Key ideas related to application of clil in teaching materials development

In the strategy of Kazakhstan-2050 the trilingual policy emphasizes the equal acquisition of the third language English in the bilingual country Kazakhstan. It is supposed that through learning subject content in three languages students will get access to additional information, new perspectives, and deeper understanding of other cultures [1]. The trilingual policy contributes in creating trilingual environment which increases students’ potential, develops their flexibility, critical and creative thinking, and ability to cross-cultural cooperation, fosters respect towards themselves and others, and increases their willingness and skills to learn the languages. In this regard CLIL approach in education might be the nearly single solution for the third language implementation through the content of the training curriculum and teaching in a foreign language combination.

Recently introduced trilingual policy in education and content language integrated curriculum in Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools had been based on previous successful researches held by European Union schools. For instance Coyle, Hood and Marsh’s research determined that under certain circumstances CLIL:

  1. Motivates both teachers and learners.
  2. Develops linguistic confidence and competence and promotes spontaneity.
  3. Repositions languages in school curriculum.
  4. Curriculum linking: new challenges.
  5. Addresses stereotypes (language, gender and curriculum).
  6. Improves global citizenship and intercultural understanding.
  7. Revisits effective teaching/ learning.
  8. Enlarges communication/ learning spaces [3, pp. 543-562].

However in CLIL approach the first word is ‘content’ and undoubtedly, there are language teachers who concern about the quality of language teaching with CLIL, especially if first and foremost, students need support in formal language learning. At the same time CLIL as a fresh approach is aimed to promote the best practice and to some extent it has evoked from Task-Based language learning (TBL) as well as it has something in common with ContentBased learning (CBL) too. Therefore, it is fair to compare them with CLIL according to how it is presented in the TKT course, Cambridge [10, p. 86].

Table 1 Comparison and contrasting of TBL, CBL and CLIL


Task –based Learning (TBL)

Contentbased Learning (CBL)

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)

View of language

Language is a tool for communicating meaning trough use of functions, vocabulary, structures, discourse.

Grammatical, lexical, functional areas and skills are all important.

  • Language serves to communicate meaning.
  • All aspects of language help communicate meaning, e.g. skills, discourse, lexis, grammar, functions.

View of language learning

Language is learnt by using it.

Language is learnt best if presented to learners trough interesting top-

Language is learnt mainly through acquisition and trough using it. Language does not need


ics which help them increase their knowledge of the world.

to be obviously focused on.

Language is leant best when you use it to learn something else


Classroom activities

The syllabus focuses

The syllabus is based round


are based around a

on grammar, lexis,

learning about the subject matter


series of problem-

functional or skills.

and cognitive (thinking and


solving tasks. To solve

Used mainly in pri-

learning) skills related to a school


the problems, learners

mary and secondary

subject, e.g. math, history, art.


need to communicate.


The school subject is taught in


Grammar, vocabu-

Language is pre-

the L2 (L3, L4).


lary and pronunciation

sented through topics

The specific kinds of language


may or may not be

related to school sub-

learnt are the language needed


focused on in class

jects or learning about

for learning about the subject.


after the task is com-

the world.

Lessons focused on the subject




rather than on language.

Provided table depicts some overlapping points in every of these features likewise, in the view of language in TBL and CLIL they have in common that the language is a tool or serves the meaning of communicating. In the view of language learning it is learnt by using it or in broad meaning trough acquisition. In classroom practice it is noticeable that CBL and CLIL appear to have more similarities in comparison with TBL. Especially in presenting language through topics related to school subjects, in terms of Biology, Chemistry or Physics these subjects are usually learning about the world. However, this table precisely shows distinguishes between these three approaches in teaching language. Moreover, it is worth mentioning about approach named ESP (English for Specific Purposes) because it is also linked with CLIL. The main difference between CLIL and ESP is that this approach is often used in higher occupational education such as medicine, engineering, law and etc whereas CLIL is applicable from primary education through adult to higher education. Its focus is also a content of the area of a future job and language for communication in this area. From this perspective, CLIL is regarded as a language learning approach, which main disadvantage today is instructional materials shortage in terms of foreign language acquisition. As it is yet new for Kazakhstani secondary education language teachers of NIS are encouraged to make contribution in developing teaching language with CLIL application. This will involve improving subject’s course plan and enriching it with supplementary materials on CLIL.

