Huettner, Julia, Dalton-Puffer, Christiane and Smit, Ute
The power of beliefs: lay theories and their influence on the implementation of CLIL programmes
[in special issue: CLIL (edited by Yolanda Ruiz de Zarobe)]
International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 16, (3), . (doi:10.1080/13670050.2013.777385).
CLIL is one of the most dynamic pedagogic trends in language teaching in Europe and yet, the enthusiasm with which this innovation is implemented by stakeholders and “made a success” is not fully understood. In this paper we argue for an investigation of CLIL implementation as a form of extended language policy (Spolsky 2004), which relates language management, practice and beliefs, and so expands the notion of policy well beyond top-down legislation.
In this contribution, the suggested centrality of beliefs to CLIL policy analysis will be shown by a detailed investigation into the lay theories of teachers and learners involved in CLIL instruction in Austrian upper secondary colleges of technology, which traditionally attract students considered as relatively unsuccessful foreign language learners. The data consist of 48 in-depth interviews with teachers and students in this setting, covering a range of teacher specialisations and of student abilities. The discursive and content analysis of these interviews shows clear clusters of beliefs relating to language learning, the effects and benefits of CLIL and to the construction of success regarding CLIL. Findings suggest that the strength of beliefs and the relative absence of language management result in a construction of CLIL and of CLIL success that is partly at odds with those of experts or policy makers, but which is linked directly to local CLIL practices. Issues arising of these mismatches are discussed.
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