Teaching Music in English: A Content- Based Instruction Model in Secondary Education

Lucía Bellés-Calvera


Over the past few years, there has been a growing interest in the teaching and learning of several languages in an attempt to generate multilingual education opportunities, particularly in Europe. In response to the demands of our globalized society, Content-Based Instruction (CBI), which has also been referred to as “immersion and Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) programs,” emerged as a teaching approach that combines the learning of curricular contents and the communicative competence in the target language. This study was carried out at a public high school set in a Spanish bilingual community, where music is taught through a CLIL approach in English class. The purpose of this paper is to examine how students value their music lessons in English and to check the adequacy of teaching music as a subject in English. To achieve this goal, materials adapted to their level of proficiency and a final questionnaire were designed. Results indicate that students are satisfied with this proposal, since they consider these music lessons to be easier than the regular ones. Not only did they enjoy being exposed to English in these music lessons, but a considerable number of students would also like to take a CLIL program in the near future. Pedagogical implications to this CBI model account for the development of learners’ autonomy, the use of audio-visual aids and further research in bilingual and multilingual regions overseas.


instructional programs; educational policies; secondary education; music; foreign language instruction

Full Text:



Bartle, G. (1962). Music in the language classroom. Canadian Modern Language Review, Fall, 11–14.

Bellés-Fortuño, B. & Ferrer-Alcantud, C. (2016). European Higher Education language requirements: English as a vehicular language in the content subject classroom. XV International Conference AELFE: Today's and Tomorrow's Challenges in Languages for Specific Purposes and Translation. Guadalajara (Spain). Internacional. Científic. Ed. Universidad de Alcalá de Henares. ISBN 9788416599837.

BOE (2015). Real Decreto nº 1105/2014, de 26 de diciembre, por el que se establece el currículo básico de la Educación Secundaria Obligatoria y del Bachillerato. Boletín Oficial del Estado, núm. 3, de 3 de enero de 2015, pp.196–546. Retrieved 1 May 2017 from https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2015/01/03/pdfs/BOE-A-2015-37.pdf

Cenoz, J., Genesee, F. & Gorter, D. (2013). Critical analysis of CLIL: Taking stock and looking forward. Applied Linguistics, 1–21.

Coyle, D., Hood, P., & Marsh, D. (2010). CLIL: Content and language integrated learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dörnyei, Z. (2003). Questionnaires in second language research. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Engh, D. (2013). Why Use Music in English Language Learning? A Survey of the Literature. English Language Teaching 6 (2), 113–127.

European Commission (2008). Multilingualism - an asset and a commitment. EUR-lex.europa.eu [website]. Retrieved 1 May 2017 from http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=URISERV:ef0003

European Commission (2015). Language teaching and learning in multilingual classrooms. Education and Training. Retrieved 8 September 2017 from http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/repository/languages/library/studies/multilingual-classroom_en.pdf

Falioni, J. W. (1993). Music as means to enhance cultural awareness and literacy in the foreign language classroom. Mid-Atlantic Journal of Foreign Language Pedagogy 1, 97–108.

Gallardo del Puerto, F., Gómez, Lacabex, E. & García Lecumberri, M.L. (2009). Testing the effectiveness of content and language integrated learning in foreign language contexts the assessment of English pronunciation. In. Y. Ruiz de Zarobe, & R. M. Jiménez Catalán (Eds.), Content and Language Integrated Learning: Evidence from Research in Europe (pp. 63–80). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Gallego-Navarro, T. & Rúa Aguilar, M.J. (2016). Classroom interaction in Multicultural and Multilingual contexts: A case study: Bachelor in Technical Architecture at Jaume I University. International Conference on CLIL applied to Secondary Education and Higher Education contexts. Universitat Jaume I.

García, J.V., García, J.J., & Yuste, J.L. (2012). Educación Física en inglés. Una propuesta para trabajar la higiene postural en Educación Primaria. Retos: Nuevas tendencias en Educación Física, deporte y recreación 22, 70–75.

Genesee, F. (2006). Myths and Misconceptions about Early Dual Language Learning. Invited plenary, 21st National Training Institute of Early Head Start (Zero to Three), Albuquerque, NM.

Ioannou-Georgiou, S. (2012). Reviewing the puzzle of CLIL. ELT Journal: English Language Teachers Journal, 66 (4), 495–504.

