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Editorial

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) has been implemented in almost all the educational systems of Europe. Interest in this approach continues to spread rapidly. Even in countries such as Portugal which were not included in the 2006 Eurydice Report of the European Union we can see CLIL activities now taking root. In others, as for example in France and Germany, CLIL continues to develop as an important part of mainstream educational programmes. CLIL approaches can be found in primary, secondary and tertiary education, and there is now much interest being shown in other continents, especially Asia and South America.

It was to be expected that the rapid growth of CLIL, and the research potential inherent in this approach, would arouse the curiosity of researchers working in different fields of psychology, pedagogy, and language and content subject methodology. It could not be expected, however, that the number of research projects would grow so quickly, and that so many researchers from different continents would participate in this research.

The International CLIL Research Journal (ICRJ) has been set up through a European Union supported network project (CLIL Cascade Network – CCN) as an internet journal. It serves to act as a platform for researchers across the world which consolidates insights and research findings into one multi-volumed publication. It is anticipated that this will result in the development of an evidence-base which all stakeholders involved with CLIL can rely on when considering the demands of their respective situations.

This first issue of the journal contains an in-focus article, six regular articles and an in-depth article. Hugo Baetens Beardsmore generously agreed to provide our first in-focus article. This deals with a major question which is of topical interest to CLIL and the current political discussion on multilingualism; namely, whether there is a relationship between multilingualism, cognition and creativity.

Six papers follow which come from three different European countries, the Czech Republic, Italy and Spain. These cover important and significant aspects of the CLIL approach.

Marie Hofmannová, Jarmila Novotná, and Renata Pípalová deal with assessment procedures in a CLIL combination of English and Mathematics.

Esmeralda Alonso, Jesús Grisaleña, and Alejandro Campo show that content subject learning through an additional language has positive effects not only on the learning of a new language, but also on the first language competence of the students, who are, in their research, speakers of Basque.

Emma Dafouz Milne and Ana Llinares García examine teacher discourse and repetitive discourse behaviour in two different educational settings (secondary and tertiary), and show how repetitions have different pedagogical functions.

Yolanda Ruiz de Zarobe analyses the differences between CLIL and English-as-a-foreign language (EFL) instruction in the case of bilingual students learning English as a third language in the Basque Country.

Debora Infante, Guido Benvenuto and Emilio Lastrucci describe some experimental primary school CLIL classes in Italy. In their research which is ongoing, they sketch out their research design and their empirical approach.

Sandra Lucietto deals with the implementation of a CLIL model in a bilingual Italian school context and the impact this had on the attitudes of teachers, parents and students.

The paper in the in-depth section is by Peeter Mehisto. He deals with a highly important issue in the CLIL world, disjuncture. This he defines as a tension between one’s current way of doing things and a new approach. It is about how people need to change the status quo when implementing change. Focussing on the Estonian CLIL model he describes a range of strategies which he deems necessary to ensure a successful implementation of this approach. His recommendations are based on empirical data which were elicited in Estonia and on a thorough analysis of the literature available on the topic.

The editors of the first issue of the CRJ are confident that this journal will become an important platform in the scientific discussion on CLIL and will contribute to the rapidly developing ‘evidence-base’ now emerging in different countries across the world.

 

Jyväskylä/Wuppertal, October 2008

David Marsh & Dieter Wolff