CLIL Approaches

Introducing ambitious content into language lessons – through a CLIL approach?

Integrating content and language to enhance learning (originally called CLIL = Content and Language Integrated Learning) has now developed into a variety of pathways for second language learners in different contexts and countries, including in Anglophone countries.


In a nutshell:

The rationale is to engage learners through lessons where they find the content age-appropriate, relevant and interactive.

Teachers plan (sometimes in collaboration) to deliver the learning outcomes of a different curriculum area, e.g.  Science, Creative Art, etc.) through the Language pupils are learning.


The principle is one of double impact - learners progress in both their language learning and their subject learning, and are motivated by the challenge. The strategies language teachers use to revisit new vocabulary and structures support the exploration of the subject content, and the importance of the subject terminology reinforces the memorability of new language.

Welcome to the new pages of the Association for Language Learning which explore teachers work with different aspects of CLIL.

ALL offers information and support to members and others on a range of relevant themes. Our members work in a wide variety of contexts, with a variety of languages and a variety of philosophies, and it is not our role to recommend individual approaches. We simply provide information.

CLIL is now a major development in teaching in certain countries and it is for this reason that ALL dedicates this area to the theme.  The content here is chosen to be relevant to newcomers to CLIL, to those whose CLIL approach may be limited to a single lesson or sequence of lessons, up to those who operate a full CLIL scheme of work The issues involved in planning for CLIL are relevant to all language teacher interested in the area of Target Language use, supporting understanding, and integrating age-appropriate and engaging content.

In the UK the Ofsted focus on challenging content creates a focus for interest on curriculum development, which may encourage schools to adopt such an approach in some measure.

This page opened in 2020 to mark the launch of the Erasmus+ project ELAPSE in which ALL has been a partner, and also to mark the pioneering contributions to the CLIL world of former ALL President Kathy Wicksteed who promoted the ideas before, during and after her Presidency through online support via CLIL4teachers and FLAME   (Future of Languages as a Medium for Education).


                                    Kathy Wicksteed, former ALL President   

ALL supporting teachers using CLIL approaches ALL Logo

Goethe Institut
Spanish resources Consejeria
French resources institutfrancais

Starting points

To get an introduction to the rationale, principles and varied practice of teachers who take a CLIL approach (whether it is for a lesson, a sequence of lessons or a full course) the ELAPSE website is a great starting point.

It features

  • an Introduction where teachers from several backgrounds explain in videoclips why and how the take the approach they have chosen
  • resourced ready-to-use lesson plans for a variety of content areas and age groups (between the ages of 8 and 14)
  • analysis of these lesson plans by the teachers who create them with advice on how to make your own
  • advice from experienced practitioners and researchers 

Current projects

ELAPSE was launched at Language World 2020 in Manchester and the project website and resources roll out in time for the new school year 2020. ELAPSE has a focus on the years of transition and includes in its free resources

  • an online course to introduce you to the rationale, principles and practice of different forms of CLIL around Europe
  • a set of fully-resourced lesson plans for teachers working with learners aged 8-14 (some of them created by ALL members)
  • learning pathways to help you interrogate the lesson plans and learn how to make your own
  • and a best practice guide from experienced practitioners and experts.

The resource are all interactive and illustrated richly with video examples.

ALL’s brilliant partners in ELAPSE are in Austria (Vienna), France (Montpellier), Spain (Galicia and Castilla y Leon) and Scotland (where the project lead partner is LfEE).


You can meet some of them and read their comments on the resources in these Glimpses into the Future below.

An ELAPSE webinar, delivered by two of the partners was hosted by ALL London in March and can be viewed here

and an article appeared in Languages Today May 2020 (as well as in previous editions.)


Other news can be found on the provisional ELAPSE website here

An introductory presentation to the project and its resources (delivered at Language World) can be found here.

Guest blogs

Laura Pons Seguí, a researcher into CLIL at Universidad de Barcelona suggests these starting points if considering some sort of CLIL approach:

 Think big, but start small

 Think about the resources you have to hand, and what is achievable with those

 Start from the positive: your own confidence with the content, and think who else you might involve

 Check with your school leaders how your idea fits with the school ethos of learning

 Define your timeline



ALL has set up a Steering Group for CLIL whose role is;

To oversee related services to ALL members (and the wider community).

To steer ALL’s work in informing members and others about CLIL, especially current / recent initiatives in the UK etc.

