An Evaluation of the Approaches to Text Modification Used by Lower Secondary CLIL Teachers in Finland




Content and Language Integrated Learning, CLIL, CLIL in Finland, materials, materials adaptation, text modification, CLIL teaching materials


This study sets two main objectives to address this research gap in CLIL materials design: to identify and to evaluate teachers’ approaches to text modification. The study focuses on four secondary teachers who teach non-language subjects to grades 7–9 in Finland, in English. The qualitative data consist of interviews and teaching materials designed by the participants. A review of over 60 studies is conducted in order to provide a framework for the evaluation of input modification strategies. The studies indicate that elaboration devices seem to enhance L2 comprehension and vocabulary development. The same cannot be as confidently stated about the effect of simplification. This study identifies all three main approaches to text modification in the participants’ teaching materials. Regardless of their previous teaching experience, most teachers use elaboration strategies when adjusting the linguistic and cognitive level of texts. More experienced teachers seem to avoid using simplification strategies, whilst less experienced teachers adopt a wide range of strategies. All participants use some types of rediscursification strategy. This study can provide the professionals in the field of CLIL education with an insight into the reality of how CLIL practitioners modify materials. The results may also contribute to CLIL teacher education and
in-service training by informing teachers of the commonly used input modification strategies
and raising awareness of the effectiveness of these techniques.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Yu Zi, University of Helsinki

Yu Zi works part-time as a pedagogical specialist at a startup education company. She is also reading a second master’s degree in the faculty of Educational Sciences at the University of Helsinki. Her research interests include Bilingual education, CLIL, multilingualism, language acquisition and language learning gamification.


Abbasian, G. R., & Mohammadi, H. S. H. (2016). The effect of lexical modification on developing vocabulary knowledge in relation to language proficiency level. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 6(10), 1964–1970.

Abedi, J., Lord, C., & Plummer, J. R. (1997). Final report of language background as a variable in NAEP mathematics performance. National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing.

Aguirre-Morales, J., & Ramos-Holguín, B. (2014). Materials development in the Colombian context: Some considerations about its benefits and challenges. How, 21(2), 134–150.

Ali, M. A. (2017). Impact of language input on comprehensiveness of reading material among students in Saudi Arabia. International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research, 16(9), 88–97.

Apsel, C. (2012). Coping with CLIL: Dropouts from CLIL streams in Germany. International CLIL Research Journal, 1(4), 47–56.

Bentley, K. (2010). The TKT course CLIL module. Cambridge University Press.

Bhatia, V. K. (1983). Simplification v. easification—The case of legal texts1. Applied linguistics, 4(1), 42–54.

Blau, E. K. (1982). The effect of syntax on readability for ESL students in Puerto Rico. TESOL quarterly, 16(4), 517–528.

Borzova, E. V. (2007, May). Teachers as change agents: Critical thinking tasks in a foreign language classroom and reflections on printed materials. In S. Tella (Ed.). From brawn to brain: Strong signals in foreign language education. Proceedings of the VikiPeda-2007 Conference in Helsinki (pp. 29–54). Helsinki: University of Helsinki 2008.

Bovellan, E. (2014). Teachers’ beliefs about learning and language as reflected in their views of teaching materials for Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Jyväskylä. Jyväskylä studies in humanities, 231.

Brown, R. (1987). A comparison of the comprehensibility of modified and unmodified reading materials for ESL. University of Hawai’i Working Papers in English as a Second Language, 6(1), 49–79.

Bull, P. H. (2013). Cognitive constructivist theory of multimedia: Designing teacher-made interactive digital. Creative Education, 4(09), 614–619.

Cervantes, R. (1983). Say it again Sam: The effect of exact repetition on listening comprehension (Unpublished manuscript). University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu.

Chall, J. S. (1958). Readability: An appraisal of research and application. Bureau of Educational Research, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.

