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Summary on the Seminar

Combining Content and Language Teaching in Subject-Integrated Curriculum

The seminar Combining Content and Language Teaching in Subject-Integrated Curriculum (17.3 – 18.3.201) was the second event on English-taught instruction in higher education  organized  by  VAMK (Vaasa University of Applied Sciences).    The participants, numbering around 100, came  mainly  from different   Finnish universities of applied sciences but we also had guests   from the following   European  countries:   Austria, Holland, Hungary,  Lithuania, Northern  Cyprus and Sweden.    The interest shown in the event indicates a genuine demand for sharing know-how and research results concerning CLIL  in  tertiary level education.

The seminar consisted of two parts: Research Workshop (17.3) and Main Seminar (18.3).

Many of the research workshop presentations (17.3)  related  to surveys  on  learners participating in English-medium programs in higher education  in different parts of Europe. The workshop also provided a platform for sharing information and      fruitful networking.  Professor (emeritus) Sauli Takala (University of Jyväskylä) acted as the main facilitator.

The morning session  in the main seminar program  was  targeted to the language teachers  (Integrating Content to Language; the morning session) and  the afternoon session aimed at also addressing the interests of  the content teachers  (Intergrating  Language to Content).

Professor Anne Kankaanranta (Aalto University, Finland) highlighted the Business English Lingua Franca view: when communicating in business and engineering, real content is more important than the correct linguistic form. She based her arguments on a survey sponsored by the Finnish Acadamy.

Dr. Mikaela Björklund (Åbo Akademi University Vasa)  related  CLIL  to different educational levels and presented some interesting comparisons related to the nature of language politics and sociolinguistic aspects  of foreign/second language taught education.

Helena Parviainen (HAMK University of Applied Sciences) presented a concrete model on integrating a separate English language model to a Finnish-taught course in structural engineering.

Lotta Saarikoski and Eeva Rauto (VAMK University of Applied Sciences) showed in their presentation how English-medium instruction can serve as effective language ‘immersion’ in  tertiary education – if the language learning aspect is consciously taken into account.  They also presented a CLIL implementation model with  variations in the  ratio between content and language focus.
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Heini-Marja Järvinen’s (University of Turku)    presented strategies and cues from   CLIL –oriented teacher education which could also be applied in tertiary education.   It is obvious that more hands-on in-service training, is needed for content teachers to be able to utilize the potential that CLIL R & D work can offer..

The written feedback collected at the end of the seminar was very positive, and nearly all participants expressed a need for  more CLIL events. For more details see: Participants reflections & feedback on the seminar

To enable further networking between seminar participants, a discussion platform is provided at: http://heiclil.ning.com/