CLIL. Content and language integrated learning

Diploma Thesis, 2008

113 Pages, Grade: 1,0




2.1.3 TYPES OF KNOWLEDGE Implicit versus Explicit Knowledge Linguistic versus Domain Knowledge Declarative versus Procedural Knowledge Conceptual versus Episodic Knowledge

3.1.2 WHAT IS LEARNING? Types of Learning Approaches to Learning
3.1.3 WHAT IS TEACHING? Model of Knowledge Creation Teaching Methods

4.1.1 TYPES OF KNOWLEDGE REPRESENTATION Internal Representation External Representation


6.3.1 SCHOOLS IN AUSTRIA The Legal Basis for CLIL Linguistic Situation Teachers
6.4.1 OBJECTIVES OF THE AUSTRIAN CURRICULUM FOR FOREIGN LANGUAGES Secondary Level: Lower Grades Secondary Level: Higher Grades
6.4.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE AUSTRIAN CURRICULUM FOR BIOLOGY Secondary Level: Lower Grades Secondary Level: Higher Grades
6.6.4 FOREIGN LANGUAGE DIDACTICS Secondary Level: Lower Grades Secondary Level: Higher Grades
6.7.1 LANGUAGE Language Use Linguistic Diversity Language Learning







Fig. 1: The Difference between Knowledge and Information

Fig. 2: Conceptual Representation of Ba

Fig. 3: Model for the Relationship between Represented and Representing Entities

Fig. 4: Possible Combinations of Language Instruction in Austria

Fig. 5: Results of Questionnaires at LISA: Comprehension

Fig. 6: Results of Questionnaires at LISA: Translation

Fig. 7: Resources of Material in CLIL


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Europe is moving closer together. Diverse nations, communities, cultures and language groups are building a single Union. “It is a Union built around the equal interchange of ideas and traditions and founded upon the mutual acceptance of people with different histories but a common future” (Commission of the European Communities, 2003:3).

Since the European Union will be home to citizens from different cultural and linguistic background, it is becoming more important than ever that peoples have the skills to understand each other and to communicate with their neighbours. To achieve the goal of mutual understanding, it is, among other factors, necessary to promote effective language learning. One way of promoting language learning is the access to appropriate education at school. However, there are other ways of language learning. People, for instance, acquire language skills when they are exposed to languages in natural environments. (ibid.)

The focus in this diploma thesis is on language learning at school. During the Education, Youth and Culture Council in May 2005, the Luxembourg Presidency focussed on the ever changing European classroom and the potential of multi-lingual education. It has placed language learning and linguistic diversity high on the European agenda. There is a fairly new approach to learning which combines the transmission of domain specific knowledge and linguistic knowledge. This means that biology, for instance, is not only taught in the mother tongue, but also in a foreign language. In expert community, this approach is known as Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) and “has a major contribution to make to the Union’s language learning goals” (Commission of the European Communities, 2003:9).

Additional language learning prepares pupils for a competitive, international market. Consequently, it increases their mobility within Europe as well as across the whole world. Foreign language skills do not only help to understand people from various nations and to communicate effectively with each other, but these skills improve general cognitive and intercultural skills. Knowledge of other languages and cultures makes European citizens more open-minded about different people.

At school, it is the task of a teacher to fulfil the qualifications defined by the EU. On the one hand teachers are enthusiastic about such novel approaches to learning, but on the other hand they are confronted with difficult or different methodology of teaching. New approaches to learning imply specific competence in knowledge creation, communication and representation for which teachers were not specifically trained.

Not only do teachers have to get used to the new approach, but also pupils have to be introduced to CLIL. They are the ones who should profit most. Without their motivation and enthusiasm CLIL cannot work. Besides, English is not the mother language of most pupils and teachers at Austrian schools. Therefore the use of English as a medium can be an obstacle.

My first aim is to describe the main words in the context of CLIL which lead to the explanation and definition of CLIL. Many parents and pupils are not familiar with the term and the concept. There are still some teachers who believe that they practise CLIL although they obviously do not. A clear definition is essential. Additionally, pupils, parents and teachers shall get an insight into the current situation of CLIL in Austria.

Secondly, in this diploma thesis I point out the benefits of CLIL, as well as its limits regarding a practical use in class. For this purpose I compare and analyse different opinions of various critics and experts. To provide a better impression, I conducted three interviews with teachers or teacher trainers of CLIL who commented on several hypotheses based on the theory. These interviews are also presented in this diploma thesis. Each of the interview partners views CLIL from a different perspective and offers new information combined with practical examples from their own experience.


