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Content-Specific Learning in CLIL

The Case of Physics Teaching in Italy

Fabiana Rosi    Università di Trento    



The research investigates the effects of two learning contexts, content and language integrated learning (CLIL) and traditional learning (non-CLIL), upon content-specific outcomes, an aspect less explored than language-specific achievements in CLIL. Specifically, the study provides an interdisciplinary analysis of English CLIL applied to Physics in Italian high school. Two different levels of student competence are examined: selecting answers for content-specific issues, and content-related argumentative skills, in order to measure how learners comprehend and discuss content. The comparison between CLIL and non-CLIL classes in pretest, posttest and delayed posttest accounts for content assimilation and retention. Findings show that CLIL students significantly outperform non-CLIL students in both levels of competence in posttest and even more so in delayed posttest, a difference which emerges in terms of mean and coefficient of variation. Furthermore, feedback questionnaires display enhanced motivation, a well recognised influential benefit of CLIL in language-specific learning. Such results have pedagogical implications and may contribute to a better understanding of the correlation between language, content and motivation in CLIL.

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