Some Cognitive Aspects of Content and Language Integrated Learning. Considering What It Is and What You Can Do with It

  • Pertti Hietaranta University of Helsinki
Keywords: CLIL, Cognition, Learning, Teaching


The paper provides a compact discussion of some of the relationships obtaining between content and language integrated learning (CLIL) and some of the underpinnings of human cognition.

The paper starts with a short description of a personal reminiscence from the author’s school days, and uses this as an empirically based introduction to the notion of content and language integrated learning.

The author specifically suggests that there are a number of cognitively motivated reasons for adopting a CLIL approach on a number of teaching missions. First, the approach is based to a notable extent on the explicit use of concepts, which in turn are essential to any attempt at clarifying or even explaining various phenomena in the language-external world.

Secondly, the CLIL approach also seems to be compatible with and supported by much of the motivation for what is commonly known as the constructivist notion of teaching, that is, the idea that the type of successful long-term learning which results in profound understanding of the world is inherently dependent on the view that students should be made active participants in the process of acquiring knowledge and not be allowed to play the part of a passive recipient in a teaching situation.

Finally, the CLIL approach also makes it clear why certain analogies between the human brain and a regular computer do not necessarily hold by making it explicit that learning processes crucially involve both the possibility and the need to change, including the possibility of forgetting things, which is demonstrably beyond the capabilities of present-day computers.



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How to Cite
Hietaranta, P. (2015). Some Cognitive Aspects of Content and Language Integrated Learning. Considering What It Is and What You Can Do with It. RiCOGNIZIONI. Rivista Di Lingue E Letterature Straniere E Culture Moderne, 2(4), 201-209.