Zydatiss, Wolfgang: CLIL in Germany: An Evaluation.
scientific journal: „Learning and Teaching Foreign Languages“, 36/2007
Zydatiß, Wolfgang: Bilingualer Sachfachunterricht in Deutschland: eine Bilanz
Fremdsprachen Lehren und Lernen (FLuL), Narr Francke Attempo Verlag, Tübingen, 36/2007, S.
Extensive bilingual courses have been in existence in Germany for about 35 years.
They started as a grass roots movement, mainly driven by classroom practitioners. It
was part of an educational project aiming at the reconciliation between France and
Germany. Therefore the intercultural aspect played an important role and subjects
like geography, history, social and political science were mainly chosen for bilingual
teaching. In the Seventies and Eighties there has been a shift from French towards
English-medium content teaching. Secondary schools (mainly the “Gymnasium” –
comparable to grammar schools in the UK) started to provide bilingual courses in
where some subjects were taught in a foreign language usually by teachers who had
a degree both in the foreign language and the subject. The term “bilingual” is,
however, not really adequate here because it is not comparable to bilingual teaching
in truly bilingual or mulitilingual sociocultural contexts (Canada, Alsace etc.).
In 2007 there were about 700 schools practicing CLIL – amongst them only about 25
primary schools (KMK report 2006). The dominat language is now English. The
range of subjects being taught in a foreign language has become wider (especially
biology, maths, art, music, P.E.). Instead of or in addition to bilingual courses more
and more schools are implementing bilingual modules, i. e. teaching the subject in
the foreign language for a period of time, choosing suitable topics, often cross-
curricular. In summary the bilingual priniciple has become more widespread, more
flexible and more differentiated.
Since it is now widely accepted that the subject-matter and the foreign language
have a joint curricular role, Zydatiss claims that Germany needs a sound theoretical
foundation on which to base the various approaches which have sprung up under
the term of CLIL. He asserts that in a CLIL context a different quality of language
competence is necessary than in mastering everyday situations in a foreign
language. That’s why the methodology of foreign language teaching has to change
as well. Finally he develops a framwork for planning CLIL modules.