on CLIL in middle school are described. In the first project, four classes (N = 100) of students aged 12-14 are monitored for two years during periods when cross-curricular CLIL projects are implemented. The development of the students’ Swedish and English proficiency is compared to that of 100 non-CLIL students. A further purpose of the project is to identify and develop CLIL-based teaching methods in close cooperation with the teachers. This project is part of a strategic effort by the Swedish government to support of classroom-based research. The second project, funded through The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, is a large-scale, project running over three years aiming at exploring the effects of CLIL on 10-12-year-old learners’ proficiency in Swedish, English and Mathematics. In particular, the interaction between the development in mathematics and language proficiency is in focus here. The study involves 250 students from schools where English is the language of instruction in Mathematics and other subjects up to 50 percent of the time, and 150 students attending regular non-CLIL education.

Paper 3: Main findings from the ETOS project in Norway - student voices and video-recorded lessons
Lisbeth M Brevik, University of Oslo, Norway

This paper presents findings from the research and evaluation project ETOS (Evaluation of bilingual Training Opportunities in Schools). ETOS followed students in six bilingual classes in Norway across grades 8, 9 and 10 during the school year 2019–2020. The project is unique in that it follows two schools, in areas with different socio-economic status, where bilingual instruction (English/Norwegian) has been offered for a long period of time. This paper will present findings on how the two schools take, and have taken, responsibility for content and language integrated learning, based on a combination of video-recorded observation of lessons in six classes, and interviews and questionnaires among students. The paper will discuss the effects of CLIL instruction for student motivation, learning outcomes, and perceived relevance across subjects (religion, science, mathematics, social studies, English, Norwegian and foreign languages).

Paper 4: The role of Norwegian in CLIL instruction
Jonas Bakken, University of Oslo, Norway

This paper will discuss the role of Norwegian in bilingual instruction where English is the medium of instruction. While studies on CLIL classrooms have mainly focused on language use in terms of the target language, comparatively few studies have examined the effects of and perspectives on language use in the main language of schooling. The main aim of the ETOS project is to evaluate whether the bilingual education, instructed partly in Norwegian and partly in English, is conducted in such a way that students are offered proper education in all subjects, not only concerning the English language, but also their competence in Norwegian as the main language of schooling. This discussion is of particular relevance as students in CLIL classes in lower secondary schools in Norway are required to take their exams using Norwegian in all other school subjects than in English and foreign languages. This paper will therefore elaborate on students’ competence in Norwegian when attending CLIL instruction, and present examples of how they show their competence in Norwegian during mock exams and exams.

Paper 5: Religion as a content subject in CLIL instruction
Kirsten Marie Hartvigsen, University of Oslo, Norway

This paper elaborates on one of the content subjects in the ETOS project, namely religion. Little research exists on the content subjects in CLIL instruction. While there is a growing number of studies that focus on the interplay between content and language learning, researchers have argued that large areas of CLIL teaching remain under-researched, especially content aspects of the instruction. When evaluating content aspects of the CLIL classes, we examine how students' language resources are used (or not used) in the subject, and whether students have developed high competence in English and in Norwegian related to the school subject religion. This paper will also discuss whether CLIL instruction has contributed to increased adapted education in religion, whether students’ motivation and learning outcomes have increased, and whether students and teachers perceive such instruction to have contributed to increased relevance for their further education and participation in working life. The main discussion will be on whether the CLIL instruction is conducted in such a way that students are offered proper education in the subject, and whether students are able to show their competence in the subjects in oral exams that are conducted in Norwegian.

Published June 1, 2021 1:12 PM - Last modified June 4, 2021 1:50 PM