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A unique approach

Our CLIL-focused approach to learning provides UK and international students with a host of new skills

What is CLIL and how will it change the way I learn?

May 09, 2016 by Ellie Callon Jones


If you’ve been following educational developments over the last few years, chances are you’ve heard CLIL mentioned more than a few times. But what is it?

CLIL stands for Content and Language Integrated Learning. CLIL is based on the 4c’s:

  • Content - the curriculum subject itself (chemistry, history, music, psychology, there’s lots to choose from!)
  • Culture - raising awareness of our culture and the culture of others
  • Cognition - thinking and learning skills
  • Communication - sharing our knowledge with others

If you’ve been following educational developments over the last few years, chances are you’ve heard CLIL mentioned more than a few times. But what is it?

CLIL stands for Content and Language Integrated Learning. CLIL is based on the 4c’s:

  • Content - the curriculum subject itself (chemistry, history, music, psychology, there’s lots to choose from!)
  • Culture - raising awareness of our culture and the culture of others
  • Cognition - thinking and learning skills
  • Communication - sharing our knowledge with others



What are the benefits?

Simply put, a CLIL based program of study helps you to get more out of your education, particularly if English is your second (or third!) language. While you’re focused on the content – immersing yourself in mathematical theory, designing and building a music box, researching a report on global development- you are absorbing language and critical thinking skills, without really being aware of it. Think of it as an educational buy one, get one free.

CLIL based learning puts an emphasis on learning being interesting and relevant to the learner with students having more input in what and how they learn. Without the need to timetable lessons focusing on language learning, more time can be given to the students chosen subjects, allowing them to get further into their study and advance further in the time they have. CLIL based learning is particularly beneficial for students at summer schools such as Academic Summer, where the short time span means that every lesson counts and being able to quickly immerse yourself in your learning means getting the most out of your time.

CLIL is designed to motivate. Learners are encouraged to push themselves to think more, ask more questions and produce work which they are proud of. Learners are encouraged to share and discuss their ideas, something that students studying in a culturally diverse group really see the benefit of, as their peers bring such a range of experiences and ideas with them (remember the ‘culture’ aspect of the 4c’s). Learners are motivated to really think about not just what they know but how they know it (what are their sources? Who told them?) and why they know it (is there a reason why some cultures teach one thing where others teach something else? A political, historical, economical motivation?). At Academic Summer it isn’t just the students who are motivated to push themselves and grow. We are fortunate enough to have renowned CLIL expert Vincent Smidowicz as our principal. Vincent offers guidance to our teachers on how to follow the principles of CLIL and make sure that our lessons are designed with maximum opportunity for student development in mind.

If you’re looking for a new way of learning, one which allows you to immerse yourself in the subjects you study while developing your language skills, becoming a more rounded learner and enjoying yourself at the same time, seek out a school which embraces CLIL. If you still aren’t sure that CLIL can change the way you learn (for the better!) then why not join us at Academic Summer and try it out; we’re sure you’ll be glad you did!



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