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The impact of age and exposure on EFL achievement in two learning contexts: formal instruction and formal instruction + content and language integrated learning (CLIL)

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Abstract

This study investigates the role of biological age and L2 exposure on the achievement of two groups of Catalan-Spanish intermediate learners of English in secondary school (Group A, Formal Instruction (FI), N = 50; Group B, FI + CLIL, N = 50) regarding receptive and productive L2 skills as well as grammatical knowledge. Learners were matched for hours of exposure (1.330–1.400) in a first comparison, and secondly, for age (13–14 years old). When matched for number of hours of exposure, results confirmed the older learners’ advantage in FL contexts, as non-CLIL students (2 years older) significantly outperformed CLIL learners in listening comprehension and in two measures of writing: accuracy and coordination index. When matched for age, the group with extra L2 exposure (FI + CLIL) was significantly better than the non-CLIL group in reading comprehension and in several dimensions of writing: lexical richness, linguistic and communicative competence. These findings illustrate the language learning potential of a partial CLIL programme in an EFL context. A threshold of 300 CLIL hours may need to be surpassed for CLIL learners to reap the benefits of additional exposure across L2 skills.

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... Consequently, L2 researchers began investigating the relative contribution of these variables to learners' L2 achievement. The conducted studies have discussed the effects of various learner variables on general L2 achievement of learners, such as their attitudes and motivation (e.g., Csizér, 2017;Moskovsky et al., 2016), beliefs about language learning (Alhamami, 2018;Aragão, 2011), age (e.g., Artieda et al., 2020;Marinova-Todd et al., 2000), and gender (e.g., Bećirović, 2017;Mori & Gobel, 2006;Norton & Pavlenko, 2004). Meanwhile, several studies have focused on the effect of each of these variables on specific aspects of L2, such as, for example, different skills and subskills (e.g., Amiryousefi, 2018;Ke & Chan, 2017;Lee & Pulido, 2017;Ruiz-Funes, 2015;Vandergrift & Baker, 2015) and specific teaching methods or approaches (e.g., Namaziandost & Çakmak, 2020;Baker-Smemoe et al., 2014). ...
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To provide insights into a wide array of individual learner variables implicated in intercultural education in home and study abroad contexts, this study systematically reviewed the effects of such variables on the development of intercultural competence. The corpus consisted of 56 journal articles published over the past two decades (2000-2020). The purpose of this study was to explore: (a) learner variables that were described in research on intercultural competence, including, inter alia, their age, gender, first language (L1) background, proficiency level, and attitudinal orientations; (b) settings in which learners’ intercultural development was studied, including both home contexts and study abroad contexts; and (c) effects of learner variables on the development of their intercultural competence. The results of this synthesis indicate that a growing number of studies have started to document intercultural instruction in both home and study abroad contexts. They show how learner variables were considered in conducting these studies and how variation in these variables impacted the effectiveness of instruction that targeted intercultural competence. The findings can considerably broaden our understanding of both opportunities and constraints in intercultural education in terms of learner variables and in particular variables that make the most contribution to intercultural development in home and study abroad contexts.
... Whereas significant advantages for CLIL groups in terms of various aspects of target language proficiency are commonly reported in the different regions of Spain (and also in the one Italian program investigated) (e.g., Goris et al., 2013;Pérez Cañado, 2018;Pérez-Vidal & Roquet, 2015), null effects are predominant in the other countries (e.g., Rumlich, 2017;Verspoor et al., 2015). A more recent study in Germany also found no significant CLIL effect on target language proficiency after controlling for selection and preparation effects (Feddermann et al., 2021), whereas studies in the Spanish context confirm the potentially positive impact of CLIL (Artieda et al., 2020;Castellano-Risco et al., 2020;Gallardo del Puerto & Gómez Lacabex, 2017). A tentative explanation for this is that, since English proficiency is not as developed in Spain and Italy as it is in countries such as the Netherlands and Sweden (European Commission, 2012), there is simply more room for additional improvement in the aforementioned countries. ...
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Since its official introduction in 2014, an increasing number of Flemish secondary schools provide a CLIL program next to their regular monolingual Dutch programs. This longitudinal study investigates the effect of teaching one or several content subjects in French on secondary school pupils’ L2 French listening comprehension (n = 545) and speaking proficiency (n = 273) as well as on their L1 Dutch reading comprehension (n = 579). To ensure comparability between the CLIL and the non-CLIL groups, data collection started at the onset of secondary education, which aligns with the onset of CLIL programs, and information on relevant background variables such as L2 French motivation and anxiety, contact with L2 French outside school and pupils’ socioeconomic status was incorporated in the analyses. The results show that following a CLIL program has a positive impact on the development of French listening and speaking, whereas it does not affect pupils’ L1 Dutch reading comprehension. These results suggest that even a limited amount of CLIL (i.e. one to five hours per week) can have a positive influence on pupils’ proficiency in the target language.