Chaudron, C. (1983). Simplification of input: Topic reinstatements and their effects on L2 learners’ recognition and recall. TESOL Quarterly, 17(3), 437–458.

Chung, H. (1995). Effects of elaboration modification on second language reading comprehension and incidental vocabulary learning. Working Papers (1982-2000). University of Hawaii at Manoa. Department of English as a Second Language.

Crossley, S. A., Louwerse, M. M., McCarthy, P. M., & McNamara, D. S. (2007). A linguistic analysis of simplified and authentic texts. The Modern Language Journal, 91(1), 15–30.

Crossley, S. A., Yang, H. S., & McNamara, D. S. (2014). What’s so simple about simplified texts? A computational and psycholinguistic investigation of text comprehension and text processing. Reading in a Foreign Language, 26(1), 92–113.

Dalton-Puffer, C. (2011). Content-and-language integrated learning: From practice to principles?. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 31, 182–204.

Davies, A. (2007). Introduction to applied linguistics: From practice to theory. ­Edinburgh University Press.

De Graaff, R., Koopman, G. J., & Westhoff, G. (2007). Identifying effective L2 pedagogy in content and language integrated learning (CLIL). Vienna English Working Papers, 16(3), 12–19.

Ellis, R. (1993). Naturally simplified input, comprehension, and second language acquisition.

Floyd, P., & Carrell, P. L. (1987). Effects on ESL reading of teaching cultural content schemata. Language learning, 37(1), 89–108.

Fujimoto, D., Lubin, J., Sasaki, Y., & Long, M. (1986). The effect of linguistic and conversational adjustments on the comprehensibility of spoken second language discourse (Unpublished manuscript). University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Gass, S. M. (2003). Input and interaction. The handbook of second language acquisition, 2, 224–256.

Gass, S. M., & Selinker, L., (2008). Second language acquisition: An introductory course (3rd Ed.). Routeledge.

George, H. V. (1993). Simplification. In M. L. Tickoo (Ed.), Simplification: Theory and application. Anthology series 31 (pp. 7–13). SEAMEO-RELC.

Gierlinger, E. M. (2007). Modular CLIL in lower secondary education: Some insights from a research project in Austria. In C. Dalton-Puffer, & U. Smit, (Eds.), Empirical Perspectives on CLIL Classroom Discourse

(pp. 79–118). Peter Lang.

Goodman, K. S., & Freeman, D. (1993). What’s simple in simplified language?

Honeyfield, J. (1977). Simplification. Tesol Quarterly, 431–440.

Kelch, K. (1985). Modified input as an aid to comprehension. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 7(1), 81–90.

Keshavarz, M. H., Atai, M. R., & Ahmadi, H. (2007). Content schemata, linguistic simplification, and EFL readers’ comprehension and recall. Reading in a Foreign Language, 19(1), 19–33.

Kim, S. I., & Van Dusen, L. M. (1998). The role of prior knowledge and elaboration in text comprehension and. The American Journal of Psychology, 111(3), 353–378.

Kim, Y. (2006). Effects of input elaboration on vocabulary acquisition through reading by Korean learners of English as a foreign language. Tesol Quarterly, 40(2), 341–373.

Klare, G. R. (2000). The measurement of readability: Useful information for communicators. ACM Journal of Computer Documentation (JCD), 24(3), 107–121.

Kong, D. K. (2017). Effects of text elaboration on Korean reading Comprehension. The Korean Language in America, 21(1), 53–88.

Leow, R. P. (1997). Simplification and second language acquisition. World Englishes, 16(2), 291–296.

Lorenzo, F. (2008). Instructional discourse in bilingual settings. An empirical study of linguistic adjustments in content and language integrated learning. Language Learning Journal, 36(1), 21–33.

Lotherington-Woloszyn, H. (1993). Do simplified texts simplify language comprehension for ESL learners?

Marefat, F., & Moradian, M. R. (2008). Effects of lexical elaborative devices on second language vocabulary acquisition: Evidence from reading. Teaching English Language (Teaching English Language and literature society of Iran), 2(6), 101–124.