An Arabian proverb says that there are five different types of people regarding their knowledge: Those who do not know and do not know they do not know - they are fools. Shun them. Those who do not know and know they do not know - they are simple. Teach them. Those who know and do not know they know - they are asleep. Wake them. Finally, there are those who know and know they know - they are wise. Follow them.

But what does it actually mean to know something? What is knowledge? A single definition is not available. Psychology, physiology, philosophy, linguistics and other fields of discourse have different answers to that question.

2.1 Internal Defining Characteristics

For a better understanding of knowledge, it is helpful to have a look on its internal defining characteristics as well as on its contrasting concepts.

2.1.1 What is Knowledge?

Knowledge can be characterised relative to its component parts and its internal qualities.

2.1.2 Units of Knowledge

If knowledge were a building, its elementary building blocks or basic units would be concepts. “Concepts are mental categories which group information into similar events, ideas, objects or people” (Woolfolk 1993:286). They are “typically derived from observations or reflections” (Wieden, 2007). Concepts are usually given a visual representation, a verbal address or designation. Its internal defining characteristics as well as examples of application are indicated to make concepts better accessible (ibid.):

- Designation: Computer
- Internal defining characteristics: a technical device for storing data, ...
- It is used for text processing, document management, ...

Concepts are essential in dealing with reality. They bear meaning and can be expressed in various languages. However, it is important to note that while cat in English, Katze in German and chat in French denote the same concept, there are other words which cannot be translated and do not describe the same concept in different languages. Innuits, for instance, have many words for the concept of the white colour which do not exist in other languages.

Since concepts are mental categories, the concepts of two people are never quite the same. People from different cultural background, class and age group might have different concepts. In order to generate a better understanding of the world a collection of such individual topical concepts must be linked by relational concepts. The result are complex building blocks. (Wieden, 2007). The following sentence is one example of relational concepts: Cats like to catch mice.

2.1.3 Types of Knowledge

Human knowledge can be viewed as a conglomerate of highly diverse types of knowledge. Accordingly, what makes human knowledge could be a set of impressions, episodic memories, impressions, beliefs, assumptions, and data (Wieden, 2007).

In the following section, only those types of knowledge are mentioned, which are relevant for the purpose of this paper. The distinctions are possible dimensions of knowledge. Implicit versus Explicit Knowledge

Japanese people and companies have a different understanding of knowledge than the Western world in general because “they recognize that the knowledge expressed in words and numbers represents only the tip of the iceberg” (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995:8). To them, knowledge is primarily “tacit- something not easily visible and expressible”.

A large part of knowledge is intuitively available, highly personal and hard to formalize. This type of knowledge is also called implicit knowledge. Implicit knowledge exists “unconsciously and can therefore not be articulated or otherwise consciously accessed. Implicit knowledge becomes visible as knowledge-which-is-in-the doing” (Ellis, 1994b:1). Examples of implicit knowledge are subjective insights, intuitions, and hunches.

According to Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995:8), tacit knowledge can be classified realtive to two dimensions. The first dimension is the technical one which “encompasses the kind of informal and hard-to-pin-down skills or crafts captured in the term “know-how””. Sometimes, however, it is hard to describe one’s “know-how”.

At the same time, tacit knowledge contains an important cognitive dimension. It consists of schemata, mental models, beliefs, and perception so ingrained that we take them for granted. The cognitive dimension of tacit knowledge reflects our image of reality and our vision of the future (ibid.).

A smaller part of knowledge can be communicated to someone else. This type is called explicit knowledge. Explicit knowledge is “knowledge which a person can consciously use, reflect upon or articulate” (Ellis, 1994:1). It “can be expressed in words and numbers, and easily communicated” (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995:8). Linguistic versus Domain Knowledge

The definition of linguistic and domain knowledge is essential when dealing with language learning and teaching in general. Among other definitions, Edmonson (1999:232) argues that linguistic knowledge is knowledge that enables us - together with other kinds of knowledge - to extract meaning from input, and, further, to change a thought we wish to communicate into an internal linguistic representation or plan, that can be passed on to language production muscular systems, whether for speaking or writing.

In order to speak, write, listen or read properly, people have to be familiar with the grammar and pronunciation rules of a language. Furthermore, they should have a certain inventory of words and be familiar with the use of these words. At school, linguistic knowledge is traditionally applied in language classes, such as German, English, Spanish or French. Semantic knowledge, which is also essential for speaking, writing, reading and listening activities, is not part of linguistic, but of domain knowledge. Domain knowledge is expert knowledge or knowledge of particular domains of life. It is usually applied in content classes such as biology, geography or history. Declarative versus Procedural Knowledge

Declarative knowledge is regarded as the basis of procedural knowledge. It is, in other words “factual knowledge that people can report or describe” (Anderson, 1993:18).

