An empirical study on the acquisition of content in a CLIL-based chemistry course: A preliminary report

Beata Gregorczyk


This article presents the findings of an empirical study on the acquisition of content in a CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) course conducted by the author at a middle school in Radom, Poland. The research involved a group of Polish students who learn chemistry through English as part of their school curriculum. The results of the research support an understanding that using a foreign language as a means of teaching non-linguistic subjects does not impair content acquisition—and may actually improve overall learning processes. The research raises questions about the relationship between a foreign language and conceptual knowledge, as well as about the mechanisms that may compensate for the additional difficulties students may encounter while learning content (such as chemistry) through a foreign language. By way of introduction, the article offers an overview of the literature on the effectiveness of CLIL teaching. This theoretical background leads to the description of the experiment, followed by an analysis of its results. The paper ends with conclusions and some final thoughts relating to the experiment.

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