During 2011/2012, qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 content teachers teaching through the medium of English at three Swedish upper secondary schools. For the present study, which draws on research on the teaching and learning of content, bilingual education and teacher cognition, the views, knowledge and beliefs of three colleagues at the same school – a teacher of Economics, a History teacher and a Biology teacher – are in focus.
Data were collected in a focus group interview. Data analysis was proceeded by means of interpretive analysis, and certain key areas were identified with regard to strategies for language use: content area (What?), year of study (When?), motivation (Why?), type of study group (Who?) and assessment (And?), which all seem to have impact on the quality and quantity of English-medium instruction of these subjects at the school.
The expressed practices of the Economics teacher include limited usage of English in the first year, as much of the content taught deals with Swedish-specific regulations and practices for setting up small businesses, whereas the History teacher mentions no difficulties regarding English in the classroom, as this subject is being taught during the two final years of upper secondary school, when the students are supposed to have surmounted initial difficulties. The Biology teacher, a university student of English, speaks of the benefit of using multimodal resources, such as visuals and ICT-based vocabulary learning materials.
In sum, the three CLIL teachers' identities and expressed practices seem to take a bearing on the following variables: characteristics, timing and assessment of content area, composition of study group, and availability of teaching and learning resources. The small-scale study cannot make claims beyond the present context, but can provide inspiration to similar studies at other schools.
Educational Linguistics, Subcject-Content-Didactics, Teacher Cognition, Focus group interview
Applied Linguistics Perspectives on Content and Language Integrated Learning, ALP-CLIL, 5-8 June, Universidad de Autónoma, Madrid, Spain