Nowadays the immediate access to a wide range of materials devoted to teaching EFL is supposed not to bring teachers a noticeable trouble in fulfilling any topic of the curriculum. However, every teacher should be a cutting edge in modifying not only teaching process but also teaching materials in order to meet today’s students’ needs. Brian Tomlinson in his state-of–the-art article determines ‘materials for language learning’ broadly. He acknowledges that it refers to everything which is used to assist the process of language acquiring, starting from textbooks, reading texts, flash cards, and other printed materials completed with digital files and web applications. In addition, Brian Tomlinson divided all materials into several categories according to the ways of acquiring a language [11, pp. 143-144].

Table 2. Types of teaching materials according to the ways of language acquisition


informing the learner about the target language


guiding the learner in practicing the language


providing the learner with experience of the language in use


encouraging the learner to use the language) and exploratory (helping the learner to make discoveries about the language

To meet needs of different learners as they acquire in different ways [12, pp. 245– 252], the ideal material is recognized to be which involves all mentioned above ways of learning language for learners to experience and to selection. Nevertheless, if deeply to analyze most of ready teaching materials they are focused on informing about knowledge and practicing the features of given knowledge rather than encouraging the learner to use the language for learner’s supplementary needs. Richard assumed the following ‘instructional materials generally serve as the basis of much of the language input that learners receive and the language practice that occurs in the classroom’ [9, p. 251]. Tomlinson et al. share the same vision as Masuhara et al. [12, pp. 143144], [7, pp. 294–312] after revision made under current English course books for teaching adults. They have similar conclusion that tasks in them highlight explicit teaching and practice. Thereby, according to these academics, materials development’ involves all the activities which an instructor takes in order to evolve it into a new one taking into consideration teacher’s philosophy and learners’ motivation for language learning.

This procedure consists of several sequenced parts resulted from every previous one. Usually existing material is evaluated and reasoned to choose in compliance with the curricular topic, focus of learning objectives, whether it will be language material practiced or the content studied, or its selection might depend on presentation the material in an interesting and tricky way. Nonetheless, most of chosen tasks need to go through redesigning and production in an updated version, exploitation and researching the background of its implication effectiveness [13, p. 143-144]. Looking at these stages any practitioner would find them as the main regularly committed by them actions, at the same time not all of them would find it easy to elicit and to develop properly teaching materials without understanding the complex interactions laid under these processes. This proves that yet, the attention to understanding the importance of elaborating materials in teaching language is very little, both in methodological literature and in applied linguistics. This is also highlighted by Tomlinson, that “especially teachers of language can be challenged by eliciting appropriate materials which are able to motivate learners to actively use language studying the area of a science subject”. Furthermore, CLIL approach is still new and undeveloped area in terms of specific tasks which can empower students to become independent learners and continue the learning process beyond the language classroom. The best way to learn a language is by doing, not just studying it or performing exercises and drills. Therefore there is a need in examining principles and requirements for CLIL material development.

It is determined that CLIL methodology relies on the next key principles:

  1. multiple focus (on language, learning and cognition);
  2. the construction of safe and enriching learning environments;
  3. the use of authentic materials and interactions;
  4. the promotion of active learning;
  5. the use of macro and micro scaffolding to accompany students' learning to make them increasingly autonomous;
  6. the promotion of co-operation among students and teachers [5, pp .80-83]

In developing CLIL materials it is essential to take these principles into consideration. Regarding these points it is better to demonstrate it visually by Do Coyle scheme. Every aspect of its will be covered in further explanation.

