Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Teaching non-language courses in a foreign language improves language learning

05.10.2011
Students who in addition to their traditional German language courses are taught other courses in German end up with both a stronger vocabulary and a better communicative ability, according to a new doctoral thesis in German from the University of Gothenburg.
The increasing globalisation has led to a focus in school curriculums on communicative ability, a type of ability that can be improved in many ways. Most researchers agree that there is a strong link between the input students of a foreign language receive and their language production. It is also generally perceived that an authentic content helps boost students’ motivation, which indirectly may facilitate language learning.

CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) is a method that is based on these principles. Karmen Terleviæ Johansson has studied how lower secondary students’ spoken German is developed when the subjects religion, civics, geography and history are taught in German too.

She assessed students’ vocabulary by having them tell a story based on the pictures in a well-known picture book and observing which communication strategies they implemented, for example when they could not think of the right word to use. She also analysed the students’ spoken English to see whether CLIL may have an indirect positive effect on their English skills as well.
‘The study points to a clear advantage for the CLIL students in all assessed aspects of vocabulary and communication strategies. They produced both longer and more varied stories than the students who were given only traditional German courses. One particularly strong finding was that the CLIL group ended up more homogenous in the sense that the differences between high- and low-performing students were smaller,’ says Terleviæ Johansson.

Her analysis of vocabulary frequency showed that CLIL students more commonly used functional words such as pronouns and conjunctions (an indication of more advanced language skills). They also replaced frequently used words with less frequently used words faster. These results were found for spoken English as well, suggesting that SPRINT in one language has positive effects also in other languages.

The most obvious differences were found in the students’ use of communicative strategies, where the CLIL students to a much greater extent implemented strategies based on their German skills. In contrast, the control group generally relied on strategies based on their native language Swedish, which means that they were less creative and less successful when communicating in German.

‘My results suggest that CLIL facilitates verbal communication skills in a second foreign language regardless of student type, including low-performers. The method seems to effectively tackle the increasing demand – in school and in society at large – for communicative ability in foreign languages other than English,’ says Terleviæ Johansson.

Karmen Terleviæ Johansson has a background as an upper secondary school teacher in English and German. Her doctoral thesis is part of a larger research project, the so-called Nödingeprojektet, where earlier studies on the effects of SPRINT on written production and listening and reading comprehension have found very positive results.

The thesis ” Erfolgreiches Deutschlernen durch CLIL? Zu Lexikon und Kommunikationsstrategien in mündlicher L3 schwedischer Schüler mit bilingualem Profil. (Successful German learning through CLIL? A study of lexicon and communication strategies in Swedish students’ oral L3 – written in German with an abstract in English)” has been successfully defended.

For further information, please contact: Karmen Terleviæ Johansson
Telephone: +46 (0)730 33 25 97
E-mail: karmen.johansson@sprak.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://hdl.handle.net/2077/26560
http://www.gu.se

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Novel study underscores microbial individuality
13.12.2019 | Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

nachricht TU Dresden biologists examine sperm quality on the basis of their metabolism
29.11.2019 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Virus multiplication in 3D

Vaccinia viruses serve as a vaccine against human smallpox and as the basis of new cancer therapies. Two studies now provide fascinating insights into their unusual propagation strategy at the atomic level.

For viruses to multiply, they usually need the support of the cells they infect. In many cases, only in their host’s nucleus can they find the machines,...

Im Focus: Cheers! Maxwell's electromagnetism extended to smaller scales

More than one hundred and fifty years have passed since the publication of James Clerk Maxwell's "A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field" (1865). What would our lives be without this publication?

It is difficult to imagine, as this treatise revolutionized our fundamental understanding of electric fields, magnetic fields, and light. The twenty original...

Im Focus: Highly charged ion paves the way towards new physics

In a joint experimental and theoretical work performed at the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, an international team of physicists detected for the first time an orbital crossing in the highly charged ion Pr⁹⁺. Optical spectra were recorded employing an electron beam ion trap and analysed with the aid of atomic structure calculations. A proposed nHz-wide transition has been identified and its energy was determined with high precision. Theory predicts a very high sensitivity to new physics and extremely low susceptibility to external perturbations for this “clock line” making it a unique candidate for proposed precision studies.

Laser spectroscopy of neutral atoms and singly charged ions has reached astonishing precision by merit of a chain of technological advances during the past...

Im Focus: Ultrafast stimulated emission microscopy of single nanocrystals in Science

The ability to investigate the dynamics of single particle at the nano-scale and femtosecond level remained an unfathomed dream for years. It was not until the dawn of the 21st century that nanotechnology and femtoscience gradually merged together and the first ultrafast microscopy of individual quantum dots (QDs) and molecules was accomplished.

Ultrafast microscopy studies entirely rely on detecting nanoparticles or single molecules with luminescence techniques, which require efficient emitters to...

Im Focus: How to induce magnetism in graphene

Graphene, a two-dimensional structure made of carbon, is a material with excellent mechanical, electronic and optical properties. However, it did not seem suitable for magnetic applications. Together with international partners, Empa researchers have now succeeded in synthesizing a unique nanographene predicted in the 1970s, which conclusively demonstrates that carbon in very specific forms has magnetic properties that could permit future spintronic applications. The results have just been published in the renowned journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Depending on the shape and orientation of their edges, graphene nanostructures (also known as nanographenes) can have very different properties – for example,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

The Future of Work

03.12.2019 | Event News

First International Conference on Agrophotovoltaics in August 2020

15.11.2019 | Event News

Laser Symposium on Electromobility in Aachen: trends for the mobility revolution

15.11.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supporting structures of wind turbines contribute to wind farm blockage effect

13.12.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Chinese team makes nanoscopy breakthrough

13.12.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Tiny quantum sensors watch materials transform under pressure

13.12.2019 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>