... The picture that emerges is that English learners who begin CLIL instruction later in primary school reach equivalent proficiency levels and display faster rates of FL learning compared to learners who have been in the CLIL program since the beginning of primary education (see also Lorenzo, Casal, & Moore, 2010). In a recent study on the question of how much additional exposure to the FL through CLIL is necessary for learners to enjoy linguistic gains, Artieda, Roquet, and Nicolás-Conesa (2017) analyzed two different constellations of partial CLIL instruction in Spanish secondary school: two groups of students with similar hours of instruction but different ages in two contexts-formal instruction (FI) and CLIL-and students with the same age but different hours of instruction. Keeping starting age constant, they found that CLIL learners needed to be up to 2 years younger than their FI counterparts to outperform them with the same number of hours of instruction. ...
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This study reveals hitherto overlooked effects of age of onset (AO) in immersive school contexts, using multiple measures over time so as to focus on fluctuations and trends in individual data. The second language (L2) English development was studied in 91 children who received 50–50 content and language integrated learning (CLIL) instruction in German and English and varied in their AO (5, 7, or 9). Data collection occurred 4 times annually for up to 8 school years (ages 5–12), via oral and written production tasks, motivation questionnaires, and interviews. Meaningfully integrating quantitative analyses (GAMM) and qualitative analyses, the study focuses not only on the process itself and on quantification of change but also on the underlying environmental and psychological reasons for change. Results reveal that (a) slightly later CLIL beginners (AO 7) turn out to show similar L2 development to that of the earlier beginners (AO 5), (b) besides external states and events, many internal states at any given moment contribute to significant L2 growth, (c) learners show significant improvement in the last 2.5 years of primary school, starting from age 10, and (d) there are significant differences between L2 oral and written performance in terms of height and shape of learner trajectories across (pre)primary school.
... A school which offers two CLIL subjects triples the number of contact hours compared with a school merely offering a standard L1-medium programme with foreign language classes. This increased contact time with the L2 makes CLIL a potentially suitable strategy to promote plurilingual education (see, for example, Artieda et al. 2017;Dalton-Puffer 2008).On the other hand, a minimal CLIL programme may not be sufficient to make a difference, at least in the short run (Pladevall-Ballester & Vallbona 2016). ...
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Aquest article aspira a familiaritzar a qualsevol persona interessada - sigui docent, professional de la formació del professorat, o persona amb responsabilitats educatives - amb l’ enfocament Aprenentatge Integrat de Continguts i Llengua (AICLE). L’article situa l’AICLE en el context de la política lingüística de la Unió Europea (UE) encaminada a promoure un plurilingüisme actiu per a tota la ciutadania, presenta alguns principis teòrics que fonamenten aquest enfocament, i adverteix sobre pràctiques observades en aules AICLE que poden amenaçar el seu potencial educatiu.
... Hence, the distribution of language instruction deserves attention as the intensity of instruction makes positive changes on language attainment, language learning attitude and motivation (Collins & White, 2011;Spada & Lightbrown, 1989). Some studies show positive benefits of more exposure at earlier ages (Artieda, Roquet & Nicolás-Conesa, 2017;Munoz, 2012). However, if instructional hours are not used effectively, it is unlikely that successful results are obtained (Djigunovic, 2012;Collins & Munoz, 2016). ...
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In search of ways to better the foreign language proficiency levels of their citizens, governments frequently announce macro foreign language policies. In Turkey, the latest education reform in 2013 lowered the onset of foreign language learning to the second grade. The piloting of the latest foreign language policy is in progress to transform the fifth grade to an English Language Preparation Program (ELPP). In line with the current changes, this study collects the secondary school English language teachers’ opinions at the initial stage of the implementation. This qualitative case study questions the advantages, disadvantages, success and possible challenges of the implementation, and the necessary support mechanisms. The secondary school English language teachers reflect on their past experiences of intensive language programs and hold an overall positive approach to the new ELLP implementation. All in all, to achieve success, the findings highlight the need for teacher training on teaching English to young learners, for a sound integration of communicative language teaching with authentic materials.
