Analyzing a Pre-Service EFL Program through the Lenses of the CLIL Approach at the University of Cuenca-Ecuador

Juanita Argudo, Monica Abad, Tammy Fajardo-Dack, Patricio Cabrera


The recent application of Content and Language Integrated Learning programs in higher education provides an extensive area for research due to the quick implementation of English as the medium of instruction for university programs, as well as to the need of university students around the world to communicate through English and to try different learning strategies and methodologies than the ones they used to work with. This study aimed to estimate the extent to which the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) program at the University of Cuenca designed for students who wish to become EFL teachers complies with the principles of the Content and Language Integrated Learning approach. The 121 participants of this study were students from the fourth, fifth, and seventh semesters of the program. A general proficiency English test was administered to these students; some writing assignments to evaluate the development of Higher Order Thinking Skills were considered; and a survey to inquire about students’ perceptions on the development of language, content, and Higher Order Thinking Skills in their content subject classes was also applied. The findings revealed that 52% of the students are between A1 and A2 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages; this means that they do not have the necessary linguistic conditions to take content subjects. It seems that the parameters teachers used to plan their classes do not consider the three dimensions of this approach (content, language, and procedures); therefore, students are not developing these dimensions simultaneously.


Content and Language Integrated Learning in higher education; language development; Higher Order Thinking Skills; content understanding; program evaluation

Full Text:



Aguilar, M. & Rodriguez, R. (2012). Lecturer and student perception on CLIL at a Spanish University. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 183-197.

Ball, P. K. (2015). Putting CLIL into practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ball, P., Kelly, K., & Clegg, J. (2015). Putting CLIL into Practice . Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Banegas, D. (2016). Teachers develop CLIL material in Argentina: a workshop . LACLIL, 17-36.

Bruno, M.C.; Checchetti, A. (2015). CLIL & IBSE Methodologies in a Chemistry Learning Unit. European Journal of Research and Reflection in Educational Science, 1 - 12. Vol. 4 No. 8.

Council of Europe. (2011). Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

Coyle, D, Hood, P and, Marsh, D. (2010). CLIL: Content and Language Integratedd Learning. Cambridge: CUP.

Cummins, J. (1984). Bilingualism and special education: Issues in assessment and pedagogy. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Cummins, J. (2013). Bilingual Education and Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). Padres y Maestros, 6-10.

Dafouz, E. (2007). On Content and Lenguage Integrated Learning in Higher Education. The Case of Univrsity Lecturers. RESLA, 67-82.

Dallinger, S., Jonkmann, K., Hollm, J., & Fiege, C. (2015). The effect of content and language integrated learning on students' English and history competence - Killing two birds with one stone? Learning and Instruction, 23-31.

Dalton-Puffer, C. (2011). Content-and-Language Integrated Learning: From Practice to Principles? . Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 182-204.

Facultad de Filosofía de la Universidad de Cuenca. (2013). Plan de Carrera de Ciencias de la Educación en la Especialidad de Lengua y Literatura Inglesa. Cuenca: Universidad de Cuenca.

Field, J. (2008). Listening in the Language Classroom. Cambridge: Retrieved from

Hohmann, J., & Grillo, M. (2014). Using Critical Thinking Rubrics and Academic Performance. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 35-52.

Hüttner, J. D.-P. (2013). The power of beliefs: lay theories and their influence on the implementation of CLIL programmes. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 16(3), 267-284.

Krashen, S. (1985). The input hypothesis. Issues and implications . London: Longman.

Krashen, S., & Terrell, T. (2000). The natural approach. Language Acquisiion in the classroom. Harlow: Pearson.

Kusuma, M.D., Rosidin, U., Abdurrahman, Suyatna, A. (2017). The Development of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) Instrument Assessment in Physics Study. IOSR Journal of Research & Method in Education (IOSR - JRME) , 26 - 32, Volume 7, Issue 1 Ver. V.

Lasagabaster D., & Doiz, A. (2016). CLIL students' perceptions of their language learning process: delving into self-perceived improvement and instructional preferences. Language Awareness Vol. 25, Iss. 1-2, 110-126.

Marsh, D. (2002). CLIL/EMILE - The European Dimension. Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä.

McDougald, J. (2015). Teachers ́ attitudes, perceptions and experiences in CLIL: A look at content and language. Colomb. Appl. Linguist. J., 25-41.

Ministerio de Educación. (10 de julio de 2011). Fortalecimiento del Inglés. Obtenido de Oficio Nro. SENPLADES-SIP-dap-2011-655;CUP91400000.0000.372704.:

Morton, T. (2013). Critically evaluatin materials for CLIL: Practitioners, practices and perspectives. In . En J. G. (Ed.), Critical perspectives on language teaching materials (págs. pp. 111-136). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Nuñez Asomoza, A. (2015). Students’ Perceptions of the Impact of CLIL in a Mexican BA Program Profile Issues in Teachers' Professional Development . Profile Issues in Teachers´ Professional Development, 111-124.

Pavón, V., Prieto, M., Ávila, F.J. (2015). Perceptions on Teachers and Students of the Promotion of Interaction Through Task.Based Activities in CLIL. Porta Linguarum, vol. 23, 75-91.

Pérez-Cañado. (2012). CLIL research in Europe: past, present,and future. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 15:3, 315-341.

Pladevall-Ballester, E. (2015). Exploring primary school CLIL perceptions in Catalonia: students´, teachers´, and parents´ opinions and expectations. International journal of bilingual education and Bilingualism, Vol. 18, No 1, 45-49.

Smit, U., & Dafouz, E. (2012). Integrating content and language in higher education: An introduction to English-medium policies, conceptual issues and research practices across Europe. AILA Review, 25,, 1-12.

Suesta, F.G., & Renau Renau, M.L. (2015). A critical vision of the CLIL approach in secondary education: A study in the Valencia community in Spain . LACLIL 8 (1), 1-12, DOI 10.5294laclil2014.8.1.1 eISSN 2322-9721, 1-12.

Willingham, D. (2007). Critical Thinking: Why is it so Hard to Teach? American Educator , 8 - 19.

Wolff, D. (2009). Content and Language Integrated learning. In K. Knapp, & B. Seidhofer. Berlin:: De Gruyter.



  • 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)