Responsible, competent and with a sense of belonging: An explanation for the purported levelling effect of CLIL

Ana Halbach, Janina Iwaniec

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Whilst CLIL research has flourished and showed some gains for CLIL learners, for example in motivation, there is little consensus about how it affects students from different social strata. The British Council ‘English Impact’ study (Shepherd & Ainsworth, 2017) has recently uncovered that CLIL contributes to levelling of SES (socio-economic status) differences between students and leading to high levels of motivation in all students. In this study, we aim to follow up on these findings by exploring how teachers from the region of Madrid perceive students and their parents in both bilingual and non-bilingual secondary schools. To this end, 138 teachers from bilingual and non-bilingual schools filled in the TALIS questionnaire (OECD, 2013) and 20 teachers were interviewed. Whereas questionnaire data reveals few perceived differences between students from the two types of schools, interviewees did point to differences in characteristics of students from bilingual and non-bilingual schools and the type of parental support they receive. The findings point towards the creation of a learning environment in CLIL programs that satisfies the need for autonomy, competence and relatedness as reasons behind increased levels of motivation and the reduced impact of students’ SES on their performance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
Early online date3 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2020


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