To collate information, links etc. for publication and sharing through ALL’s networks

To respond to approaches about CLIL matters

To advise on and contribute to related ALL publications and projects

To advise on, and contribute to, the Kathy Wicksteed memorial online publication


The SIG is in the process of creating an online discussion group for teachers interested in this area, and details will follow here and in ALLNet.


ALL has two CLIL resources in the Shop:

FLAME – French Primary CLIL Learning Module 1 (of 2)

This module of downloadable resources tells the engaging story of the meeting of Henry VIII and François 1er of France, complementing pupils’ learning about the Tudors.

To view or purchase the product, click here.

FLAME – French Primary CLIL Learning Module 2 (of 2)

This module of downloadable resources opens the door to the exciting world of volcanoes and tells the story of the eruption of la Montagne Pelée in Martinique.

To view or purchase this product, click here.

Forthcoming Events

ELAPSE - ALL / LfEE residential courses 2020-21

To complement our work, the ELAPSE team proposes to offer a training programme in France, Germany and Spain. This one week course is available to Primary and Secondary teachers and  aims to:

  • Explore strategies for extending learners’ language skills through Interdisciplinary activities
  • Develop new skills for language teaching and transferability across subject area
  • Explore the CLIL approach and see how to plan a CLIL lesson
  • Join in practical CLIL workshops
  • Develop and consolidate participants’ knowledge of French / Spanish
  • Increase participants’ cultural awareness of France/Spain
  • Explore efficient and innovative use of ICT tools
  • See CLIL in action during a possible school visit (depending on time of year and availability of our partners).

Twenty-nine schools, both Primary and Secondary, from England, Northern Ireland and Wales are partners with ALL in this project. We have been successful in applying for funding for this through ERASMUS+ and the course (including travel and subsistence) will be free to participating ALL members.


Due to the COVID 19 situation, the courses in Montpellier and Malaga, planned for October 2020 and April 2021 respectively, have been moved to July 24th - 31st 2021.


An introductory meeting for ALL Members involved in these ALL / LfEE / ELAPSE courses will be held in January 2021. See Events

Sheffield Hallam CLIL conference 2021

This conference seeks to move the development of curriculum integrated language learning in Anglophone-dominant and similar contexts forward by bringing together expert researchers and practitioners to share and discuss good practice, practical ideas for the classroom and effective ways of working, in order to increase the motivation, confidence and progress of our learners.



ALL and ELAPSE partners are hosting a webinar to present the ELAPSE resources (to be launched at SALT Conference in early November)  November 12th at 20h00 - details of registration in ALLNet and Events)

CLIL Mondays

CLIL Mondays 2020-21


Learning through Languages UK and the Centre for Language Research at Aston University announce the launch of « CLIL Mondays », the second Monday of each month from 4.30 to 5.30 p.m.


This series of online talks is aimed at teachers at primary, secondary and tertiary levels who have an interest in Content and Language Integrated Learning. CLIL Mondays combine short 30-min talks on aspects of CLIL with Q&A time.

From Spring 2021, one session per term will be open to practitioners for sharing of good practice;  you are warmly invited to come and present your CLIL work…



Monday 9th November (4.30-5.30)

Dr. Concha Julián (Research on Affective Learning Language Lab. University of Huelva):

Tips to elaborate a simple CLIL lesson plan: what to add and what to avoid



Monday 14th December (4.30-5.30)

Dr Elisabeth Wielander (Aston University)

Integrating Content and Language at University: findings from Europe


Monday 11th January (4.30-5.30)

Dr Peeter Mehisto (institute of Education, University College London)

How socio-emotional skills can empower students and improve learning


 Monday 8th February (4.30-5.30)

Dr Sarah Lister, Manchester Metropolitan University

Gamifying CLIL in a mathematical context


Monday 8th March (4.30-5.30)

Bring and Share: Best Practice Event


Curriculum Integrated Language Teaching - CLIL in practice

Curriculum Integrated Language Teaching - CLIL in practice

Reviewed by Jesús M. Hernández González

Jesús is currently working for his PhD on a CLIL-related theme.

This is a practical and engaging manual that addresses the topic in three main parts: the educational context for CLIL (Curriculum Integrated Language Teaching), current aspects of practice in CLIL and new knowledge and future directions. Drawing on theory and examples of real-life practice, this volume points out the potential of this approach along with the benefits of applying it in a dynamic and ever-changing multicultural society. It conceptualises both  “What is CLIL?” through the use of the 4Cs Framework (content, communication, cognition and culture) and the language triptych (language of, for and through learning) and “How to teach CLIL” through seven pedagogical principles. Contributors’ studies and practical descriptions are guided by these fundamental terms, coined by Do Coyle, throughout the book.


