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CLIL and academic vocabulary: a preliminary study of secondary-school learners’ academic vocabulary size

6 pagesPublished: January 6, 2018

Abstract

Since their eruption in the European Educational Systems panorama, the use of CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) approaches has widely spread all throughout Europe, resulting in a revolution in foreign language teaching approaches (Coyle, Hood, Marsh, 2010; Mehisto, Marsh & Frigols, 2008; Pérez Cañado, 2012; Ruiz de Zarobe & Jiménez Catalán, 2009). This situation has set off a plethora of studies with two different foci: on the one hand, researchers have attempted to clarify the CLIL phenomenon, developing a theoretical framework (Coyle, 2006, 2007; Coyle, Hood & Marsh, 2010; Mehisto, Marsh & Frigols, 2008; Pérez-Cañado, 2012) On the other hand, other studies have attempted to identify its main advantages and drawbacks. This latter trend has reported clear benefits of using CLIL approaches in terms of vocabulary learning, L1 transfer (Agustín Llach, 2009) and fluency (Ruiz de Zarobe, 2008) among others. However, although CLIL approaches are developed in academic settings, most of the studies focusing on the area of vocabulary research have concentrated on learners’ general receptive vocabulary size in relation to the CLIL practice (Canga Alonso, 2012; Canga Alonso, 2013; Canga Alonso, 2015; Jiménez Catalán & Ruiz de Zarobe, 2009) and have neglected the analysis of the academic vocabulary.
This paper presents a preliminary study on the academic vocabulary and its interaction with the educational approach (CLIL vs English as a Foreign Language) of two groups of secondary-school learners. 100 students in their 3rd year of secondary education took part in this study. They were asked to respond the Academic Level version of the Vocabulary Levels Tests (Schmitt, Schmitt, and Clapham 2001) and the data obtained were compared looking into differences according to the kind of approach. Pearson’s correlation coefficient was used for pinpointing significant correlations. As expected, results show significant discordances as regards academic vocabulary size, revealing higher size of academic vocabulary for the CLIL learners.

Keyphrases: academic vocabulary, CLIL, secondary education

In: Alejandro Curado (editor). LSP in Multi-disciplinary contexts of Teaching and Research. Papers from the 16th International AELFE Conference, vol 3, pages 27--32

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BibTeX entry
@inproceedings{AELFE2017:CLIL_and_academic_vocabulary,
  author    = {Irene Castellano-Risco},
  title     = {CLIL and academic vocabulary: a preliminary study of secondary-school learners' academic vocabulary size},
  booktitle = {LSP in Multi-disciplinary contexts of Teaching and Research. Papers from the 16th International AELFE Conference},
  editor    = {Alejandro Curado},
  series    = {EPiC Series in Language and Linguistics},
  volume    = {3},
  pages     = {27--32},
  year      = {2018},
  publisher = {EasyChair},
  bibsource = {EasyChair, http://www.easychair.org},
  issn      = {2398-5283},
  url       = {https://easychair.org/publications/paper/8l53},
  doi       = {10.29007/bblh}}
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