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Technology-geeks speak out: what students think about vocational CLIL

Dalton-Puffer, Christiane, Huettner, Julia, Schindelegger, Veronika and Smit, Ute (2009) Technology-geeks speak out: what students think about vocational CLIL International CLIL Research Journal, 1, (2), pp. 17-26.

Record type: Article


In order to better prepare future engineers for the international nature of their occupation in a globalized industry, colleges of engineering, arts and crafts in Austria have been employing CLIL in engineering subjects. The present study seeks to unveil some of the effects this has had on the student body. Our findings are derived from a questionnaire answered by 1660 former engineering students (alumni) and in-depth interviews with 20 current students (aged 15-19) from five different engineering colleges offering CLIL.

The overall evaluation of CLIL by current participants is highly positive, with a somewhat toned-down but still positive evaluation coming from the alumni. In self-reports on speaking, reading, listening, writing skills the CLIL alumni rated their abilities significantly higher than colleagues who had not experienced CLIL during their school days. The most important aspect, however, is the significantly lower inhibition level when actually speaking the foreign language.

Furthermore, the students pointed out that a tighter and more transparent structure and organisation of CLIL provision would be preferable, as would a higher degree of consistency in terms of how much use of the L1 is acceptable in class. Concerning their teachers the students regard as positive the changed role-relationship brought about by the fact that the teachers, too, are in a situation of being imperfect communicators in the foreign language. At the same time, students stress that a certain threshold proficiency level is necessary for a teacher to operate effectively in the language of instruction. In sum, the evidence obtained in this study shows that the stereotype of the techno-geek who is averse to everything to do with languages has outlived itself.

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Published date: 2009
Keywords: vocational clil, student experiences, classroom learning, organisational structure, teacher qualification


Local EPrints ID: 143717
PURE UUID: e6c69015-2370-493e-9c46-23754fd4bc39

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Date deposited: 13 Apr 2010 08:40
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 23:09

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Author: Christiane Dalton-Puffer
Author: Julia Huettner
Author: Veronika Schindelegger
Author: Ute Smit

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