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Teaching Chemistry Through English A CLIL-based Introduction to Chemistry in Sekundarstufe I Diplomarbeit zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades einer Magistra / eines Magisters der Naturwissenschaften an der Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz vorgelegt von Alexandra TRUMMER am Institut für: Chemie Begutachterin: Dworczak, Renate, Ao.Univ.-Prof. Dr.phil. Betreuer: Fasl, Hubert, Mag. Dr. Graz, 2021

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Teaching Chemistry Through English

A CLIL-based Introduction to Chemistry in Sekundarstufe I


zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades

einer Magistra / eines Magisters

der Naturwissenschaften

an der Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz

vorgelegt von

Alexandra TRUMMER

am Institut für: Chemie

Begutachterin: Dworczak, Renate, Ao.Univ.-Prof. Dr.phil.

Betreuer: Fasl, Hubert, Mag. Dr.

Graz, 2021

Table of Contents

1 Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 1

2 The Rise and Importance of English .................................................................................... 3

2.1 English – A Language on the Rise ............................................................................................ 3

2.2 English as an International Language of Science ..................................................................... 5

2.3 The Artificial Construction of Language ................................................................................ 10

3 Language and Subject Teaching in School ........................................................................ 13

3.1 The Interaction Between Language and Content .................................................................. 13

3.2 CLIL: Content and Language Integrated Learning ................................................................. 15

3.3 EaA: Englisch als Arbeitssprache ........................................................................................... 17

4 Theoretical Foundations ................................................................................................... 23

4.1 The Many Facets of CLIL ........................................................................................................ 23

4.2 Bloom’s Taxonomy ................................................................................................................ 26

5 CLIL in Action ..................................................................................................................... 33

5.1 Why CLIL? .............................................................................................................................. 33

5.2 Course Description ................................................................................................................ 35

5.3 Course Outline ....................................................................................................................... 36

6 Chemistry in Everyday Life ................................................................................................ 38

6.1 Lesson 1: What is chemistry? – Lesson Plan ......................................................................... 38

6.2 Lesson 1: What is chemistry? – Material............................................................................... 43

6.3 Lesson 3: Working in a lab – Lesson Plan .............................................................................. 45

6.4 Lesson 3: Working in a lab – Material ................................................................................... 51

6.5 Lesson 4: Time for experiments – Lesson Plan ...................................................................... 61

6.6 Lesson 4: Time for experiments – Material ........................................................................... 66

7 Conclusion ......................................................................................................................... 70

8 References ........................................................................................................................ 71

9 List of Figures .................................................................................................................... 72

Appendix ...................................................................................................................................... I

Bloom’s Taxonomy: Teacher Planning Kit ............................................................................................ I


1 Introduction

The world is full of linguistic diversity and in order to ensure communication and

promote intercultural competences foreign language learning is of greatest importance.

Foreign language teaching is therefore an integral part of the Austrian educational system.

Since the early 1960s foreign language teaching was continually introduced in Austrian

schools. Even though the teaching and learning of foreign languages used to be a

characteristic of higher education, Austrian schools cannot be imagined without foreign

language teaching anymore nowadays. As of the school year 2002/03 even primary schools

are obligated to introduce foreign language teaching into their curricula. Austrian curricula

do not specify which foreign language has to be taught but rather encourage schools to

decide on their own which foreign language they want to offer. [1, p. 154] Accordingly, a

variety of foreign languages is offered – including widespread languages such as English and

French or less common languages such as Hungarian and Slovenian. Despite the fact that

there is no regulation about the mandatory use of English as a foreign language it is the

prevalent foreign language taught in Austrian schools. In Sekundarstufe I (grades 5 – 8) and

Sekundarstufe II (grades 9 – 12/13) more than 90 percent of students are learning English. In

comparison, only about 25 percent of students are learning French in Sekundarstufe II. [1,

pp. 160–161] English being the prevalent language taught is mainly due to the fact that

English is already a wide-spread language that is spoken in a variety of countries all over the

world and consequently, is used in international communication.

