CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning)

By. Fatmawati A. Atiby

  • My experience in learning of English can be depicted as Table follow
Focus and Language Model / approach Type of language learning Teacher Time frame and levels Material
Language and culture National language (Bahasa) instruction Explicit learning language Language teacher Long-term(Primary  level upwards) Authentic materials, language textbook

In most of public schools in Banda Aceh (from primary until secondary high level), most of instructions and language used by English teacher are in Bahasa Indonesia. Teaching and learning of English occur by translating words and sentences from Indonesia – English.

  • Situation of teaching of mathematics in my school can be illustrated according to Klippel’s heading below
Focus and Language Model / approach Type of language learning Teacher Time frame and levels Material
Content & languageL2 CLILBilingual School Content taught according to subject syllabus, mostly implicit language learning (in combination with language instruction) Content teacher with good English competence (some are qualified in language teaching) Long-term(Lower – upper secondary high school) Subject textbooks in second /foreign language

I teach at a Private-International School in Banda Aceh which has qualified teacher in teaching math and science in English supported by good facilities and materials (hand-books).  It is compulsory for the teachers to use English as a preference and instruction language in classroom.

  • Positive aspects of Teaching Math in English in Aceh
Learning Situation Yield Learner
–   Teacher does not need to prepare certain Learning materials and inputs as they will be found in the content material.-   Eliminate students’ hesitation to communicate with English. Since the focus of lesson on the subject matter, learners are enthusiastic to use English without focusing to the linguistic form (ex. Grammar) (Klippel, 2003).


–    Students are able to use good English for communicative interaction. (Klippel, 2003)-    CLIL extents the range of soft-skill in English (listening, reading, writing, speaking and oral Presentation)

–    Cognitively demanding (learners are able to arguing the term in subject matter using their own comprehension and experience). (Klippel, 2003)

–    CLIL provides deeper understanding in learning language and culture rather than learning language in the form of linguistic and subject matter.

–    Highly motivated in learning-    Acquire better understanding of certain words and terms.

–    Learners become conversant in English because in math student explore, explain, reflect, reason and communicate through language (Kersaint, Thompson, & Petkova, 2009).

  • Problematic aspects of implementation of CLIL in Aceh
Learning Situation Yield Learner
–    In the class implementation, teacher often focuses on the subject matter and disregards language input in the form of linguistics (vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure).-    Require extra time to teach in two languages (Klippel, 2003).

–    Difficult to create interactive learning and oral communication with students who are not fluent in English.

–    New lesson strategy should be created which is appropriate with the content and code-switching and principles for the use of each language.

–    Trigger teaching problems if teachers are not fluent enough in English (Lim & Presmeg, 2010).

–    Acquisition in English cannot be acquired deeply in the content-learning classroom.-    Advance English skill such as academic writing and reading and formal oral presentation cannot be seriously learned in content-learning classroom.

–    For particular unit-lesson in math (topic such as math logic) would possibly lose in depth and comprehension if it is taught in English.

–    Students find it difficult to understand new terms and instructions in English.-    Often miss-understanding occurs during the lesson.

–    For students who are not fluent in English might not engage and tend to encounter difficulties in Mathematics. (Lim & Presmeg, 2010)


The implementation of CLIL in teaching mathematics in Aceh seems to be ‘double-edged sword’. It has both advantages and drawbacks. CLIL’s Dilemmas emerge because of the following reasons. First, neither teachers nor students are proficient enough in English. Second, in classroom, teachers tend to teach more in pupils’ mother tongue than English as they believe pupils will acquire better comprehension, likewise pupils with their peers. Third, students might understand teacher explanation in English but they have problems in responding because they have lack of confidence to express their respond in English. Nevertheless, both teacher and student are in the agreement on how important is English; therefore, they have interest to support the implementation of CLIL in their school. In addition, parents and community sit as proponents in encouraging their children to learn content in English. English has become popular and trend in modern society and it’s not a dream to create good learning environment to teach content in English in Aceh.


Kersaint, G., Thompson, D. R., & Petkova, M. (2009). Strategies to help English language learners understand mathematics language. Teaching mathematics to English language learner (pp. 91 – 111). New York: Routledge.

Klippel, F. (2003). New prospects or imminent danger?: The impact of English medium instruction on education in Germany, Prospect, 18(1), 68-81. Retrieved Seprember 28, 2010, from Publisher site database.

Lim, C.S., & Presmeg, N. (2010, 13th August). Teaching mathematics in two languages: A teaching dilemma of Malaysian Chinese  primary school. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, Online First. Retrieved September 28, 2010, from SpringerLink database.


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