If a person knows that cats belong to the species of mammals he or she reverts to his or her declarative knowledge. A further example would be the description of the characteristics of mammals.

Procedural knowledge is dynamic knowledge and describes the way of knowing how a certain result can be obtained by specific procedures, as being involved in problem solving and in the production of new knowledge, and as more than a set of propositional sentences arrived from declarative knowledge” (Ostner-Frank, 1995:10).

Procedural knowledge is mostly tacit or implicit. It cannot be articulated. People can apply their procedural knowledge with the help of prior observations or experiments. If pupils, for instance, are already familiar with the process of an experiment, they will be able to apply their procedural knowledge to experiments in general. Conceptual versus Episodic Knowledge

Knowledge can also be categorized relative to its concreteness.

People, on the one hand, have knowledge about very personal experience and events. This type of knowledge is called episodic knowledge. People retain events or episodes from their life in memory.

Conceptual knowledge, on the other hand, is about ideas which are most difficult to assess. The basic unit of such knowledge can be a concept.

2.2 External Defining Characteristics

In order to understand the concept of knowledge, it is helpful to demarcate it from other concepts which are often confused with knowledge. The purpose of the following section is to make clear the difference between knowledge and these concepts.

2.2.1 Knowledge versus Information

Information is often confused with knowledge. Information is essential for the development of knowledge but the terms knowledge and information do not describe the same concept.

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Fig. 1: The Difference between Knowledge and Information

Information, one the one hand, is “data obtaining meaning in a special context which is concrete, practical and subjective”. Information is, in other words, “a flow of messages” (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995:438). Knowledge represents “a combination of information, understanding and capability. It is created and organized by the very flow of information, anchored on the commitment and beliefs of its holder (ibid.) and “can not be found in any database, but in people’s minds” (Groff and Jones, 2003:3).

2.2.2 Knowledge versus Skills

Skills are abilities to carry out tasks. They are “highly automatised patterns of behaviour, typically a result of repeated action and learning in comparable environments” (Wieden, 2007). One example for the application of skills is driving a caterpillar or delivering public speeches.

There are productive and receptive skills. If pupils in class work on reading or listening tasks, they apply their receptive skills, while pupils who work on writing or speaking tasks apply their productive skills.

“If skills and knowledge can be put to work in coordinated ways, one may speak of competences” (Wieden, 2007).

2.3 The Function of Knowledge

Knowledge is no good if you don’t apply it.

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Knowledge always “originates and is applied in the minds of knowers” (Tiwana, 2000:5). It is not enough to know something without being able to apply one’s knowledge. The knowledge of grammatical rules of a language, for instance, has to be applied to writing, listening, reading and speaking tasks. It “evolves with experience, successes, failures, and learning over time” and can not be found in any database” (Tiwana, 2000:57). Knowledge is then “available in the right place at the right time, in the right context, and in the right way” (ibid.)


3.1 Internal Defining Characteristics

3.1.1 What is Knowledge Creation?

At school, people can develop knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and habits. This process involves both learning and teaching.

3.1.2 What is Learning?

To develop knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and habits, people have to be willing to learn. Learning can either refer to the addition of new elements to existing competence or it can mean the change of quality of already existing competence. An example for the first type would be learning another language; an example for the second type would be the change of linguistic knowledge from A-level to B-level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Wolff (1996:2), who is influenced by cognition psychology, cognitive science, radical constructivism, biology as well as by neurophysiology, describes learning in the following way:

- Understanding and learning are seen as active processes of construction involving the incoming perceptual stimuli and the learner's current state of knowledge.
- Learning is an autonomous process carried out mainly by the learner himself or herself in an independent way.
- Learning is a process organised by the learner acting on his or her own initiative but with the result that autonomous responsibility and organisation emerge from the inherent logic and sense within a specific item pertaining to the learning process.
- Learning is an exploratory process planned by the learner acting within a paradigm based on hypothesis formation and testing.
- Learning is a process controlled by the learner who makes use of strategies.
- Learning is a process which works particularly well in groups. Learning is a process which benefits very greatly from a varied and authentic learning environment.
- The outcome of any particular learning process varies from learner to learner, because knowledge is always subjective and takes different forms for each particular learner.

