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CLIL - bilingual teaching

In the school year of 2020/21 Ferdinand-von-Miller-Realschule is starting a new CLIL-project in the subjects Geography and Physics.

In an increasingly globalised world, intercultural competence will play a key role in our students‘ future. Being an established lingua franca in many contexts, English is becoming more and more important, be it in professional lives, at university or during an internship abroad.

What exactly is CLIL?

CLIL stands for Content and Language Integrated Learning. According to this teaching method, a foreign language serves the purpose of communication without being the subject matter. In German-speaking countries, it is widely known as "Bilingualer Sachfachunterricht", with English being the most frequently chosen medium of instruction.

CLIL at Ferdinand-von-Miller-Realschule

Some years ago, there was a CLIL-project with Music and Geography taught in English at our school. Unfortunately, this project had to end due to personnel changes.

In the school year of 2020/21, we will start new CLIL-project with two classes. A seventh grade will have Geography in English, and an eighth grade will be taught Physics in English. Both will have three instead of two lessons a week.

The tests and teaching materials will (mostly) be in English. The necessary vocabulary will always be introduced in advance.

What is special about CLIL is that the students‘ language competence is not assessed but only their competence regarding the subject matter. This enables them to experience English as a means of communication and allows them to take risks and experiment with language, thereby improving their communicative language skills.

Several empirical studies have shown that CLIL may not only improve linguistic skills but also competences regarding subject matter and more. A study that is particularly relevant for our context was conducted between 2011 and 2016, investigating bilingual branches (grades 7-9) at Bavarian Realschulen.

Prof. Dr. Böttger presented the following results:

  1. In comparison to students without bilingual teaching, there was a clear and sometimes significant increase regarding both receptive and productive language skills after one school year of bilingual instruction (seventh grade).
  2. In comparison to students without bilingual teaching, students receiving bilingual instruction tested better in all areas of important syllabus contents (eighth grade, subjects: geography, history).
  3. In comparison to graduates without bilingual teaching, the average English grade in the final exams was considerably better for students of bilingual branches (tenth grade). Find out more about the study here:

Future prospects

Our school is currently participating in an ERASMUS project. Our aim is to find a partner school in another European country where STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are taught in English. We would like to work together on projects - virtually or/and as part of a student exchange.

If you are interested or have any further questions, please contact me:

E-Mail: saak@realschule-ffb.de