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Utilizing the CLIL Approach in a Japanese Primary School: A Comparative Study of CLIL and Regular EFL Lessons

  • Yuki YamanoEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

In recent years, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) has become the subject of attention, especially in East Asian countries, due to the introduction of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) education in primary schools. However, limited empirical studies have been conducted regarding the feasibility and potentiality of content- and language-integrated instruction in these contexts (Butler, Nihon no shougakkou eigo wo kangaeru: ajia no shiten karano kensho to teigen [Thinking About Japanese Elementary School English: Inspection and Suggestion from Asian Perspective]. Tokyo: Sanseidou, 2005) with fewer studies related to Japanese primary schools (Yamano, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) in a Japanese Elementary School: A Comparative Study of a CLIL Program in Early EFL Education. Unpublished Master’s thesis, Sophia University, Tokyo, 2012; Utilizing the CLIL approach in a Japanese primary school: A comparative study of CLIL and EFL lessons. The Asian EFL Journal, 15(4), 70–92, 2013a; Exploring the use of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) in foreign language activities. JES Journal, 13, 20–35, 2013b; CLIL in a Japanese primary school: Exploring the potential of CLIL in a Japanese EFL context. International CLIL Research Journal, 2(1), 19–30, 2013c; Exploring the cognitive change of an elementary school teacher through CLIL practices. Bulletin of Utsunomiya University, Division of Educational Department, 65, 205–219, 2015). Therefore, this study explores the potential of CLIL application in a Japanese context from four important aspects, known as the 4Cs: Content (subject matter), Communication (language learned and used in the CLIL lesson), Cognition (cognitive skills), and Community/Culture (awareness toward learning community and pluricultural understanding) (Coyle, Content and language integrated learning: Towards a connected research agenda for CLIL pedagogies. The International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 10, 543–562, 2007; Coyle, Hood, & Marsh, CLIL: Content and Language Integrated Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010; Mehisto, Marsh, & Frigols, Uncovering CLIL: Content and Language Integrated Learning in Bilingual and Multilingual Education. Oxford: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). This chapter first defines the Japanese primary EFL education and discusses the rationale for applying a CLIL approach in a Japanese primary school context. Then, based on the 4Cs perspective, it investigates the differences between a CLIL class of 35 students and a non-CLIL class of 36 students in conventional EFL instruction and analyzes results from three different data sets: classroom observations, pupil questionnaires, and teachers’ interviews. Lastly, the present study indicates the potential of a CLIL approach in a Japanese primary EFL environment regarding the 4Cs perspective: enhancing diversity and experiential learning because of the authentic content, accelerating classroom interaction, deepening students’ cognitive learning, and activating students’ cooperative learning as well as comprehension of global issues.

Keywords

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Japanese primary English education Comparative study 4Cs perspective 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This paper originally comes from the author’s work, “Utilizing the CLIL Approach in a Japanese Primary School: A Comparative Study of CLIL and Regular EFL Lessons” (Yamano, 2013a). It is republished with permission by Asian EFL Journal. In addition, this study is based on the author’s master’s dissertation, “Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) in a Japanese elementary school: A comparative study of a CLIL program in early EFL education” (Yamano, 2012) submitted to the Graduate School of Language and Linguistics of Sophia University. I would like to express my most sincere gratitude to my MA’s supervisor, Professor Kensaku Yoshida and members of the MA thesis committee, Professor Yoshinori Watanabe, Professor Shinichi Izumi, and Professor Makoto Ikeda. I would also like to express my profound gratitude to the participants. Without their help, this paper could never have been written.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUtsunomiya UniversityUtsunomiyaJapan

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