Situated Practice in CLIL: Voices from Colombian Teachers

Keywords: CLIL, professional development, CLIL planning, lifelong learning, 21ST Century Skills, teacher’s practice, pedagogy, language and content integration


The purpose of this exploratory qualitative study was to determine the factors and conditions that intervene in the implementation of CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) in diverse Colombian educational contexts. This study was conducted at five private schools from different cities and towns in the country (Bogotá, Chía, Tenjo, Facatativá, and Girardot). Data was collected from three sources (interviews, questionnaires, and field journals). Data analysis procedures included the use of triangulation and validation procedures through the grounded theory approach. Findings revealed that teachers still have complications understanding CLIL as an approach that goes beyond the mere usage of the target language in content. Instead, the study advocates for the inclusion of essential lifelong skills (i.e. creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication) when implementing CLIL in the classroom. Results also indicated that staged lesson planning is scarce, and that teachers’ practices still emphasize the scope and sequence plan provided by the textbook used in the institutions. Hence, the study supports the design and implementation of CLIL professional development programs that through scaffolding can assist teachers in viewing and situating CLIL as a dialogic pedagogical approach. Not only does the approach help teachers make use of their existing knowledge of CLIL, but also helps them materialize ways through which language and content can be integrated. It does so by making use of students’ primary knowledge and mapping achievable routes for effective educational enrichment not restricted to language and content classrooms but expanded into other formal and non-formal learning contexts.

Key words: CLIL, professional development, CLIL planning, lifelong learning.  


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Juan Carlos Torres-Rincon, Universidad de La Sabana, Colombia

M.A In English Language teaching for Self-directed Learning from Universidad La Sabana and Modern Languages Teacher from UPN. Teacher trainer for the Local English Immersion and Trainer of the Native Speaker Training programs for the Ministry of Education. He has worked at Santillana, an international publishing house, as an academic coach and he also has developed diverse projects at teacher trainer in pedagogical approaches and resources.

Liliana Marcela Cuesta-Medina, Universidad de la Sabana, Colombia

is an Associate professor at the Department of Foreign Languages & Cultures, Universidad de La Sabana (Chía, Colombia) in the Master in Language Teaching programs. She holds a PhD in English Philology from the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED-Madrid, Spain), a B.A. in English and Spanish from the Universidad Pedagógica Nacional (Bogotá, Colombia), and a Specialization in Applied Linguistics to the Teaching of English from the Universidad La Gran Colombia (Bogotá, Colombia). She has been involved in national and international teacher development programs, mainly in EFL, e-learning, and e-tutoring. Her research areas include CALL, CLIL, academic writing, cyberbullying, and learners’ self-regulation in blended/virtual learning environments, on which topics she has published in a number of indexed journals and conference proceedings


Babocká, M. (2015). Assessment in CLIL classes. In S. et al. Pokrivčáková (Ed.), CLIL in foreign language Education: E-textbook for foreign language teachers (pp. 176–188). Nitra: Constantine the Philosopher University. Retrieved from:

Banegas, D. L. (2014). An investigation into CLIL-related sections of EFL coursebooks: Issues of CLIL inclusion in the publishing market. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 17(3), 345–359.

Biçaku, R. Ç. /. (2011). CLIL and teacher training. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15, 3821–3825.

Burns, A. (1999). Collaborative Action Research for English Language Teachers. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Cambridge, U. of. (2011). Using the CEFR: Principles of good practice. Retrieved from

Canale, M., & Swain, M. (1980). Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics, 1(1), 1–47.

Çelik, S., & Aytin, K. (2014). Teachers’ views on digital educational tools in English language learning: Benefits and challenges in the Turkish context. TESL-EJ, 18(2), 1–18. Retrieved from

Clarke, D., & Hollingsworth, H. (2002). Elaborating a model of teacher professional growth. Teaching and Teacher Education.

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education. New York City, NY: Routledge. Retrieved from

Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2015). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Corden, A., & Sainsbury, R. (2006). Verbatim quotations in applied social research: theory, practice and impact. Manchester, UK.

Coyle, D. (2006). Content and language integrated learning, motivating learners and teachers. Scottish Languages Review, (13), 1–18. Retrieved from

Coyle, D., Marsh, D., & Hood, P. (2010). CLIL: Content and language integrated learning. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Creswell, John, W., & Poth, C. N. (2018). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Cuesta Medina, L. (2018). Blended learning: Deficits and prospects in higher education. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 34(1), 42–56.

Czura, A. (2017). Translation is not enough - The need for pedagogical adaptation in CLIL textbook development. Porta Linguarum, 2017(27), 35–46.

Doiz, A., Lasagabaster, D., & Sierra, J. M. (2014). CLIL and motivation: The effect of individual and contextual variables. Language Learning Journal.

Fash, S., Harris, S., Hobbs, M., & Keddle, J. (2012). Thumbs-Up. China: Richmond.

Ferrer Ariza, E., & Poole, P. M. (2018). Creating a teacher development program linked to curriculum renewal. Profile: Issues in Teachers´ Professional Development, 20(2), 249–266.

Fortune, T. W., & Tedick, D. J. (2008). One-way, Two-way and Indigenous Immersion: A Call for Cross- Fertilization:

Evolving perspectives on immersion education. In T. W. Fortune & D. J. Tedick (Eds.), Pathways to multilingualism:

Evolving perspectives on immersion education (pp. 3–21). Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters, Ltd.

Friedemann, M.-L., Mayorga, C., & Jimenez, L. D. (2011). Data collectors’ field journals as tools for research.

Journal of Research in Nursing, 16(5), 453–465.