The process of learning, further, depends on the type of memory affected (Wieden, 2007):

- Skills (related to procedural memory) are typically learned through practice.
- Conceptual knowledge (if related to implicit memory) is typically learned through positive and negative feedback from experiences.
- Conceptual knowledge (if related to explicit declarative memory) is typically learned through reflection.

Sustainable learning results are related to long-term memory, while short-term memory helps to process available input for long-term storage. This is why learning processes are usually viewed in terms of "multi-store models" (Eysenck, 2006:151). Types of Learning

Learning can be categorised according to the individual’s consciousness during the process and according to the direction of knowledge transfer, starting form and focusing on either learner or teacher.

“Explicit learning is a more conscious operation where the individual makes and tests hypotheses in a search for structure. Knowledge attainment can thus take place explicitly through selective learning” (Ellis, 1994:1). This type of learning is an active process. People build mental structures of information that is presented to them. Explicit learning implies that knowledge can be transferred from one person to another, or, in this case, from the expert teacher to a learner.

In contrast to teaching-centeredness, there is a learning-centred approach where the focus is on the learner. As opposed to explicit learning, implicit learning is a passive process. People are exposed to input and acquire knowledge through that input. “This orientation starts from the assumption that knowledge (and skills) cannot be transferred, but must be acquired through the learners themselves; under this approach the teacher's role is that of a guide, coach or motivator” (Wieden, 2007).

The assumption that “the human brain is a strongly self-organising system which operates less with reliance on external stimuli, but rather with reliance on self-constructed representations of the external world” (Wieden, 2007) goes hand in hand with Roth’s quotation which says that “we perform our highest and most complex actions without being conscious of them” (1997:9).

Krashen (1994:45) distinguishes between learning and acquisition. Whilst he defines "learning" in his Acquisition Learning Hypothesis in terms of "conscious" and "explicit", he characterises "acquisition" mainly in terms of "unconscious" and "implicit".

Wendt, on the other hand, avoids the words “conscious” versus “subconscious” and shows how the various stages of consciousness develop step by step from strategies into routines:

Although the application does not always take place at the conscious level, subconsciously selected strategies can be raised to consciousness by introspection […] brought to consciousness by subsequent queries or [...] by being controlled. They are constantly being consciously set up before they can be made automatic to become routines. (1997:77)

Both types of learning are evident in many learning environments and it is difficult to find a situation in which only one type of learning is engaged. Approaches to Learning

There are many theories which describe learning. For the purpose of this paper only a few of them are described. It is important to note, however, that the following approaches do not exclude each other, but rather complement one another.

In the context of learning, behaviourism is mainly concerned with skills and the conditions of learning. According to Eggen and Kauchak (2001:214) learning is “a permanent change in observable behaviour which occurs as a result of experience”. Learning can be seen as an outcome or the end product of a process. Practice seems necessary to automatise patterns of behaviour.

One example of the behaviouristic view of learning is practice and drill. Here, pupils learn the pronunciation of words. The teacher pronounces words correctly and pupils have to repeat them.

Cognitivism became the more dominant approach in the late 20th century. Experts in the field of cognitive psychology, as for instance, the psychologist Jean Piaget, examine the inner mechanisms of human thought and the processes of knowing. They try to explain “the alleged mental structures that stand in a causal relationship to our physical actions” (Wikipedia, 2007).

The cognitive view of learning sees people as active processors of information who initiate experiences that lead to learning, seek out information to solve problems, and reorganize what they already know to achieve new learning. Instead of being passively influenced by environmental events, people actively choose, practise, pay attention, ignore, and make many other responses as they pursue goals. (Woolfolk, 1993:239).

Studies by Piaget show, that “one of the characteristic concepts within this approach is the emergence of development stages (competence learning)” (Wieden, 2007).

According to Eggen and Kauchak (2001:258), in the human mind, information processing involves the interplay of three major components. First, there are different stores through which information has to pass, second, cognitive processes make this happen and third, meta-cognitive processes are the force of control.

(1) The Information Stores

The first step of this model implies that information enters the brain through the sensory memory as environmental stimuli. Information then passes on to the working memory and is held there for as long as the learner uses it.

Much information gets lost in the working memory because its capacity is limited to about seven different items at a time (cf. Schunk, 2000). Only a few items reach the long-term memory, where the items become represented mentally and permanently stored.

(2) Cognitive Processes

According to Eggen and Kauchak (2001:259) cognitive processes are “intellectual actions that transform information and move it from one store to another”. There are five processes:

- Attention: Attention is crucial. Only information which is attended can be learned.
- Perception: Perception is the act of attaching meaning to incoming information.
- Rehearsal: Rehearsal means that information is repeated and its form is not altered. Here, information can be kept in the working memory or transferred to the long term memory.
- Encoding: Encoding involves relating information to existing knowledge.
- Retrieval: Retrieval is the activation of stored knowledge for further processing in the working memory.