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Content and Language Integrated Learning in English as a Foreign Language : A European perspective.
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The present contribution represents an extension of David Singleton’s (2005) IRAL chapter, “The Critical Period Hypothesis: A coat of many colours”. I suggest that the CPH in its application to L2 acquisition could benefit from methodological and theoretical tailoring with respect to: the shape of the function that relates age of acquisition to proficiency, the use of nativelikeness for falsification of the CPH, and the framing of predictors of L2 attainment.
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Share online access to your article with up to 50 colleagues by forwarding this eprint link: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/smQA6Fa8r7cIUFxtKJEH/full Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) programmes are mushrooming in many different contexts. However, research has mainly focused on their impact on foreign language learning and to a lesser extent on L1 development, whereas the number of studies undertaken in multilingual contexts in which more than two languages coexist is negligible. In an attempt to fill this gap, the overall aim of this research study was to examine the effect of CLIL on the learning of three languages in contact, namely English, Basque and Spanish in the Basque Country, Spain. With this objective in mind, two test rounds were conducted in a longitudinal study spanning one year and in which 285 secondary education students took part. The results revealed significantly higher scores on the part of the CLIL students in English (which represents the L3 and the foreign language in this context) in both test rounds, although a similar linguistic development between the experimental CLIL and the control non-CLIL groups was observed. Additionally, no significant differences were found in the students’ L1 and L2 development (Spanish and Basque), despite the fact that CLIL students had a lower exposure to Basque in the school context.
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Schoolchildren are starting to learn a foreign language sooner than ever as education authorities introduce early-start compulsory foreign language (FL) policies. As a result of this global trend, the learning of FLs is playing a major role in many educational systems (Coleman, 2006). This is the context in which CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) programmes have been implemented during the last few years in many different contexts, in the belief that this will help to improve students' language proficiency and to "nurture a feel good and can do attitude towards language learning in general" (Marsh, 2000: 10). The aim of this paper is to analyze the effect of CLIL on students' attitudes towards English as a FL and the two official languages (Basque and Spanish) in the curriculum of a bilingual context, namely the Basque Country in Spain. The participants in the study were 287 secondary education students from four different schools and the results obtained seem to confirm that CLIL programmes help to foster positive attitudes towards language learning in general.
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Introduction: Aptitude—the once and future concept
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Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) is supposed to improve existing deficiencies in the formal learning of foreign languages (FL) in state schools of the EU, with at least no detrimental cost to the content learning. Apart from this basic justification, which has already been questioned on the basis of the empirical evidence by this author, other benefits are often enumerated. However, it will be shown that for most of the pro-CLIL arguments there are equally valid counterarguments, and, in some cases, contrary empirical evidence, or even a lack of any evidence. Given this, the suggestion here is that there are a number of implicit reasons for the adoption of CLIL, the most obvious being student selection. One conclusion worthy of concern is that the interest in CLIL diverts attention away from the shortcomings of mainstream FL teaching in state schools and the plight of numerous non-CLIL students, including perhaps many of the less privileged, who maybe are still not receiving the FL instruction they deserve.
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This article provides a comprehensive, updated, and critical approximation to the sizeable literature which has been produced on the increasingly acknowledged European approach to bilingual education: content and language integrated learning (CLIL). It begins by tracing the origins of CLIL, framing it against the backdrop of its predecessors: North American immersion and bilingual education programs, and European international schools. It then provides a synthesis of the research which has been conducted on our continent into the effects of CLIL programs. It transpires from this review that, while at first blush it might seem that outcome-oriented investigations into CLIL effects abound throughout our continent, there is still a well-documented paucity of research in this area. The article concludes by identifying future research agendas to continue mapping the CLIL terrain. The ultimate aim of this three-pronged examination of the past, present, and future of CLIL is to depart from the lessons learned from recent research and to signpost ways forward in order to guarantee a success-prone implementation of this timely solution to European plurilingual education.
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A simple way to find out something about how well a person knows a language (or more than one language) is to ask him or her in language X: "Do you speak language X?" Another is to hire a professional psychometrist to construct a more sophisticated test. Neither of these alternatives, however, is apt to satisfy the needs of the language teacher in the classroom nor any other educator, whether in a multilingual context or not. The first method is too subject to error, and the second is too complicated and expensive. Somewhere between the extreme simplicity of just asking and the development of standardized tests there ought to be reasonable procedures that the classroom teacher could use confidently. This book suggests that many such usable, practical- classroom testing procedures exist and it attempts to provide language teachers and educators in bilingual programs or other multilingual contexts access to those procedures. The emphasis is reversed in this book. We concentrate here on pragmatic testing procedures which generally do not require pre- testing, statistical evaluation, or re-writing before they can be applied in the classroom or some other educational context. Such tests can be shown to be as appropriate to monolingual contexts as they are to multilingual and multicultural educational settings. Most teachers whether in a foreign language classroom or in a multilingual school do not have the time nor the technical background necessary for multiple choice test development, much less for the work that goes into the standardization of such tests. Therefore, this book focuses on how to make, give, and evaluate valid and reliable language tests of a pragmatic sort.