To further promote foreign language teaching – especially English – the school pilot

project Englisch als Arbeitssprache (EaA) was initiated in 1991. EaA aims at incorporating

English not only into the language lessons at school but also into the subject lessons. Due to

the use of English in subject lessons students have an additional source of input that helps

them increase their English language level. [2] At the European level the concept of content

and language integrated learning (CLIL) was introduced in the 1990s. [3, p. 1] As the name

already suggests, CLIL is not only about teaching either a subject or a language but rather

about the effective fusion of both aspects. Correspondingly, the language aspect is even

more prevalent than in EaA. This also becomes apparent in the fact that CLIL incorporates

more elements taken from foreign language didactics to deal with language in the

classroom. This leads to content and language being intertwined to a much greater extent

than in EaA, where language is mainly seen as solely a medium of instruction. The intense


interconnectedness of content and language is what makes CLIL even more interesting and

perhaps even more useful than EaA. Unfortunately, since EaA and CLIL are both relatively

recent introductions to the Austrian educational system useful material and information are

still scarce.

The aim of this thesis is to contribute to the emergent field of CLIL in Austria’s

educational system. The main focus is on the methodology of CLIL itself to show how the

two main parts – the teaching of a language and the teaching of a subject – can be

interwoven. The two main pillars of the CLIL framework in this thesis are going to be English

as the language on the one hand and chemistry as the content on the other hand. I argue

that teaching chemistry through English can be advantageous on two levels. Firstly, the

promotion of English can yield an advantage on an international level due to the widespread

use of English as a language of communication. Secondly, the teaching of chemistry in

English can bring more diversity and motivation into the chemistry classroom. CLIL provides

the ideal framework to join the two aspects of content and language together. Due to the

coequal importance of language and content both aspects can be equally promoted. On the

basis of these arguments and the concept of CLIL, the practical part is going to be the

creation of lesson plans including material for the first steps into chemistry in Sekundarstufe

I in Austrian schools.

After a theoretical overview on the importance of English, language and subject

teaching in school in general, and the methodology of CLIL the main part of the thesis is the

practical implementation in the form of lesson plans. For that purpose, six lessons with the

overall topic of ‘Chemistry in Everyday Life’ are outlined in terms of content, goals, and

objectives. Three of these lessons are elaborated in more detail including lesson plans and

material. Two of the lessons deal with theoretical input (Lesson 1: What is chemistry? and

Lesson 3: Working in a lab) and one provides students with the opportunity to conduct

simple experiments (Lesson 4: Time for experiments). This accumulation of background

information and lesson plans will serve as a point of reference for everyone that also wants

to delve into the topic of teaching content and language at the same time on the basis of the

methodology of CLIL.


2 The Rise and Importance of English

2.1 English – A Language on the Rise

English can be considered as being a ‘world language’. On the one hand, the emergence

of English as a world language can be ascribed to British colonialism. During the 17th and

mid-20th century the use of English took roots around the world, for instance in the USA,

Australia, Africa, and South Asia and keeps growing ever since. Especially in countries in

Africa and whole South Asia English gained a special status as a ‘second language’ due to its

practical and political usefulness. In those areas English enabled people with different first

languages to communicate with each other and still does so nowadays. [4, p. 35]

Another reason for English being so widely spread is that it has a relatively simple

grammatical structure. Additionally, the English language is very amenable to change when it

comes to incorporating words and expressions from other languages. This makes it easier to

learn and use than a variety of other languages. [4, p. 35] The flexibility of the English

language is not only reflected in the available language used in everyday life, but also in the

vast amount of scientific vocabulary. This can be easily verified by casting a glance at almost

any random dictionary page – more words in the English language are dedicated to the

different fields of science than there are dedicated to other functions. This creates the

opportunity of carrying out research in basically every field of science in English because

scientists can draw upon a vast pool of vocabulary to describe different phenomena. [5, p.

299] As a result, English has increasingly become the preferred language of communication

in multinational organisations and in academia. [4, p. 36]

Even though it cannot be predicted how English will develop, there is strong evidence

that the use of English is perpetually growing. Bolitho and Rossner give the example of the

Oxford English Dictionary that publishes which words have been added to the dictionary

every three months. The number of additions is usually around 500 words quarterly, which

sums up to a total amount of at least 2000 new words each year. [4, p. 40] The latest update

from March 2021 even comprises more than 1400 words, sub-entries, and revisions. [6] That

shows the flexibility and therefore convenient possibility of English to incorporate new or

borrowed words from other languages. This feature of English is one of the reasons which

makes its use around the world so agreeable and welcome. [4, p. 40] These cultural and

linguistic aspects have led to the unique status English has on a global scale compared to

other languages.