(3) Metacognition

Metacognition is knowledge about and awareness of one’s thinking and learning. It allows the learner to monitor the cognitive processes involved in learning and to control them. Metacognition does not influence learning but the learner rather employs learning strategies. These strategies then allow him to influence the five individual cognitive processes and thus the process as a whole.

A cognitive approach to learning can produce meaningful knowledge.

Little information is available on the interaction of both approaches. Obviously, they do interact and both types are relevant for the process of learning.

3.1.3 What is Teaching?

Teaching is “the process of imparting knowledge or skills to another person” (Merriam- Webster, 2007). Teachers have to provide pupils with appropriate input to enable them to learn successfully at school. They have to keep different types of knowledge and learning in mind. Teaching is more than knowledge communication. It also demands knowledge representation in ways that learners can follow. The following model describes the way of knowledge creation and the difficulty of “imparting knowledge to another person” (ibid.) Model of Knowledge Creation

When teachers try to communicate knowledge , they have to consider a number of factors. Since knowledge is a subjective phenomenon, it is not only “a part of the reality, but it is a reality viewed from a certain angle”. The same reality can be viewed differently. In knowledge creation, “one cannot be free from one’s own social, cultural, and historical background.” Such contexts are the basis for the interpretation of information to create meanings. Knowledge is created through the interaction between tacit and explicit knowledge. (Nonaka and Toyama, 2003:7). Nonaka and Toyama (2003:7) describe the process of knowledge creation in form of a model which consists of the following three basic steps.

The model of knowledge creation starts with socialization. Socialization is the process of converting new tacit knowledge through shared experiences in day-to-day social interaction. Explicit knowledge can also be embodied through simulations or experiments. “Learning-by- doing” is “an effective method to test, modify, and embody explicit knowledge as one’s own tacit knowledge”.

Self-transcendence is fundamental because tacit knowledge can only be shared through direct experiences, which go beyond individuals. For example, in the socialization process people empathize with their colleagues and this process diminishes barriers between individuals. (Nonaka and Toyama, 2003:3)

Nonaka and Toyama state that basically, frequent physical interaction and perception help to create shared mental presentations and routines. In externalization, an individual transcends the inner and outer boundaries of the self by committing to the group and becoming one with it. Here, “the sum of the individuals’ intentions and ideas fuse and become integrated with the group’s mental world”. (2003:4). This stage is integral because the externalization of knowledge often helps people to see that the same phenomenon can be viewed in many different and contrasting ways.

If people commit to the group, they might profit from their colleagues´ contribution. This process is also called combination. New knowledge is generated through externalization and transcends the group to be combined. The next step is to expand the mental network. Ideally, people embed new knowledge into existing knowledge through internalization, where, “individuals reflect upon themselves by putting themselves in the context of newly acquired knowledge and the environment where the knowledge should be utilized”. This step requires self-transcendence. (Nonaka and Toyama, 2003:6)

The movement through the four modes of knowledge conversion from the model form a spiral, not a circle. In the spiral of knowledge creation, the interaction between tacit and explicit knowledge is amplified through the four modes of knowledge conversion. (ibid.)

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Fig. 2: Conceptual Representation of Ba

The knowledge-creating process is necessarily context-specific in terms of time, space, and relationship with others. Knowledge cannot be created in vacuum, and needs a place where information is given meaning through interpretation to become knowledge.

Ba in the figure above provides the energy, quality, and places to perform the individual knowledge conversions and to move along the knowledge spiral. In other words, ba is a phenomenological time and space where knowledge, as ‘a stream of meaning’ emerges. New knowledge is created out of existing knowledge through the change of meanings and contexts. Ba should be understood as a multiple interacting mechanism explaining tendencies for interactions that occur at a specific time and space. (Nonaka and Toyama, 2003:7)

Ba can emerge in individuals, working groups, project teams, informal circles, temporary meetings and virtual space such as e-mail groups. In Ba participants share their contexts and create new meanings through interactions. They bring in their own contexts, and through interactions with others and the environment, the contexts of ba, participants, and the environment change. (2003:6)

Nonaka et al. finally argue that the transformation is interactive and spiral. When viewed as a continuous process, the model becomes a clockwise spiral, increasing in depth with each iteration. Teaching Methods

There is a variety of teaching methods and the choice of a specific one often depends on the background knowledge of learners, the environment, the type of knowledge afftected and the goals of teaching.