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Chapter
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For decades educational psychologists have bemoaned the black box approach of much research on learning, that is, the focus on product rather than process, and the absence of fine-grained analysis of the learning process in the individual. One way that progress has been made on this point in the last couple of decades is through cognitive neuroscience, but even there what is documented is mostly the product of learning, possibly at different stages, rather than the process. An alternative way of trying to understand processes that are hard or impossible to observe is to infer them from the way individual difference variables interact with linguistic and contextual variables. In this article I draw from a wide variety of studies to illustrate how the interactions between aptitudes and treatments, age and treatments, age and aptitudes, age and structures, and aptitudes and structures point to different learning processes. I stress how such interaction research is much more than the sum of its parts, making suggestions for a research agenda to sharpen the focus on the process in second language learning.
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The effect of age of acquisition on ultimate attainment in second language learning has been a controversial topic for years. After providing a very brief overview of the ideas that are at the core of the controversy, I discuss the two main reasons why these issues are so controversial: conceptual misunderstandings and methodological difficulties. The main part of the article then makes suggestions for improvement in subject selection, data collection, and instrumentation, in the hope that both sides of the debate will be able to agree on them. More sophisticated research in this area is of the utmost importance given how crucial understanding age effects is for educational policy and curriculum design. Where foreign language learning rather than second language learning is concerned, directly relevant research, carried out with classroom foreign language learners, is even more sorely needed.
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This study examines the effects of learning context and age on second language development by comparing the language gains, measured in terms of oral and written fluency, lexical and syntactic complexity, and accuracy, experienced by four groups of learners of English: children in a study abroad setting, children in their at‐home school, adults in a study abroad setting, and adults in their at‐home university. Results show that the study abroad context was superior to the at‐home context, and more advantageous for children than for adults in comparative gains, although adults outscored children in absolute gains. The interaction between learning context and age suggests that studying abroad was particularly beneficial for children, who also had more opportunities for oral language practice.
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A number of studies on CLIL, particularly from Spain, which is familiar to this author, will be analysed to show that there are numerous anomalies not only in the research, but in the analysis, and doubts about the conclusions drawn. CLIL instruction is not always necessarily that beneficial, and there is every reason to believe some students may be prejudiced by CLIL, and that not only academic, but also institutional, interests may be taking precedence over some students’ interests in the state educational sector. Some research issues are covered in the detailed analysis of one study before a plea is made for ensuring that disinterested research is carried out into the overall effects of CLIL initiatives in state educational institutions and systems, so that the welfare of all state-school students is recognised and respected.
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This paper focuses on the effects of age on second language learning, specifically in foreign language settings. It begins by pointing out that the effects of learners' initial age of learning in foreign language learning settings are partially different from those in naturalistic language learning settings and, furthermore, that studies in the former context have produced conflicting results. In an attempt to clarify these divergent findings, the present paper examines methodological issues as a way of re-analysing the existing evidence from research conducted in foreign language settings. The discussion contends that this kind of methodological clarification may permit robust findings to emerge which are specific to age effects in foreign or instructed language learning settings and go some way towards clarifying the existing picture.
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It is argued that the relatively minor impact of research on policy decisions in bilingual education stems primarily not from the lack of research data nor from the sociopolitical ramifications of bilingual education, but from the invalid theoretical assumptions with which the research findings have been approached. In particular, there has been a failure to adequately conceptualize the construct of language proficiency and its cross-lingual dimensions. Two theoretical posi­tions on these issues are elaborated: 1. Cognitive/academic language proficiency (CALP) becomes differentiated and can be empirically distinguished from basic interpersonal communicative skills (B1CS) in both LI and L2; 2. LI and L2 CALP are interdependent - i.e. manifestations of the same underlying dimension. The implications of these positions for bilingual education in the United States are described in relation to current assumptions regarding entry and exit criteria. The “entry fallacy” consists of the assumption that a con­sideration of superficial linguistic factors is adequate to determine whether or not a particular student, or subgroup of students, re­quires bilingual education. The “exit fallacy” consists of the assump­tions that mainstreaming minority children out of a bilingual pro­gram into an English-only program will promote the development of English literacy skills more effectively than if children were main­tained in a bilingual program.