Due to the readiness of English to incorporate features of other languages, such as

pronunciation, vocabulary and grammatical features, more and more English varieties are

emerging. Two main representatives of English varieties are South Asian English and African

English, which are solely a limited selection of existing varieties. In the context of World

Englishes (local varieties of English) the umbrella term ‘South Asian English’ (SAE) is used to

refer to different varieties of English spoken in the region of South Asia. This region includes

the countries Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri

Lanka. For varieties of English spoken in Africa, the umbrella term ‘African English’ (AfrE) is

used. Due to British colonialism the use of English is common all over the continent, e.g., in

the countries Ghana and Nigeria in Western Africa, Sudan and Tanzania in Eastern Africa,

and South Africa and Zimbabwe in Southern Africa. South Asian English and African English

both mainly developed because of British colonialism and are, as a result of this, mainly a

derivative of Standard British English (SBrE). However, both varieties are known for their

structural variations from this assumed standard. An example for a variation in South Asian

English is that the stress and intonation patterns are syllable-timed instead of stress-timed as

they are in Standard British English. One aspect of African English, which differentiates it

from Standard British English, is e.g., the omission of function words. [7], [8]

Although the aforementioned readiness to change and adapt is one of the defining

features of English, there are several forces working against this diversification. One of these

forces is the very same reason that made English popular as a world language in the first

place – globalisation. As mentioned previously, English was and is used as a common

language for people with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. To keep sight of this

shared objective of being able to communicate in transnational and multinational

environments, globalisation plays a major role in constraining the perpetual emergence of

English varieties. People around the world are eager to be able to communicate with each

other. In order to be able to communicate it is necessary to understand others and at the

same time to be understood by others. If new English varieties digressed too much from

already existing ones, the probability of not being understood and not understanding

anymore would increase. As a result, globalisation keeps the English language stable to a

greater or lesser extent. [4, p. 39]

Generally speaking, a language that is not the speaker’s first language can be classified

as either being a second language or a foreign language for the speaker. Whether a language


is regarded as a second language or a foreign language depends on its status within the

country it is learned or used. Furthermore, it also depends on the incentive of the person

learning or using the language. Generally speaking, a language can be classified as a ‘second

language’ when the language is needed for communication within the learner’s or speaker’s

community. One example for English as a Second Language (ESL) is when a person whose

first language is not English emigrates to an English-speaking country and learns the

language in order to be able to communicate with local people and / or administrative

bodies. A further reason for ESL is growing up in a bilingual or multilingual country such as

mentioned previously, which were occupied by the British Empire and therefore, English is

used as an official language additionally to its native language(s). In countries like these

English is simply considered as being normal and necessary to deal with a variety of social

and official situations. On the other hand, a ‘foreign language’ usually does not have the

same priorities as a second language. The foreign language does not have an established

function within the learner’s or speaker’s community and therefore, is mainly used for

communication with people outside of their community. An example for English as a Foreign

Language (EFL) would be learning English in Austria or any other non-English speaking

country, where it is not an official language. [9, p. 4], [10, p. 54]

The already widespread use of English worldwide is not only a steppingstone to a

common everyday language, but also provides a basis for a common scientific language.

However, it is important to keep in mind that English has not always been the most

commonly used language in scientific discourse. The historical development of scientific

languages and the emergence of English as an international language of science will be

discussed in the following subchapter.

2.2 English as an International Language of Science

There is a general consensus in science that the use of a common language may

facilitate the communication within the scientific sector. This need arises due to the

international and cross-cultural characteristics within the scope of science. [11, p. 247] A

prime example for the need of a common scientific language is the years-long dispute

between the Russian chemist Dmitrii Mendeleev and the German chemist Lothar Meyer in

the late 19th century. Both of them were working on a periodic system (nowadays widely

known as the periodic table) at approximately the same time and both of them claimed to


be the mastermind behind it. At that time, the babel of scientific languages in Europe was

reduced to the triumvirate, namely English, French, and German. This posed a problem

especially for the Russian scientist Mendeleev, who originally published his scientific papers

in Russian and consequently, had to translate his research into one of these languages to be

noticed in Europe. The most common outlet for Russian publications was the German

journal Zeitschrift für Chemie. Since Mendeleev himself did not master the German language

well enough, he asked someone to translate his research into German and publish this

abstract in the aforementioned journal. The originally printed translation from Russian into

German was: ‘Die nach der Grösse des Atomgewichts geordneten Elemente zeigen eine

stufenweise Abänderung in den Eigenschaften.’ (my emphasis) [5, p. 57] Translated into

English it says: ‘The elements ordered according to the magnitude of their atomic weights

show a phased change in properties.’ (my emphasis) [5, pp. 57–58] As is commonly known,

the table of elements is also known as the ‘periodic’ table – and not the ‘phased’ table. To

cut a long story short, Meyer thought he had encountered a mistake in Mendeleev’s

postulation about the periodic table when all he encountered was a mistake in the

translation of the Russian word meaning ‘periodic’ into the German word meaning ‘phased’.