Picture 1. 4Cs Conceptual Framework

In terms of focusing on language, learning and cognition by Coyle, CLIL application impacts on learners’ linguistic and cognitive skills, and contributes to the acquisition of field-specific contents and know-how [3, pp. 543-562]. Regarding this the innerrelationship between these aspects together with understanding that it should be adjusted to individual context and various learners’ level of language, their cognitive skills, their social background and their previous knowledge. Mentioned aspects and CLIL approach itself are base on socio-constructivism which regards language and knowledge as part and parcel which demand the development of social interaction [15]. It is fact that language acquisition takes place and origins from communicative need in a content-focused situation. Moreover, learning occurs via form of language and becomes conscious when it is put into words. As a result teaching foreign language is not only memorizing grammar structures and language patterns, but understanding how these patterns and forms are inserted an interaction to achieve some goals. For example, most of English course books contain the topic “Advertisement and Advertising” by CLIL and to cover its requirements students should present a message or a conversation with an advert designer. They should come up with proposal about the product. They should politely express and discuss its technical aspects, where it will be published and the target audience. Surely, students will be able to accomplish the task after working out some content material. They should to gain some conceptual knowledge about printing industry, and what usually is discussed in this case including price, payment procedure and to make whatever modification the design needs.

The second point construction of safe and enriching learning environments is established on Vygotsky’s theory of zone of proximal development [15]. In accordance with this teacher as a facilitator of a learning process manages to extend the current knowledge of a student by creating comfortable learning environment and opportunities in arranging material acquisition in co-operation, enabling students to move ahead trough the activity of the zone of proximal development. As well group work teaches students to self-organization and creates less stress in comprehension of the context of a foreign language. Teachers also take an advantage as CLIL classroom frees them from perpetual classroom management and problems with students’ discipline. It is more student centered classroom as they are allowed to share ideas, to communicate, to challenge their skills and knowledge on foreign language. In comparison with large classes, working in groups enables students to collaborate and learn from each other. But teacher should be able to supply with an appropriate material and resources in order to learners have fruitful lesson. Learners in a group usually have different level of the third language, social backgrounds, experience. In this type of groups it is profitable to apply project works, one for each week or half a month and to dedicate sometime to discussing and doing it at the end of every lesson. Teacher should monitor collaboration in groups and work process by asking questions, revising their products and encouraging them to speak or write in English. This work will promote to increasing talking time, interacting for some reasons with each other, constructing premises for future interactions within the occupation needs.

As for the third point, use of authentic materials and interactions, there are issues like low level of students for whom teachers usually adapt CLIL material. To eliminate this it is necessary to prepare students by using pretask activities. As a rule authentic materials contribute to enrich student’s knowledge and their awareness about peculiarities of other cultures. In the picture 1, “The 4Cs Conceptual Framework” above culture is represented trough authentic material coverage. As an instructional activity it is suggested role-plays based on authentic materials. As an authentic material for CLIL it can be chosen digital video, audio and written material on any walk of life. Pre-task activities might be learning key vocabulary, key concepts. While watching, listening or reading they will be familiarized with more specific notions of the content in depth. Teacher should divide the material into meaningful parts to enable students to discuss and relate with their own experience. As a post activity students should be given related task which main aim is to resolve socio-drama. The situation should be related with working in a particular sphere as a manager, or trainer, or an engineer and find ways to solve the problem. In this regard higher school students are supposed to have some previous experience, but if there are teen age students, teacher should support them with extra material about the content. These activities based on content material assist students to see their prospective future job situations.

The fourth notion about the promotion of active learning considers socio constructivism as a root of CLIL lessonIn this perspective in the center of learning process is a student who should take the responsibility on his or her knowledge acquisition. However, knowledge should be comprehended as a dynamic and changing view of the world and the notion that it must be explored and modified further should encourage students’ cognitive interest. Consequently, CLIL, especially in the language classroom, needs more appropriate materials have been developed. Teachers need to create opportunities for potential learning by developing materials that engage students into meaningful exchanges that guide them towards culture, skills and knowledge assimilation. At NIS every teacher makes an effort in providing active learning in groups. It is better if the teachers let students to choose the wide range of topics related to one of science subjects emphasized in this school. For some time students research and develop the topic Students researched and developed the topic and as result to shoot a film, to give an interview, to submit a written report, better in an academic paper. this type of investigation within the context of a subject content usually involves deeper understanding of various relationships and develops and independent learner as well.

