Co-construction of Knowledge in Primary CLIL Group Work Activities

  • Amanda Pastrana


The present study addresses the integrative aspect in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) by focusing on the integration of language and content in group work sessions in the CLIL primary classroom. In the pursuit of operationalising the connection that takes place between language, content and cognition, it puts forward a multi-layered analytical model. The data used in this research was collected by the researcher in 2015 in two grade 4 (age 9–10) primary classrooms in a private bilingual school in the northeast area of Madrid, Spain. Both classes performed two types of small group discussion activities: (a) a science topic discussion activity (STA) and (b) a problem-solving activity (PSA). The data was examined using the multi-layered analytical model designed in the present study that comprises a discourse, a knowledge and an interactional layer. The results show that, in the discourse and knowledge layers, CLIL students favour the use of facts and evaluations when producing initiating turns and try to reach a final agreement when ending them. In general, they seem concerned with the understanding. With regard to registers, they favour the instructional register (the register used to deal with academic content). Within group interaction, students’ participation in the discussion in CLIL groups was unequally distributed. Their interaction pattern described an expert/novice pattern instead of a collaborative one.


Classroom interaction co-construction of knowledge Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) primary level group work 


Este estudio se centra en el aspecto integrador de CLIL (o AICLE en español). El estudio investiga cómo la lengua y el contenido se integran en el trabajo en grupo de una clase de primaria. Este trabajo propone usar un modelo multi-analítico para facilitar el estudio de los aspectos cognitivos, lingüísticos y de contenido de una manera integrada. La investigación que se presenta aquí se basa en datos recolectados por la investigadora en dos clases de cuarto de primaria (estudiantes de 9-10 años) de un colegio bilingüe de la zona norte de Madrid. Los datos se recogieron en el año 2015. Ambas clases llevaron a cabo dos actividades en grupos pequeños: (a) una discusión sobre un tema de ciencias (abreviada STA, del inglés) y (b) una actividad de resolución de problemas (PSA, abreviatura también del inglés). El modelo multi-analítico sirvió para analizar los datos. Este modelo está formado por un análisis lingüístico, otro del contenido y un último análisis de la interacción. En el resultado del análisis se ve cómo, en los aspectos lingüísticos y de contenido, los estudiantes de CLIL tienden a usar hechos y evaluaciones para iniciar sus turnos. Además, suelen intentar llegar a un acuerdo al finalizar su turno. En resumen, los estudiantes CLIL parecen fundamentalmente preocupados por entender lo que se está diciendo. Tienden a usar el registro instructivo mayoritariamente, que es el registro que se usa para tratar con el contenido académico de la materia. En lo que respecta a sus interacciones, los grupos CLIL tienden a relacionarse de una manera poco equitativa. La mayoría siguen el modelo de interacción de un experto-novato en lugar de una relación de colaboración.

Palabras clave

Interacción de clase construcción conjunta del conocimiento Aprendizaje Integrado de Contenidos y Lenguas (AICLE) primaria trabajo en grupo 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amanda Pastrana
    • 1
  1. 1.ChanhassenUSA

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