He tried to claim that Mendeleev’s postulation was wrong and that he was the one that

came up with the correct system of elements. It took a really long time to clear their

differences out of the way and nowadays Mendeleev is well-recognised as being the one

that authored and devised the periodic table of elements. This dispute should exemplify that

by using a common scientific language from the beginning all the discussions about who the

original inventor of the periodic table was could have been avoided. [5, Ch. 2]

Interestingly, the need of a common language is hardly ever discussed explicitly in

scientific literature, but it is assumed that everyone knows that it would be helpful. [11, p.

249] This is where English comes into play. It is the preferred language in many cases

because of a variety of reasons such as those mentioned in chapter 2. However, this has not

always been the case. The scientific babel, as Gordin calls the multitude of languages used in

scientific communication in his eponymous book, was and is subject to ongoing change. The

following graph shows the development of a selection of languages used in scientific

communication from 1880 until 2015. Of course, this graph cannot be seen as being fully

representative of languages used in scientific publications and is merely a selection of the

top scientific languages in this period.


Figure 1: Proportions of languages in publications of the natural sciences worldwide 1880 – 2005 (x-axis: year, y-axis: world-wide share in science publications in percent) [12, p. 338]

It can be said that the rise of English was inevitable. Conflicts between France and Germany

and the aftereffects of World War I and World War II accelerated the use of English. The

English language community gained economic superiority and, by extension, scientific

superiority. [12, p. 337] As can be seen in the graph, the only time English was overtaken by

another language was between 1910 and 1945 – by German. The rise of German as a

scientific language correlates with the foundation of the German Empire in the late 19th

century. At that time it was an indispensable language in science, especially in chemistry. [5,

p. 168] The sudden decline of German can be traced back to a few reasons. One of them is

that the German language was excluded from publications of international science

organisations and international conferences after World War I. [5, p. 176], [12, p. 338] World

War II also had a considerable impact on the decline of German as a scientific language. A

great number of German scientists had to emigrate from Germany and establish themselves

in other countries. Many, but of course not all of them, settled down in English speaking

countries. [5, p. 201] All these developments boosted the status of English in international

scientific communication, especially in natural sciences, and this special status has been

retained up to the present day.

The importance of language in science is reflected in scientists’ day-to-day work. One of

the major objectives of scientists is one of the greatest challenges at the same time –


publishing their work in international journals. Most of these international journals that

scientists consider to be prestigious, such as Nature (published by Springer Nature), Science

(published by The American Association for the Advancement of Science – AAAS), or

Chemical Reviews (published by the American Chemical Society), are in English. This trend is

represented in the publicly available portal SCImago Journal & Country Rank which has

developed the SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) indicator to measure the impact, influence, or

prestige of journals. The SJR expresses the average number of weighted citations received in

the selected year by the documents published in the journal in the three previous years. The

ranking is available for a variety of subject areas including for example chemistry,

engineering, and nursing. When looking at the top 50 journals in the subject area of

chemistry in all subject categories, all regions / countries in the year 2020 the following

picture emerges: 20 of them are published in the United States, 18 in the United Kingdom, 9

in the Netherlands, two in Germany, and only one in Switzerland. [13] However, even

though about 25 percent of the top 50 journals are not published in native English-speaking

countries, my inquiries revealed that all of their most downloaded or most read articles are

written in English.

As a consequence, scientists are subliminally compelled to publish their work in English

instead of any other language such as the first language of scientists from non-native

English-speaking countries. As a result of this, English becomes more important in turn

because more and more research is published in that language. This importance is also

reflected in the fact that non-native English-speaking researchers tend to cite their own

publications written in English more often than their research written in their first language.