Today, people often associate a teacher’s lecture with something negative. They assume, that teachers force pupils to reception and furthermore do not encourage active participation.

According to Berck (2001:151), it is necessary to give a lecture as a teacher. It sometimes seems impossible for pupils to study books and articles in order to understand complex domain knowledge. It is a very specific part of a teacher’s job to communicate and create complex domain knowledge. However, a “question-answer” teaching method in this case would make the whole process of knowledge communication much more difficult.

One reason for the use of this teaching method is the time limit set at schools. Teachers often prefer a lecture to other methods in order to “move on” with their subject matter. The following factors are important when a teacher takes a lecture into account:

- The lecture should last ten to not more than fifteen minutes.
- The sentences should be short and the teacher should introduce the lesson with an interesting starting point.
- The teacher should address the pupils directly and vary his or her voice.
- The teacher should stress the most important aspects with his or her voice and pause from time to time.
- The teachers should keep eye-contact with his or her pupils.
- The teacher should also emphasize his or her own interest in the topic (with jokes or interesting narrations).
- The teacher should avoid fillers like “ehm”, “ahh”, “okay”.
- The teacher should decide in advance whether questions are allowed in this phase.
- The teacher should avoid unnecessary technical terms and if necessary write these on the blackboard and stress them acoustically.
- The teacher should offer interesting examples.
- The teacher should use new media in order to motivate the pupils and in that way improve their understanding of the topic.

Furthermore, pupils have to take notes while the teacher talks. They should ask questions afterwards and should be able to describe the essential contents of the lecture.

Pupils can also give a talk. These lectures, of course, serve another purpose. If pupils choose a topic of interest themselves, they are usually very motivated. Berck (2001:152) suggests that this method increases their acknowledgement. Important aspects of a pupil’s lecture are:

- The teacher has to define the topic and the duration of the talk in advance (max. 20 min.)
- The teacher should provide the pupils with literature
- The teacher should not allow question during the talk but afterwards


The name of the first type of conversation is “Impulsfrage”. When teachers use an “Impulsfrage”, they ask questions during the whole lesson. According to Berck (2001:154), this is the most practised method at school.

The reason for this phenomenon is that teachers do not have to prepare their questions at home. Most teachers can ask questions spontaneously. Usually, pupils have to give short answers.

The second type of conversation is a “question as stimulus”. This teaching method, according to Berck (ibid.), encourages more demanding answers on an open discussion of higher level. Here, teachers ask questions which stimulate the pupils to think about the topic more deeply, to formulate hypotheses, to coordinate the new information into already existing knowledge, and to actively participate. Sometimes the process of thinking can occupy several minutes or even an hour and it can also lead to another topic.

Bloom et al. (cf. Berck, 2001:153) state that the “taxonomy of cognitive teaching aims” can be used to determine the quality level of a question. Here is one example of biology lessons to each level:

- Knowledge: Define the term gene
- Understanding: Which function does the nucleus have in its “rest”?
- Application: What can you conclude from the relation of the bases in the DNA?
- Analysis: Which proofs do you know of energetic radiation? 17
- Synthesis: Which experiment helps you to find out if there is a mutation among a colony of bacteria?
- Assessment: Should it be legal for markets to sell genetically modified food? Which arguments do you know for and which arguments do you know against the selling of such food?

If a teacher decides to ask questions during lessons, both, questions as stimuli and questions which demand short answers, he or she has to follow certain principles (Berck, 2001:154):

- Structure: Teachers very often structure their lessons in that way: Teacher - pupil - teacher - pupil and so on. This means that after each questions by the teacher there is an answer by the pupils. Whereas the following example of the “question-answer” structure shows that the teacher motivates the pupils´ to actively participate: Teacher asks - pupil answers - pupil asks - pupil answers - teacher asks
- Pausing and waiting: It is important for teachers to insert speaking pauses after each question. Empirical investigations show a series of positive effects when the time between question and answer is at least three to five seconds; the answers, for instance, show a much higher cognitive quality and they are also longer; the number of errors decreases; slow pupils answer more often and pupils ask more questions.
- Existing knowledge: When a teacher asks questions as stimuli, he or she has to be informed about the existing knowledge of pupils which helps them to find meaningful answers. Otherwise the answer could become a simple guess.

Examples for secondary forms II (age: 14-18/19) in biology:

- Why should we try to save different species from extinction?
- What do you have to know if you want to set up a protected area around a lake and want different species to settle there?

