Intercultural Studies within a CLIL approach

Kai Spies


Interculturality and globalization have taken a very important role in society today. This is one of the reasons why the Department of Languages and Cultures at the University of La Sabana has offered the courses Introduction to Intercultural Studies and Intercultural Studies for their language learners. These courses offer participants the opportunity to become more familiar with intercultural competences by, for example, interacting with a variety of international guest speakers. However, up to the present, these courses have been taught as content courses in the English language and directed specifically to learners who already have relatively high competence levels in English. This paper explores the characteristics of the noted intercultural studies courses in comparison with more “traditional” English courses, as well as student expectations of and experiences with the intercultural studies content courses, in order to see how a more CLIL-based approach could be implemented in the context of the intercultural studies courses. Such a re-design would not only continue to benefit such advanced students but would open up new possibilities for learners with a wider range of language abilities, helping them build up their English through work with content related to intercultural competences. Equally, it would provide such language learners with a clearer purpose for learning the English language, as English would no longer be being taught in an isolated way but within a content-focused context that the participants see as relevant and practical.

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