From the start the book provides a panorama of CLIL practice in primary and secondary schools especially in Anglophone contexts. The authors give valuable insights into the potential of CLIL in schools and how this pedagogy is especially relevant in the current situation of languages in the United Kingdom. A range of pathways is provided, addressing accountability issues, intercultural understanding, deeper learning and social inclusion. The contributors and editors - international CLIL experts and researchers - explore different facets of CLIL teaching and the adaptability of the approach, which makes it ideal for different contexts, and provides support in facing the challenges of language learning in schools.


The first part of the book deals with the educational context of CLIL, introduces the basics and presents particular reasons why this approach contributes satisfactorily to language learning /  acquisition in countries where English is the first language. This contrasts the picture  of demotivation in language learning in the UK described by Kim Bower with a view of challenging pupils to learn languages across the curriculum, and to construct knowledge and meaning-making in the process, through the CLIL approach. Coyle reflects on these two aspects while detailing the model of pluriliteracies for deeper learning. The authors state “CLIL is about learning to think in another language” and is therefore an appealing experience  as the language “development occurs in the context of learning meaningful curricular content”. To complement this overview, Philip Hood establishes a rationale for CLIL in Primary schools regarding the particularity of learning languages in KS2 in UK schools. 


The second part of the book deals with current aspects of practice in CLIL and presents real examples of CLIL implementation.  Authors look at how CLIL contributes significantly to student learning, as well as an effective tool for motivating students and for broadening language teaching perspectives.  A variety of interesting topics is tackled, such as the importance of transition from Primary to Secondary, the role of senior leaders in CLIL success in schools, the implementation of different CLIL models according to the teachers’ background and the plurilingualism contexts where this programme takes place.


In the final section “New Knowledge and Future Directions”. there is a study conducted by San Isidro and Lasagabaster in a trilingual context, where they deal with a wide range of topics  ranging from curriculum development to lesson planning. Meier highlights with practical examples, how translanguaging is a key feature in supporting peer collaboration, equity, inclusion and social cohesion within content-based learning contexts. Finally, Coyle concludes this part of the book by exploring the potential of the Pluriliteracies approach for deeper learning, describing an ecological growth model which helps learning to be conceptualised and prepares learners to be “pluriliterate global citizens”.


Curriculum Integrated Language Teaching is an extraordinary book for scholars, educators, stakeholders, policy-makers, researchers and teachers. It is a magnificent guide and a valuable resource which supports and gives practitioners flexible and adaptable tools for developing this approach with hands-on examples. It should become a reference manual for the teaching of content and language integrated learning approaches in English-dominant settings.


This is a long-awaited, timely and inspirational book looking at CLIL for Anglophone educational settings and exploring the three main themes of sustainability, pedagogy and social justice. It is a magnificent piece of work presenting a complete overview of how CLIL pedagogy has proved a successful approach for the teaching of languages, especially in English-spoken countries.

Read it, enjoy it and make the most of it!

Curriculum Integrated Language Teaching - CLIL in practice

Gary N. Chambers (Author), Kim Bower (Editor), Do Coyle (Editor), Russel Cross (Editor)

Cambridge University Press, 2020, 264 pp, £85


Recent Events / Conferences

CLIL Summer School 2020

CLIL Summer School,  Aston University, Birmingham next July (13th-17th July 2020)

CLIL around the country, CLIL around the world

This section provides signposts to agencies and bodies working in aspects of CLIL along with a brief outline of their role, to guide you through this busy field of work. 

Learning through Languages UK

Learning through Languages UK will connect the existing community of practitioners and informal networks at both school and university level, drawing on their expertise to achieve maximum impact. Our ultimate aim is to develop a golden thread of language learning from primary school through to university.

Learning through Languages UK (a consortium of universities, cultural societies and language lobbyists) aims to increase the uptake in languages and raise achievement levels across all subjects in schools through bilingual education. We draw on shared expertise across educational sectors and public stakeholders in order to coordinate, resource, train, research and disseminate, the implementation of learning subjects such as geography or history through the medium of a foreign language (an approach sometimes known as Content and Language Integrated Learning or CLIL)

Across the UK there are pockets of activity in learning through languages, but these remain fragmented and dependent on individuals, often lacking sustainability.