Group Work

The first teype of group work is a form of independent and common treatment of a topic where at least two pupils work together. Berck (2001:154) suggests that teachers can provide the pupils with material, some good advice, but teachers should basically let them work alone.

In the second type of group work, each group member has his or her part of work. According to Watson´s (cf. Berck, 2001:154) investigations and experience, group work does not change a lesson completely, but it is an additional, useful teaching method. However, Seymor´s and Padberg´s (cf. ibid.) investigations show that group learning improves the pupils´ communication skills and their skills for problem solving. Furthermore, it provides them with an insight into scientific findings and improves their general knowledge.

Watson (cf. ibid.) presents several conditions which are necessary for successful group work:

- More pupils receive a task which each group member has to deal with independently.

Then the group has to work on the task together and find solutions.

- There will only be a positive result if each group member has successfully come to a conclusion.
- Each group member has to hand in a report.
- The group members have to work on a topic which they later have to be experts on.
- The group has to give a talk on the topic either in front of their own group or in front of other groups.
- Competition among the groups increases success.
- A group chooses one main topic and splits it up into pieces. Each group member has to deal with one piece which contributes to the final solution.
- The teacher and the pupils have to fix a topic.
- The teacher has to fix the aim.
- The teacher has to form groups with an appropriate number of pupils.
- Each group has to collect ideas and hypotheses for its investigations.
- Each group member has to know what she/he has to do (especially when they have to work at home, as well).
- The teacher helps to develop strategies to come to a conclusion or controls the results.
- Each group member should take part in the presentation of the results.


Formally, projects were not a teaching form but were introduced with the purpose to change the whole system of schools through the abolition of different subjects and forms. The aim was to establish a “democratic school”.

Hansel (cf. Berck, 2001:1555) describes the didactics of projects as follows:

- The organisational structure has to be individualised.
- There must not be rigid plans.
- Teachers have to orientate themselves according to the needs of their pupils.
- Interdisciplinary lessons are important.

According to research by Eschenhagen et al. (cf. Berck, 2001:156), advantages of projects in class are:

- more fun at school
- learning according to individual ideas
- cooperation among pupils
- less competition
- interdisciplinary lessons
- inclusion of many senses
- the role of the teacher changes
- the pupils can use their own fantasy und experience
- the teacher and the pupils combine theory and practice
- the teacher and the pupils set the goal together

One disadvantage of projects in class could be that pupils often do not take this teaching method seriously. Another problem is the relevance of topics that pupils choose. They often do not conform to the curriculum.

Eschenhagen and Hedewig (cf. Berck, 2001:156, 157) name the most essential requirements for successful projects in class:

- The topic has to be relevant for the extension and development of specific knowledge.
- The topic has to deal with a certain problem.
- The pupils must have the necessary knowledge.
- The pupils have to be able to apply their knowledge in order to develop strategies to solve the problem.
- The pupils must have the opportunity to test their solutions practically.
- The pupils should find out the personal and social meaning of the project.


Berck (2001:156) states that the following steps are essential for successful projects:

- A pupil or the teacher has to introduce the topic.
- The teacher and the pupils have to discuss the theory, the aims and the time limit; afterwards they have to summarize the process in form of a diagram.
- The teacher must prepare him or herself in order to deal with different aspects of the projects.
- The teacher and the pupils have to decide on the formation of groups together.
- The working phase follows.
- (The teacher and) the pupils should present the project in public (newspaper report, exhibition, event).

Projects are a suitable teaching method when they emerge from a problem or a concrete cause. Pupils are usually not interested in projects which take one week. Within such a project they are often not motivated and it does not make much sense to them. (ibid.)


There is no empirical data on the effects of role-plays in class. Nevertheless, different opinions on role-plays do exist. Cherif and Somervill (cf. Berck, 2001:157), for example, think that role-plays are an essential part of human development and that they offer a unique opportunity to establish interpersonal relationships.

Teachers can use role-plays in any lesson. According to Berck (2001:157) they might not only improve the interpersonal relationships of pupils, but also influence their thoughts and emotions. Investigations show that role-plays are real life situations in a play and this makes them so successful in class: Pupils cover up their fear of social situations and therefore become more self-confident. The pupils have to play a role and find good arguments (knowledge), tolerate different statements and stand in for their position.

There are at least two types of role-plays:

The first type is called “conflict”. Pupils work on a problem which is relevant for society. This problem leads to conflicts in real life, as well, and cannot be easily solved, as the following example for a biology lesson shows:

- Are we allowed to slaughter animals in order to eat them?
- Should abortion be legalized? Under which circumstances? Which arguments can you find for/against abortion? Think of individual women and situations.

