The impact of content and language integrated learning (CLIL) on critical thinking
Content Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) is a dual-focused pedagogical approach which enables educators to teach a foreign language alongside another academic subject by providing the learner with authentic, subject-specific materials in the target language to develop critical thinking (CT). However, there is a gap in the literature regarding the effects of CLIL on CT, especially in modern languages other than English. This study sets out to examine the eventual impact of CLIL on learners’ CT skills in a beginners’ S5 Italian-Business class. This action research was conducted over a 7 week period and used a mixed-methods approach, collecting quantitative and qualitative data through the use of questionnaires, focus group discussions and a reflective journal to monitor the learners’ CT development. These data collection modes, based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, are designed to measure participants’ CT with a focus on the lower order thinking skills Remembering and Understanding as well as the higher order thinking skills Analysis and Evaluation. Participants’ CT skills were analysed pre- and post-CLIL intervention in order to determine the impact of this teaching method. The research results suggest that CLIL increases learners’ lower and higher order CT skills and that the pedagogy warrants further investigation.
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