The use of scaffolding to make students autonomous is the next essential moment of CLIL approach because autonomous students have a capacity to examine the issue critically and to make an optimal solution followed by an appropriate action to implement it [7, 60-63 pp.]. Scaffolding refers to techniques that guide students’ acquisition of the language and cognitive skills required to carry out tasks, undertaking that the more one of the aspects is demanded, the less students can focus on the others. Mercer distinguished two versions of scaffolding. First is macro and second is micro [9]. Macro-scaffolding has the second name as built-in scaffolding. It is planned in advance and regulates the order of contents and tasks, and the creation of supporting supplementary materials to help students deal with communicative, content-related and cognitive problems, as well as considerations regarding when to withdraw support and challenge students. What about micro-scaffolding, or point-ofneed scaffolding, it requires teacher's attention to students' needs during the lesson, and it includes strategies such as repetition, paraphrasing, echo-questions, recasting of students' answers, and other skills that are necessary for learning. Through the planning and gradation of task challenge levels, CLIL enhances student autonomy and the social construction of knowledge among peers. Scaffolding applies to both linguistic and subject content, and to the cognitive aspects of CLIL.

Although in praxis there are still very little materials and tasks to implement scaffolding. In our lessons they were used various images, supporting the information graphs and tables. Tables and charts to complete categorizing can also be used to repeat and revise the most relevant content. Micro-scaffolding can be conducted both in groups and as a wholeclass. Again first should go activisation of students’ previous knowledge. Resources and activities like games, echo-questions, true/ false exercises, mimicking, can be used to go through the content

Language-wise, one way to scaffold students is to plan the activities from more receptive tasks to more productive ones, so that students get plenty of practice before the production of some discourse on their own. For macro-scaffolding students can be asked to give academic oral presentations and written reports. They also can be asked to create dialogues for socio-dramas and to debates on a particular topic. However, before demanding this, students should be taught at least the basis of Academic English. Students should also be taught to take an advantage from their own reflection, assess themselves against the provided instructor and criteria.

The last but not least is co-operation among students and teachers.

CLIL the analysis of references show that CLIL is understood as a bottom-to-top process of learning by many practitioners. It certainly includes social and collaborative interactions which are not completely new in comparison to the traditional classroom roles and interaction patterns. On the contrary CLIL enriches with different types of materials and activities to facilitate discovering society and construct new interactions. John Clegg in his article “Teacher collaboration in CLIL” identifies the role of CLIL teachers’ collaboration as the main factor to create a powerful learning system [4].

Particular attention here is paid to reasons why CLIL teachers’ need to collaborate. Main reason for subject teacher is that teaching a subject in a second language is not easy: it requires a specialist pedagogical expertise. Teachers have to think about things which they do not have to think about when working in their L1. They have to know how to talk in an especially comprehensible way, how to support learners when they listen to them, how to teach a lot of academic vocabulary, how to help learners talk back to them in the plenary classroom and talk in English in groups, how to read complex subject textbooks and write about new subject concepts in L3. Therefore, the most crucial form of collaboration is between subject teachers and language teachers. Where both learners and subject teachers are adequately fluent in English, it is possible that neither needs help from an English language teacher. This situation may occur in countries with high language environment levels. However, in Kazakhstan still English-medium education curriculum where levels of language ability amongst both teachers and learners are dangerously low.

Practice show that most of English language teachers are not active either in helping subject colleagues with their teaching or in orientating their English curriculum to the language demands of English-medium subject learning. For example, there is evidence that in the Malaysian EM maths and science programme, the English curriculum, English language textbooks and English language teacher-training were not re-orientated to the language demands of EM science and maths. To neglect the crucial positive influence of English teaching on English-medium subject teaching, where that influence could contribute to raising EM subject achievement, is to put the success of such a project at risk. In addition, the subject teacher may feel sufficiently unconfident in their English language ability so that the project can only run if an English language teacher in centrally involved. In this case, both teachers collaborate on a range of functions: co-planning of a scheme of work, co-planning of lessons, coconstruction of materials, co-assessment of performance and co-evaluation of the project as a whole. Sometimes both teachers co-teach in the same classroom, though expense normally precludes this. This kind of project is especially common in Italy; the extent and rich professional rewards of this form of collaboration are a hallmark of this kind of CLIL. Undoubtedly, the collaboration model between subject and language teachers will have been constructed trough trials and errors in NISs school too, however for English classes CLIL materials application can make a huge difference and bring to target of CLIL curricular.

