Centres And GroupsContent & Language Integrated Learning Research Group

Content & Language Integrated Learning Research Group

The research group proposes to research Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) which enables students to learn language(s) in and through other disciplines, e.g. learning a science subject through French/Italian/German/Spanish/ESL.

The CLIL group have adopted a three-pronged strategy where on-going research informs materials development, teaching practice and teacher education.

At present, language learning in Ireland is experiencing some difficulty since there has been a gradual decrease in the number of students interested in language learning. This phenomenon is the object of much public debate at national level where the necessity to re-think the manner in which languages are taught is advocated. In this context, CLIL has been identified as the approach most likely to create immediate relevance for the language learner. This is exemplified by a response from a recent survey conducted among students of Business in WIT, where this approach is used for French and marketing: ‘there are things I’d remember from French class that I would need in a marketing exam’.

This student response is typical of the overall survey. Additional  research indicates that low exposure CLIL programmes (e.g. the WIT model) increases learner motivation (CLIL/EMILE – the European dimension Actions, Trends and   Foresight potential, 2002, Jyvaskyla: Finland). Moreover, and within the context of the European Union, CLIL as well as languages in higher education have been identified as a key areas for action (European Commission, November 2005, Framework Strategy for Multilingualism).

In respect of English as a second language (ESL) and as a result of current immigration trends as well as on-going initiatives by third level colleges to recruit international     students, ESL is becoming increasingly relevant at all levels of the education system (Integrate Ireland Report on Activities 2003). At WIT, where international students are already studying through English, using CLIL will consolidate their subject knowledge as well as promote their English language skills.

The strengths of this approach are associated with the reconsideration of how and when certain types of subject matter and language are taught; in this manner, an inter-disciplinary mindset is established. Individual learning styles are catered for as methods and forms of classroom practice are diversified. In addition, new dynamics between the lecturer and the students are created: learners are the “experts” in the subject and this expertise becomes manifest and tangible in the language class.

Moreover, the successful integration of a language into another subject leads to greater visibility for languages in the institution and encourages language learners to become more effective language users.

This approach forms a component of the MA programme in Second Language Learning and Teaching. In this context, CLIL already forms the basis for further post-graduate investigation at MA and PhD levels.

Finally, the establishment of regional CLIL cluster of interested school teachers at primary and post-primary levels has been established; the CLIL group advises this cluster on best practice in content-based teaching in Ireland and, now,  as part of a European network³ of best practice (CLIL Cascade Network - CCN).

Contact:  Dr. Aine Furlong   Email: afurlong@wit.ie

CLIL Fulltime Faculty Members

  • Mr. Angelica Cisneros BA, MA, DEA

  • Ms. Una Cummins BA, MA Applied Linguistics

  • Dr. Aine Furlong BA,  HDip. Lit., HDip.Ed., PhD Applied Linguistics

  • Ms. Paola Fraoili BA, MEd

  • Ms. Rosanna Molloy BA, MA

  • Mr. Don O’Neill BA, MA, DESS (Perpignan)

EU Funded Projects

CCN: CLIL Cascade Network Lifelong Learning programme, 2007-2010.

Conbat+: Content based teaching and Plurilingualism, 2008-2011.

LICI: Language in Content Instruction, 2006-2009.


European Award for Languages - the Language Label 2006

The European Award for Languages - the Language Label (EAL) is an annual award given to projects where participants have found creative ways to improve the quality of language teaching, motivate students, and make the best of available resources. The Award, which is coordinated by the European Commission, is managed in Ireland by Léargas.

Thesis Submissions

Lacey, Eileen (2008) Content and Language Integrated Learning in an Irish Primary School Modern Languages Class. Master of Arts thesis, Waterford Institute of  Technology.


Furlong, A. (2007) ‘L’Enseignement d’une Matière par l’Intégration d’une Langue Etrangère/Content and Language Integrated Learning. De quoi s’agit-il? Pour quelles raisons et comment s’y prendre?’ Proceedings of Le français en Irlande : vers un nouveau dynamisme. Dublin : DIT.

Conference Proceedings/Conferences/Symposia

Furlong, A., Molloy, R., Cisneros, A., Fraioli, P., Cummins, U., O’Neill, D. (Nov. 2008):  Challenging assumptions in language learning and teaching:  a CLIL experience at WIT’. NAIRTL 2nd annual conference, W.I.T.

Furlong, A. (Oct. 2008): ‘Building a CLIL community in the South East of Ireland Slowly and Surely’. CLIL Fusion, Tallinn, Estonia.

Molloy, R. (Oct. 2008): CLIL Filmanalyse am Beispiel ‘Das Leben der Anderen’. Beyond the language/content divide: Models of integration and separation. Association of third level teachers of  German in Ireland, University of Limerick.

Cisneros, A. (2008) ‘L’Enseignement Nilatera: EMILE CLIL’, Univeriste du Mans, France, July 2008.

Fraioli, P. & Cisneros, A. (2008) ‘Content and Language Integrated Learning in Art/Design: How to analyze a painting’, Best Practice to Motivate Language Learners Conference, May 2008.

Furlong, A. (2008) ‘Reading strategies in CLIL classrooms’, Kaunas University of Technology, June 2008.

Furlong, A., Molloy, R., Cisneros, A., Fraioli, P., Cummins, U., O’Neill, D. (Feb. 2008): Evaluating CLIL lesson plans and resources. WIT seminar for primary and secondary school teachers in the South East of Ireland.

Furlong, A. (2008) ‘Insights into a CLIL third level experience’, 15th World Congress of AILA, Essen, Germany, August 2008, Multilingualism: Challenges and Opportunities.

Furlong, A., Molloy, R., Cisneros, A., Fraioli, P., Cummins, U., O’Neill, D. (Nov. 2007): A CLIL overview. Examples of CLIL best practice. WIT seminar for primary and secondary school teachers in the South East of Ireland.