Gardner, R. C., & Lambert, W. E. (1959). Motivational variables in second-language acquisition. Canadian Journal of Psychology/Revue Canadienne de Psychologie, 13(4), 266–272.

González Moncada, A. (2007). Professional development of EFL teachers in Colombia: Between colonial and local practices. Ïkala, 12(1), 309 – 332. Retrieved from

González Moncada, A., & Quinchía Ortiz, D. I. (2011). Tomorrow’s EFL teacher educators. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, (5), 86.

Granados Beltrán, C. (2009). A framework for the construction of academic communities. Revista Folios, (30), 39–50.

Henderson, R. (2012). Teaching literacies in the middle years: Pedagogies and diversity. Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.

Ioannou-Georgiou, S., & Pavlou, P. (2003). Assessing young learners. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Kajornboon, A. B. (2005). Using interviews as research instruments. E-Journal for Researching Teachers (EJRT), 2(1), 1–8.

Kewara, P., & Prabjandee, D. (2018). CLIL teacher professional development for content teachers in Thailand. Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, 6(1), 93–108. Retrieved from

Korosidou, E., & Griva, E. (2016). “It’s the same world through different eyes”: A CLIL project for EFL young learners. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 18(1), 116.

LaFond, L., & Dogancay-Aktuna, S. (2009). Teacher perspectives on linguistics in TESOL teacher education.

Language Awareness, 18(3–4), 345–365.

Liu, H., Lin, C.-H., & Zhang, D. (2017). Pedagogical beliefs and attitudes toward information and communication technology: a survey of teachers of English as a foreign language in China. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 30(8), 745–765.

Lo, Y. Y. (2014). Collaboration between L2 and content subject teachers in CBI: Contrasting beliefs and attitudes. RELC Journal, 45(2), 181–196.

López Medina, B. (2016). Developing a CLIL textbook evaluation checklist. Latin American Journal of Content & Language Integrated Learning, 9(1), 159–173.

Mariño, C. M. (2014). Towards implementing CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) at CBS (Tunja, Colombia). Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 16(2), 151.

McDougald, J. S. (2013). The use of new technologies among in-service Colombian ELT teachers. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 15(2), 247–264. Retrieved from

Mendieta Aguilar, J. A. (2009). Inquiry as an opportunity to make things differently in the language classroom. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, (11), 124–135.

Ministerio de Educación Nacional. (2016). Lineamientos estándar para proyectos de fortalecimiento del inglés. Retrieved from

Ministerio de Educación Nacional, M. (2006). Formar en lenguas extranjeras: Inglés !el reto! . Bogotá, Colombia, Colombia: Imprenta Nacional.

Moore, M. G. (1989). Editorial: Three types of interaction. American Journal of Distance Education, 3(2), 1–7.

Muhsen Al Harbi, A. A. (2017). Evaluation study for secondary stage EFL textbook: EFL teachers’ perspectives. English Language Teaching, 10(3), 26.

Nicolaidis, K., & Mattheoudakis, M. (2008). Utopia vs. reality: the effectiveness of in‐service training courses for EFL teachers. European Journal of Teacher Education, 31(3), 279–292.

Onofrei, S. (2016). Access and use of new ICT resources in Romanian schools. Acta Didactica Napocensia, 9(4), 25–34. Retrieved from

Otwinowska, A., & Foryś, M. (2017). They learn the CLIL way, but do they like it? Affectivity and cognition in upper-primary CLIL classes. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 20(5), 457–480.

Pappa, S., Moate, J., Ruohotie-Lyhty, M., & Eteläpelto, A. (2017). Teacher agency within the Finnish CLIL context: tensions and resources. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 1–21.

Rodríguez-Bonces, J. (2012). Content and language integrated learning (CLIL): Considerations in the Colombian context. GiST Education and Learning Research Journal, (6), 177–189. Retrieved from

Rodriguez Bonces, M. (2011). CLILL: Colombia leading into content language learning. Ikala, 16(2), 79–89. Retrieved from

Snow, D. (2015). English teaching, intercultural competence, and critical incident exercises. Language and Intercultural Communication.

Sylvén, L. K. (2013). CLIL in Sweden – why does it not work? A metaperspective on CLIL across contexts in Europe. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 16(3), 301–320.

The New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 60–93.

Trujillo Becerra, C. L., Alvarez Ayure, C. P., Zamudio Ordoñez, M. N., & Morales Bohórquez, G. (2015). Facilitating vocabulary learning through metacognitive strategy training and learning journals. Colombian Applied

Linguistics Journal, 17(2), 246.

Vázquez, V. P., & Alcalá, F. R. (2010). Teachers’s concerns and uncertainties about the introduction of CLIL programmes. Porta Linguarum : Revista Internacional de Didáctica de Las Lenguas Extranjeras, 14, 45–58. Retrieved from

Viáfara, J. J., & Largo, J. D. (2018). Colombian English teachers’ professional development: The case of master programs. Profile: Issues in Teachers´ Professional Development, 20(1), 103–119.

Wilkins, D. A. (1972). Linguistics in language teaching. Cambridge, England: MFT Press.

Zein, M. S. (2017). Professional development needs of primary EFL teachers: perspectives of teachers and teacher educators. Professional Development in Education, 43(2), 293–313.

Zhyrun, I. (2016). Culture through comparison: creating audio-visual listening materials for a CLIL course. Latin American Journal of Content & Language Integrated Learning, 9(2), 345–373.

How to Cite
Torres-Rincon, J. C., & Cuesta-Medina, L. M. (2019). Situated Practice in CLIL: Voices from Colombian Teachers. GiST Education and Learning Research Journal, 18, 109-141.