Berck (2001:157) suggests that ideally, three parties take part in this role-play: Two parties should stand in either for or against the statement. The third party should serve as an objective authority which decides on the outcome according to the better arguments. The preparation of the role-play takes place in class. The objective authority should be active during the preparation phase as well. Usually, this party informs itself about important terms for the discussion and material on the question.

The second type is called “assessment”. This role-play seeks to compare and contrast to different situations according to their “value”.

The following steps are essential for successful projects (ibid.):

- The teacher and the pupils have to define a problem.
- They have to define roles.
- The pupils have to work on the topic (arguments, distribution of roles).
- The pupils have to write down their first arguments and their final statements.
- The pupils can discuss certain strategies.
- Then they do the role-play.

After the role-play the teacher (or the pupils) should start a discussion on the most evident arguments of the role-play. The teacher has to prepare the questions for this phase at home and during the role-play. Question for the discussion might, for instance, be: Did the parties present their arguments clearly and were the arguments easy to follow? Did the parties ask each other important questions? Were the parties tolerant but firm?

The practice of this type of teaching method takes time and therefore it is not suitable for everyday use. One the one hand teachers have to prepare material for the role-play at home which can then be used several times and decreases their effort, but on the other hand it restricts the teacher’s spontaneity.


To make knowledge accessible, teachers need to represent knowledge in appropriate ways.

4.1 Internal Defining Characteristics

4.1.1 Types of Representation Internal Representation

If people want to make use of their specific knowledge, they reflect on their existing knowledge.

Little is known about how conceptual constructs of the mind are actually addressed and what such internal representations look like. Since we are capable of making use of specific bits of knowledge without having a verbal (external) label, it is assumed that the internal codes are distinct from external codes (Wieden, 2007). External Representation

It is not possible to transfer knowledge in the same way as information. Therefore, it is necessary to code knowledge into perceptible external representations. “Normally only a fraction of personal knowledge can be coded so that details of personal experiences remain private possessions” (Wieden, 2007).

Occasionally, external and internal coding of knowledge interacts. “Making knowledge explicit to others appears to help making knowledge more explicit to oneself” (Wieden, 2007).

4.1.2 What is Knowledge Representation?

Different fields of study offer different definitions of knowledge representation. While “numerous papers have lobbied for one or another variety of representation, other papers have argued for various properties a representation should have, while still others have focused on properties that are important to the notion of representation in general” (Davis et al., 1993:17). According to Peterson (1996:7), “one way in which knowledge grows is the acquisition and application of an appropriate form of representation”.

Knowledge representation deals with ways and methods which help to make knowledge explicit. “Since knowledge is used to achieve intelligent behavior, the fundamental goal of knowledge representation is to represent knowledge in a manner as to facilitate inferencing i.e. drawing conclusions from knowledge” (Wikipedia, 2007).

4.1.3 Forms of Knowledge Representation

There are various forms of knowledge representation which all serve a different purpose. Donald Peterson (1996:7) gives the following definition of a form of representation: “A form of representation is a notation together with an interpretetation of the notation”.

According to Peterson, there are a number of interpretations and notations as, for instance, algebras, alphabets, animations, architectural drawings, choreographic notations, computer interfaces, computer models and simulations, diagrams, flow-charts, graphs, ideograms, knitting patterns, maps, mechanical models, tables, and so on. Different people might interpret these notations differently.

Marvin Minsky, a professor of Media Arts and Sciences, reports that he was frequently asked the following question by his students in the 1960s and 1970s (AAAI, 2007):

“Which kind of representation is best?" and I usually replied that we'd need more research. But now I would reply: To solve really hard problems, we'll have to use several different representations. This is because each particular kind of data structure has its own virtues and deficiencies, and none by itself would seem adequate for all the different functions involved with what we call common sense.

4.1.4 Codes of Knowledge Representation

The focus in this thesis is on externally accessible codes of knowledge representation.

There are three basically different types of codes for knowledge representation that can be distinguished. One of them is the analogous code. The analogous code is used for nearidentical replicas of the real world, like for instance, photos or video films.

A second type of code, the iconic code, is a reduced replica of an entity; this type of coding is used for the representation of both real world as well as conceptual entities. One example of an iconic code is an animated display of a process or a schematic drawing of something.


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CLIL. Content and language integrated learning
University of Salzburg  (Anglistik und Amerikanistik)
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Lydia Sajda (Author), 2008, CLIL. Content and language integrated learning, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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