Learning through Languages UK will connect the existing community of practitioners and informal networks at both school and university level, drawing on their expertise to achieve maximum impact. Our ultimate aim is to develop a golden thread of language learning from primary school through to university.

CLIL in the Canary Islands

CLIL in the Canary Islands was originally termed "Bilingual Sections" with the piloting of 6 schools in 2004 and has always been a top-down approach. Over the last 15 years, the Regional Education Authority has led the CLIL programme, articulating a series of organisational and management measures which have helped to promote CLIL in the islands, resulting in many schools starting to join the "bilingual sections" with commitment from the Governors and the teaching staff. This top-down approach implied a commitment not only from the education institution, but also from the schools and teachers.

CLIL has been seen in its first stages in the Canary Islands, as an opportunity to improve the Language learning experience (English) of all CLIL pupils, with the increase of at least, one session taught through English. This was an important issue for most regions in Spain as the implementation of CLIL meant increasing the number of hours taught in English without decreasing the hours of other curricular subjects.

The two types of schools which are developing CLIL pedagogy in the Canary Islands are: “CLIL schools” and “PILE school”. The main difference between them is that in “PILE school” content subjects are taught entirely through a foreign language, which means that 40% of the curriculum is taught in a foreign language, while in “CLIL schools” the content subject is partially taught through the foreign language; the percentage of the total curriculum is lower than 30%. Currently there are approximately 390 CLIL schools and 25 PILE schools in the islands.

The CLIL approaches are flexible and quite adaptable for each school context. There are though  two main models for Primary schools; they are not exclusive and can co-exist in the same school.

The first and most popular CLIL model, which is developed in most primary schools, is an interdisciplinary CLIL model. Here the modern foreign language subject (English/French or German) is integrated with subject content, except in Music and Physical Education. This means that the CLIL teacher has just one CLIL lesson plan (and not, for instance, one lesson for English and another one for Science in e.g. English) - a holistic lesson plan. Therefore, CLIL teachers develop the assessment criteria, contents, objectives, for both disciplines (English and Science) 

The importance of this model is that CLIL is designed, planned and implemented as a single learning situation;  the main facet of this model is that learners acquire the knowledge, the skills and the processes of these subjects in a holistic way. Model 1 works in both "PILE schools" and "CLIL schools" indiscriminately .

The second model is also popular and has been extended with the creation of the PILE schools. This model aims at the integration of the content and language inside the subject itself. This model is used mainly with Music and PE and with Science or Art and Design, especially in PILE schools, where the subjects are taught entirely through English. The reason why this model began to develop in many schools was because music and physical education teachers were not adequately qualified to teach a foreign language and therefore they could not assess it. So, for instance in PE, although this content subject is taught through English, the PE teacher cannot develop the content or assessment criteria of the  English language, but only of the PE subject matter. 

The choice of model depends on the context and the characteristics of each individual school.


Translanguaging  involves pupils using multiple languages in the classroom without the teacher needing any specialised linguistic knowledge, and is sometimes involved in CLIL classrooms.

Several articles in this newsletter from Erasmus+  funded School Education Gateway bulletin put the spotlights on this topic and provide practice examples of remarkable projects. 


Current and Recent Initiatives

Playing CLIL

Playing CLIL was an EU project where drama and CLIL came together; the project wa completed in 2015 and produced a Toolkit for teachers

Playing Beyond CLIL

Playing Beyond CLIL is a current EU project. They are focusing on deeper leaning through CLIL using drama and the pluriliteracies approach.


What is CRADLE?   

The CRADLE project team has been working with teachers in primary schools (who are not language specialists) to devise a scheme based on Entrepreneurship.

The project places students´ interest, curiosity and sense of initiative at the centre of the learning process. It focuses on the intentional development of entrepreneurial skills, which at a basic level are life skills and encourage feelings of self-efficacy:

  • problem-solving
  • personal responsibility
  • social responsibility
  • curiosity
  • communication and cooperation

Learners work and learn in an activity-based learning process inspired by ‘Design Thinking’ with problem-solving and designing solutions in mind.

Learners’ actions and ideas are based on their own creativity and initiative, while the CRADLE process allows teachers to check on their progression, and ensure that the project ends up with a meaningful product or activity.


