Number one for English language teachers

The CLIL Debate Survey Results

The results of the CLIL Debate survey carried out in March on onestopenglish and onestopclil offer interesting insights into what CLIL and EFL teachers around the world think about whether CLIL complements or compromises English Language Teaching.

Thank you to all of you who completed the CLIL Debate survey. Here we look at what conclusions we can we draw from the data. It's very difficult to make meaningful conclusions and tempting to make sweeping statements.

Having said that, it does look that in the target group of 129 colleagues surveyed there is wholehearted agreement for CLIL generally and that it's effect on ELT is much more positive than negative.

CLIL is the way forward for English Language Teaching: Almost 50% fully agreed with this statement, and 75% agreed as a whole.

CLIL is the way forward for English Language Teaching


Notice also that the weakest aspect of CLIL according to this survey is the management side of the approach. The group was split with a slight majority for those who think that CLIL is not a nightmare to manage. 

CLIL is a management nightmare: 55% disagreed (40% fully)

CLIL is a management nightmare


This may hide evidence and stories of problems of implementation in some contexts. Again, I invite colleagues to write in and tell us the challenges they have faced, this would be good material for the discussion forum, especially if we can collect success stories to help and advise teachers having problems in their schools.

One potential myth which needs testing and busting is that CLIL is the domain only of native speakers! Rejected by our survey group (bravo!).

Good CLIL can only be taught by native speakers: 79% agreed (53% fully)

Good CLIL can only be taught by native speakers


It's also worth pointing out that there was some hesitation in the group when asked what they thought about CLIL having to have content simplified. A majority rejected the statement, but a smaller majority than for other statements. It may be that some teachers have actually experienced this 'dumbing down' of content first hand.

Content learning is 'dumbed down' in CLIL


I am personally delighted that our target group rejected the statement that CLIL is elitist, with nearly 80% in agreement in this respect. 

CLIL is an elitist approach. Again, 79%  disagreed (55% fully) as a whole with this statement.

Content learning is dumbed down: 62% disagreed (47% fully)

CLIL is an elitist approach


My own feeling is that it's an approach which offers opportunity to all, rather than limits education to a minority. 

It is also telling that the vast majority of those surveyed rejected the statement suggesting that CLIL is only for bright students.

CLIL is only suitable for bright - or clever - students: 85% disagreed (56% fully)

CLIL is only for bright students


This may mean that the teachers themselves are working in contexts with CLIL approaches working with weaker learners. It would be interesting to find out more about the teaching contexts of these teachers, perhaps they will read this and send us in a 'perspective' from their classroom!?!

Let's keep up the discussion. There is a lot to be said, and this is the best place to get on your soap box and let the world know what you think via the discussion forum!

Keith Kelly


Read the particpants views on the following questions posed to them as part of the survey:

CLIL: Complementing or Compromising English Language Teaching?
What did the audience at the CLIL debate at IATEFL in Cardiff think? Here are the CLIL debate audience response results!

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