Jäppinen, A. K. (2006). CLIL and future learning. In S. Björklund, K. MårdMiettinen, M. Bergström & M. Södergård (Eds.), Exploring dual-focussed education. Integrating language and content for individual and societal needs. Retrieved 1 May 2017 from http://www.uwasa.fi/materiaali/pdf/isbn_952-476-149-1.pdf

Jolly, Y. (1975). The Use of Songs in Teaching Foreign Languages. The Modern Language Journal, 59 (1, 2), 11–14. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/325440

Koller, O., Leucht, M., & Pant, H. (2012). Effects of bilingual instruction on English achievement in lower secondary schools. Unterrichtswissenschaft, 40, 334–350.

Krashen, S. (1982). Principles and Practices in Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon.

Lambert W. & Tucker R. (1972). Bilingual education of children: The St. Lambert experiment. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

Lasagabaster, D & Ruiz de Zarobe, Y. (Eds.) (2010). CLIL in Spain: Implementation, Results and Teacher Training. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Marsh, D. (1994). Bilingual Education & Content and Language Integrated Learning. International Association for Cross-cultural Communication, Language Teaching in the Member States of the European Union (Lingua). Paris: University of Sorbonne.

Nold, G., Hartig, J., Hinz, S., & Rossa, H. (2008). Klassen mit bilingualem Sachfachunterricht: Englisch als Arbeitssprache [CLIL-classrooms. English as language of communication]. In DESI-Konsortium (Ed.), Unterricht und Kompetenzerwerb in Deutsch und Englisch (pp. 451–457). Weinheim: Beltz.

Pavón, V., Ellison, M. (2013). Examining teachers roles and competences in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). Linguarum Arena, 4, 65–78.

Pérez Vidal, C. (ed.) (2005). Content and Language Integrated learning (CLIL): Teaching Materials for Use in the Secondary School Classroom. Barcelona: Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

Peregoy, S. F., & Boyle, O. F. (2008). Reading, writing, and learning in ESL: A resource book for K–12 teachers (5th ed.). New York, NY: Addison-Wesley.

Ramos García, A.M. (2013). Higher Education Bilingual Programmes in Spain. Porta Linguarum 19, 101–111. University of Granada.

Richards, J. (1969). Songs in Language Learning. TESOL Quarterly, 3 (2), 161–174.

Ruiz de Zarobe, Y., Sierra, J.M., & Gallardo del Puerto, F. (eds.) (2011). Content and Foreign Language Integrated Learning:

Contributions to Multilingualism in European Contexts. Bern: Peter Lang.

Saricoban, A., & Metin, E. (2000). Songs, Verse and Games for Teaching Grammar. The Internet TESL Journal, 9 (10). Retrieved 1 May 2017 from http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Saricoban-Songs.html

Schoepp, K. (2001). Reasons for Using Songs in the ESL/EFL Classroom. The Internet TESL Journal, 7 (2). Retrieved 1 May 2017 from http://iteslj.org/Articles/Schoepp-Songs.html

Swain, M. (1978). French Immersion: Early, Late or Partial? Canadian Modern Language Review, 34, 577–585.

Tayari Ashtiani, F., & Mahdavi Zafarghandi, A. (2015). The Effect of English Verbal Songs on Connected Speech Aspects of Adult English Learners’ Speech Production. Advances In Language And Literary Studies 6 (1), 212–226. Retrieved 1 May 2017 from http://journals.aiac.org.au/index.php/alls/article/view/1309

Willis, J. (2013). English through music: Designing CLIL materials for young learners. Padres y Maestros 349, 29–32.

Wolff, D. (2002). On the importance of CLIL in the context of the debate on plurilingual education in the European Union. In D. Marsh (Ed.), CLIL/EMILE. The European dimension. Actions, trends, and foresight potential (pp. 47–48). Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

This journal and its papers are published with the Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). You are free to share copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format if you: give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made; don’t use our material for commercial purposes; don’t remix, transform, or build upon the material.

Indexed in: DOAJLinguistics Abstracts Online,Google ScholarsMLA Bibliography - Language, Linguistics and LiteratureOpen J-Gate,Directory of Research Journals Indexing, EBSCOProQueste-Revist@sPublindexERICEmerging Sources Citation IndexORE (Open-Access Research in English Language Teaching)Cabell's International (The White List)Red Iberoamericana de Innovación y Conocimiento Científico (Redib)

Email: laclil@unisabana.edu.co