To sum up from the previous passages it is run out that CLIL is a bridge that teachers can build between Content and Language Integrated learning. CLIL is the general expression that defines any teaching and learning of a non-language subject through the medium of a second or foreign language (L2 or L3). Theoretically it has some similarities with Task-Based Learning, Content Based Learning and with English for Specific Purpose approach for higher education institutions. Comparison and contrasting of these approaches with CLIL revealed its specific features which analysis demonstrates that CLIL approach can take central place in teaching language supplied with an appropriate material. However, CLIL integrated curriculums have developed little materials and this issue is relevant for further CLIL application. To develop and correctly apply CLIL materials teachers should take into consideration main CLIL methodology key principles. The revision of them showed that in practice, CLIL is based in socio constructivism, where there is plenty of communication, interaction and learner –centered approach. Therefore, materials developments should fit principles and in the class more time to devote for students and their communication. Many of activity samples accept students’ needs and should be built on the authentic material, employing real-life communicative tools for this purpose. Teacher's role is considered as specific in CLIL too. It is highlighted the importance of language and subject teachers collaboration to not to put under the risk the integrated curricular also. The implications in everyday teaching practice involve more classroom time for group work, for group projects with micro-scaffolding and macro-scaffolding. Scaffolding is one of the main aspects to take into account when teachers deal with teaching materials development. Applied through the planning and gradation of task challenge levels scaffolding facilitate CLIL to enhance student autonomy and the social construction of knowledge among peers. Scaffolding applies to both linguistic and subject content, and to the cognitive aspects of CLIL.



  1. Государственная программа развития образования в Республике Казахстан на 2011-2020 годы //
  2. Coyle D. Theory and planning for effective classrooms: Supporting students in content and language integrated learning contexts. In J. Masih (ed.) Learning through a Foreign Language. London: CILT, 1999.;
  3. Coyle, D. “Content and Language Integrated Learning: Towards a Connected Research agenda for CLIL Pedagogies”// International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 10, 2007. -#5-543-562pp.;
  4. Clegg J. Teacher collaboration in CLIL. Available at: http://www. onestopenglish. com/
  5. Hammond J.Gibbons P. “What is Scaffolding?” In Scaffolding: Teaching and Learning in Language and Literacy Education, edited by Hammond, J. Sydney: Primary, 200.-80-83pp.;
  6. English Teaching Association: Sydney, pp. 1-14.
  7. Little D.Learner Autonomy 1: Definitions, Issues, and Problems. Dublin: Authentik, 1991.-60-63pp.;
  8. Masuhara H.Haan M., Yi Y., B. Tomlinson. Adult EFL courses// ELT Journal 62. 2008.-# 3, -294–312pp.;
  9. Mercer N. Neo-Vygotskyan theory and classroom education. In Language, Literacy and Learning in Educational Practice Ed. Stierer B & Maybin J Clevedon: Multilingual Matters,1994.;
  10. Richards, J. Curriculum development in language education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.-251p.;
  11. Spratt M.,Pulverness A, Williams M.The TKT Course. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.-83-90pp.;
  12. Oxford, R. L. Sources of variation in language learning. In R. B. Kaplan (ed.), The Oxford handbook of applied linguistics (3rd edn). New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. -245–252 pp.
  13. Tomlinson, B. Materials development in language teaching (2nd edn). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. 143144pp.;
  14. Tomlinson B. Materials development for language learning and teaching. Cambridge University Press, 2012.; available at: file:///C:/Users/Pavilion
  15. Vygostky, L. (1978) Mind in Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Year: 2014
City: Almaty
Category: Philology