School example: Neue Schule Athens ran a project on Bees with Grade 3 pupils (8-9 year-olds) in German. Entrepreneurial curricular outcomes:

develop ethical and sustainable thinking concerning the impact of humans on ecosystems with a focus on bees

spot needs and the opportunities to help

develop creative and purposeful ideas and judged them in terms of value and financial feasibility to find the best way to reach the goal of helping bees

work together and implement a plan by mobilizing resources, students, parents and teachers of the school The experience they will gain through that process will make them believe in themselves and will assure them that they can make a difference within their community.

Language outcomes:

learn words and phrases related to bees, to be able to describe their appearance and their behaviour

locate and extract information from a simple text

formulate a title for a presentation

present simple chunks of knowledge in the foreign language by using the new vocabulary taught.

CRADLE has created a blended Training Course, Handbook and Toolbox for ‘generalist’ primary school teachers, structured teaching materials in the form of project plans and modules, practical implementation recommendations for school leaders based on lessons learned from the experience of the pilots.

The teacher Training Course is here:

Primary Case Studies

Secondary Case Studies

PE and German in a UK Secondary School

ALL member Dr. Kerstin Zindler is a German teacher at Minster School in Southwell, Nottinghamshire with a longstanding interest in Physical Education, and conducting research into CLIL during her doctorate in education. She recognises that practical activities lend themselves especially well to being presented in the target language because they can be (and need to be) modelled by the teacher, making both the language and the PE content transparent.

Kerstin has contributed lesson plan resources and commentary for the ELAPSE website on the theme of fitness training and offers some insights here.

My philosophy as a languages teacher is to get students to use the language as much as possible, and the way I understand CLIL is that the content has to come first, otherwise it would just be a language lesson in disguise. So I start with my learning aim from a PE perspective and then think about what language students would need to access the content.

For this theme I looked for authentic (not watered down) resources from the actual subject from the target language country and then simplified the language where necessary. I also used standard PE resources for the cool down part of the session (see below). To make the language accessible for students, I pinned key vocabulary on the wall in big letters for use as an optional support throughout the lesson.

It is important that I provide students with plenty of opportunities to use the language actively themselves. Particularly in PE it is tempting to go down the route of teacher-centred lessons - leading the different activities in the target language while demonstrating the drills at the same time. Students will easily access the lesson because of the context and deal with a lot of language receptively, but I think this is missing a trick. To get students to speak the language themselves I have to re-think slightly from the PE point of view and provide structured activities where students use, or adapt and use, the new language.

In planning a CLIL lesson we consider the 4 Cs.
Content: This lesson was within a unit of healthy living and I wanted them to understand the different elements of fitness training.

Communication: This included key vocab for body parts, directions and aerobics steps, and, from a grammatical point of view, use of the imperative.

Cognition: Students had to work out aerobics choreography, and then lead a choreography themselves.

Culture: I used German music for the aerobics activity.

The fitness lesson follows a classic format with warm-up, cardio activities, muscle toning and then a cool-down. Throughout, students work in groups or pairs on numerous occasions, giving me the opportunity to circle the room and listen in to assess informally how they are understanding the content and the language. The cool-down acts as a plenary as well, as students need to put into practice the imperative and key language they have learnt throughout the lesson as they lead through their cool-down stretches.

Resources, Hands-on Activities

Guest Resource: First World War in French

The attached pdfs are resources for a lesson on the letters of Alexandre Jacqueau, a French soldier in WW1, designed for able classes in upper Secondary school or the Sixth Form.

Alexandre Jacqueau lesson Alexandre Jacqueau - lettres

Alexandre Jacqueau - lettres

Alexandre Jacqueau - Graph

Alexandre Jacqueau - Graph 2

Double Club


Arsenal Double Club Languages is an innovative award-winning educational programme combining football and language learning. Aiming to inspire and motivate pupils at primary and secondary level, the programme uses Arsenal and football to show pupils that language learning can be achievable, rewarding and, above all, fun!

Resource Recommendation

ALL members recommend in this area resources they have enjoyed using in lessons using CLIL approaches.

CFPI (Valladolid) video resources

CFPI is an ELAPSE partner. They host a YouTube channel with relevant resources for teachers:

Primary CLIL Resources

Click here to view a selection of multi-media resources to support primary language teaching, originally created by CILT, the National Centre for Languages and edited by ALL.

References to Publications, Online Courses, etc

Pin It on Pinterest