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This paper presents arguments in favor of using partial dictation as a test of foreign language proficiency. In this kind of test, subjects listen to recordings of material in the foreign language and are required to fill in missing words in a written version of the recordings. Partial dictation is preferable to ordinary dictation in that: (1) it makes possible the use of different voices and speech situations; (2) it is more economical; and (3) the testing situation is more natural, being subject to fewer interruptions. In addition, partial dictation appears to be reliable and to correspond very well to other measures of foreign language proficiency; it is easy to construct, administer, and score; and it is useful, not only as a measure of listening comprehension, but as a global estimate of language proficiency. An incomplete analysis is presented of errors found in connection with this test, on the levels of phonology, lexicology, and grammar. Appendices contain two sample passages used in a partial dictation test, and a listing of average scores for each item, from a random sampling of 20 subjects. (Author/AM)
This paper sets out to position CLIL research within the broader field of bilingual education in the 21st century. In considering the development of CLIL across diverse European contexts, the author problematises the construction of a research agenda which lies at the interface of several different fields of study. A conceptual framework for CLIL is presented which reorientates the integration of language and content in order to inform and develop CLIL pedagogies from a ‘holistic’ perspective. Using the 4Cs Framework for analysis, the author concludes that for CLIL research to ‘mature’, the nature and design of the research must evolve to identify CLIL-specific issues whilst drawing on a much wider frame of reference. This poses a challenge for a future CLIL research agenda which must ‘connect’ and be ‘connected’ if the potential of CLIL is to be realised.
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Used multiple-group structural equation modeling to analyze structural relationships between latent factors underlying writing-related developmental skills and component writing skills in Grades 1–6. For handwriting, both motor skills and orthographic coding contributed to the model fit, but only the path from orthographic coding was significant at all grade levels. For spelling, only the path from orthographic coding was significant in the primary grades, but both that path and the path from phonological coding were significant in the intermediate grades. For compositional quality, both reading and oral language contributed in the primary grades, but the model was unclear in the intermediate grades because of high covariance between those factors. Theoretical and educational implications of the findings are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This study was designed to test the Fundamental Difference Hypothesis (Bley-Vroman, 1988), which states that, whereas children are known to learn language almost completely through (implicit) domain-specific mechanisms, adults have largely lost the ability to learn a language without reflecting on its structure and have to use alternative mechanisms, drawing especially on their problem-solving capacities, to learn a second language. The hypothesis implies that only adults with a high level of verbal analytical ability will reach near-native competence in their second language, but that this ability will not be a significant predictor of success for childhood second language acquisition. A study with 57 adult Hungarian-speaking immigrants confirmed the hypothesis in the sense that very few adult immigrants scored within the range of child arrivals on a grammaticality judgment test, and that the few who did had high levels of verbal analytical ability; this ability was not a significant predictor for childhood arrivals. This study replicates the findings of Johnson and Newport (1989) and provides an explanation for the apparent exceptions in their study. These findings lead to a reconceptualization of the Critical Period Hypothesis: If the scope of this hypothesis is limited to implicit learning mechanisms, then it appears that there may be no exceptions to the age effects that the hypothesis seeks to explain.
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Theoretical claims about the benefits of conversational interaction have been made by Gass (1997), Long (1996), Pica (1994), and others. The Interaction Hypothesis suggests that negotiated interaction can facilitate SLA and that one reason for this could be that, during interaction, learners may receive feedback on their utterances. An interesting issue, which has challenged interactional research, concerns how learners perceive feedback and whether their perceptions affect their subsequent L2 development. The present research addresses the first of these issues–learners' perceptions about interactional feedback. The study, involving 10 learners of English as a second language and 7 learners of Italian as a foreign language, explores learners' perceptions about feedback provided to them through task-based dyadic interaction. Learners received feedback focused on a range of morphosyntactic, lexical, and phonological forms. After completing the tasks, learners watched videotapes of their previous interactions and were asked to introspect about their thoughts at the time the original interactions were in progress. The results showed that learners were relatively accurate in their perceptions about lexical, semantic, and phonological feedback. However, morphosyntactic feedback was generally not perceived as such. Furthermore, the nature as well as the content of the feedback may have affected learners' perceptions.