Marsh, D. (2002). CLIL/EMILE-The European dimension: Actions, trends and foresight potential. University of Jyväskylä

Mehisto, P. (2008). CLIL counterweights: Recognising and decreasing disjuncture in CLIL. International CLIL Research Journal, 1(1), 93–119.

Moore, P., & Lorenzo, F. (2007). Adapting authentic materials for CLIL classrooms: An empirical study. VIEWZ: Vienna English Working Papers, 16(3), 28–35.

Moradian, M. R., & Adel, M. R. (2011). Explicit lexical elaboration as an autonomy enhancing tool for acquisition of L2 vocabulary from reading. Studies in Literature and Language, 3(3), 153–159.

Moradian, M. R., Naserpoor, A., & Tamri, M. S. (2013). Effects of lexical simplification and elaboration of ESP texts on Iranian EFL university students’ reading comprehension. International Journal of Psychology and Behavioral Research, 2(6), 332–338.

Morton, T. (2013). Critically evaluating materials for CLIL: Practitioners’ practices and perspectives. In J. Gray (Ed.). Critical perspectives on language teaching materials (pp. 111–136). Palgrave Macmillan.

Negari, G. M., & Rouhi, M. (2012). Effects of lexical modification on incidental vocabulary acquisition of Iranian EFL students. English Language Teaching, 5(6), 95–104.

O’Donnell, M. E. (2009). Finding middle ground in second language reading: Pedagogic modifications that increase comprehensibility and vocabulary acquisition while preserving authentic text features. The Modern Language Journal, 93(4), 512–533.

Oh, H. S. Y. (2001). Two types of input modification and EFL reading comprehension: Simplification versus elaboration. TESOL quarterly, 35(1), 69–96.

Parker, K., & Chaudron, C. (1987). The effects of linguistic simplifications and elaborative modifications on L2 comprehension. University of Hawai’i Working Papers in ESL, 6(2), 107–133.

Rapatti, K. (2009). Voiko oppikirjaan upota? – Suomi toisena kielenä –oppilas oppikirjatekstin lukijana. In I. Kuukka & K. Rapatti (Eds.). Yhteistä kieltä luomassa. Suomea opetteleva opetusryhmässäni. Finnish National Board of Education. Keuruu: Otavan Kirjapaino Oy, 70–90.

Rix, J. (2009). A model of simplification: The ways in which teachers simplify learning materials. Educational Studies, 35(2), 95–106.

Shirin Zarii, M., & Mardani, M. (2011). Two types of text modification and incidental Vocabulary Acquisition: Simplification vs. Elaboration. The Iranian EFL Journal, 7(1), 127–156.

Silva, A. D. (2000). Text elaboration and vocabulary learning. University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

Tsang, W-K. (1987). Text modifications in ESL reading comprehension. RELC Journal, 18(2), 31–44.

Urano, K. (2000). Lexical simplification and elaboration: Sentence comprehension and incidental vocabulary acquisition (Doctoral dissertation). University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Van Kampen, E., Admiraal, W., & Berry, A. (2018). Content and language integrated learning in the Netherlands: teachers’ self-reported pedagogical practices. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 21(2), 222–236.

Widdowson, H. G. (1978). Teaching language as communication. Oxford University Press.

Yano, Y., Long, M. H., & Ross, S. (1994). The effects of simplified and elaborated texts on foreign language reading comprehension. Language learning, 44(2), 189–219.

Young, D. N. (1999). Linguistic simplification of SL reading material: Effective instructional practice?. The Modern Language Journal, 83(3), 350–366.




How to Cite

Zi, Y. (2022). An Evaluation of the Approaches to Text Modification Used by Lower Secondary CLIL Teachers in Finland. Latin American Journal of Content & Language Integrated Learning, 14(2), 235–262.




Similar Articles

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.