CLIL in a Basque-medium school in the Basque Autonomous Community (Spain)

Author(s): Yolanda Ruiz de Zarobe
Institution/Organisation: University of the Basque Country (ES)


1.1 Scope of the initiative

  • Content and Language Integrated Learning in the Basque Country. Comparison of traditional English as a Foreign Language (EFL) programme and CLIL programme.
  • Target group: Secondary students (14-15 years) and pre-university (Baccalaureate) students (17-18 years).

 1.2 Range of languages studied

  • Covered languages: Bilingual students (Spanish and Basque) learning English in a content-based approach.
  • Basque is used as the main language for instruction. Spanish is the majority language in the community and all the students exhibit native levels in Spanish. Thus, all the students are fully bilingual in Basque and Spanish and learn English as their third language.
  • Two centres in the Basque Country:

o Model D programme: all subjects, except Spanish language and Literature and the modern language (English) are taught through Basque. Apart from that, 2 non-language subjects are taught through English: Social Sciences and Technology.

o Traditional EFL programme: all subjects, except Spanish language and Literature and the modern language (English) are taught through Basque. English is taught as a foreign language for 3 hours per week.

  • Programme implemented at the level of compulsory secondary education.

1.3 Learning outcomes

  • Linguistic competence attained by students following the CLIL approach is higher than the students in the traditional English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Programme. Students on the CLIL programme outperform students on the non-CLIL programme (traditional EFL programme) in speech and written production.
  • Positive relationship between the amount of content-based instruction and the production outcomes. The more content-based instruction there is, the better the results.
  • Students involved in the CLIL programme show a more positive attitude towards English and also towards Basque, the minority language.

 1.4 Practical realisation

  • All the students started to learn English at school when they were 8 years old.
  • There were two different groups in Secondary Education and Baccalaureate, each one with a difference in hours of exposure in/through English, depending on the programme: EFL or CLIL.
  • Students were tested on their oral and written abilities. Factors such as pronunciation, vocabulary usage, grammar knowledge, fluency and content were taken into consideration.
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