Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) is a dual-focused educational approach in which an additional language is used for the learning and teaching of both content and language. That is, in the teaching and learning process, there is a focus not only on content, and not only on language. Each is interwoven, even if the emphasis is greater on one or the other at a given time.
CLIL is not a new form of language education. It is not a new form of subject education. It is an innovative fusion of both. CLIL is closely related to and shares some elements of a range of educational practices. Some of these practices – such as bilingual education and immersion – have been in operation for decades in specific countries and contexts; others, such as content-based language teaching or English as an Additional Language (EAL), may share some basic theories and practice but are not synonymous with CLIL since there are some fundamental differences.
CLIL is content-driven, and this is where it both extends the experience of learning a language, and where it becomes different to existing language-teaching approaches. Throughout this book, we will clarify the evolving CLIL phenomenon by exploring core principles which permeate different applications. Whilst CLIL is flexible and can be adapted to different contexts, nonetheless, for the approach to be justifiable and sustainable, its theoretical basis must be rigorous and transparent in practice.
The term CLIL is inclusive in that it binds together the essence of good practice
found in the different environments where its principles have been adopted. It involves a
range of models which can be applied in a variety of ways with diverse types of learner. Good
CLIL practice is realized through methods which provide a more holistic educational experience
for the learner than may otherwise be commonly achievable.