Again, the increased citing of English-language publications leads to them being viewed as

more prestigious and important than publications in other languages. [11, p. 249]

Unfortunately, the use of English as the common language does not only grant

advantages but also has its downsides. Some researchers say that by using English as an

international language of science some authors and researchers – mainly native English

speakers – receive favourable treatment and status in comparison to non-native English

speakers. In conformity with that assumption, research shows that authors based in

countries where English is the first or the dominant language are published more often and

at the same time are the gatekeepers of published works more often as well. [11, p. 248]

Gatekeeping refers to the mechanism of editorial boards or referees deciding which articles


are going to be published and which are not. In most cases Anglophone scholars are the

ones filling the position of the gatekeeper. Those Anglophone scholars are naturally heavily

influenced by the genre and discourse patterns they have learned to use for scientific

discourse. [11, p. 250] Genre in this context refers to different types of scientific writing,

such as journal articles, scientific posters, or a research proposal and e.g., the associated

purpose and audience that specific genre entails. [14] Therefore, when coming across

articles that fall short of the gatekeeper’s expectations they are more likely to be considered

as non-standard and published less frequently. [11, p. 250] This genre-specific information

that is expected leads to research that is not written in English being turned down more

often due to different standards in scientific discourse in different languages. [11, p. 249]

One way to counteract articles being turned down solely because they do not conform to

the expected standards is to introduce a common norm that can be followed regardless of

the language used. Nowadays, most scientific publications in journals follow the format of

IMRAD (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion). [5, p. 301]

Nonetheless, there is no question about the need for a common language in science.

Without a common language there is always the chance of not being understood or in the

worst case, of other scientists not taking your work into account at all because they simply

cannot – or will not – read it. [5, p. 15] In a study conducted by Tardy 45 international

graduate students in the United States were asked about their relationship to English as an

international language of science. They were also asked about their beliefs concerning the

benefits and drawbacks of English being the predominant language in scientific

communication. The results of the study show that most of the participants perceive the use

of a common language as being beneficial because it facilitates sharing and accessing

information globally and therefore, easing the communication among scientists around the

world. Their arguments for English being this common language are for example that it is

effective for inputting information into a computer and that it is a language that is already

widely used. [11, p. 258]

A total of 36 participants in the study do not only see benefits in the use of English as

an international language of science but drawbacks as well. One of the perceived drawbacks

is the amount of time that needs to be spent on learning a new language. Another perceived

drawback is that non-native English speakers might have difficulties communicating. [11, p.

258] Although all of the mentioned reasons are valid concerns, those concerns are not


inherent in the English language but rather in the use of a different language than ones first

language. On the whole, if scientists want to communicate on a global basis there is no way

around using a common language. Since English is already a well-established and relatively

easy to learn language, it makes sense to use it for this purpose. Using a different language

than English as a common language would not diminish the aforementioned drawbacks but

would rather shift the responsibility of learning a new language to another group of people.

2.3 The Artificial Construction of Language

At this point I would like to delve into the history of constructed and thus artificial

languages to show that it was not clear from the outset that a common scientific language

had to be a language already widely in use. Attempts to introduce a constructed common

language – especially for scientific communication – have been made on the grounds of

diminishing advantages or drawbacks for speakers of specific languages. On the one hand,

the aim of artificial languages is to not grant some scientists advantages over others because

of their first language. On the other hand, the aim of a common constructed language is to

facilitate global communication without the constant need of translation or learning a

variety of additional languages. As early as the nineteenth century people began to develop

constructed languages. One of the first widely used ones, with approximately 210,000

people having studied it by 1888 (only eight years after its invention in 1880), is Volapük.

Volapük means ‘worldspeak’ in its own language – and that is also what it was invented to

be. The creator of Volapük, Johann Martin Schleyer, intended it to be not only an auxiliary

language for (scientific) communication but a new universal language that would be used by

everyone instead of the world’s already existing languages. The principle of Volapük is to use

a large set of fundamental roots (mainly derived from English and German) and either

decline them as nouns or conjugate them as verbs by adding prefixes or suffixes. [5, pp. 114–

115] Despite its prosperous and promising beginnings Volapük fell into decline. The main

reason of this sudden decline can be traced back to its inventor Schleyer. Advocates of the

fairly elaborate language demanded reforms to make it easier to learn but Schleyer

interfered with their plans. He demanded the right to have a veto in any proposed reforms

and since he was of the opinion that Volapük was perfect the way it is there was never any

reasonable chance of bringing about real change. [5, p. 117]


The next constructed language which is going to be presented is perhaps the most well-

known one – Esperanto. The only similarity that Esperanto and Volapük have is that they

both were created by just one single person. The mastermind behind Esperanto was Ludwik

Lejzer Zamenhof, a Warsaw based oculist, who already started working on it in his youth. In

contradistinction to Schleyer’s plan to create a language that would replace all existing

languages for its sake, Zamenhof focused on developing a language that could be learned by

everyone as their second language. As a consequence, Esperanto would serve as an auxiliary

language for people having different first languages. In 1887 Zamenhof published a

pamphlet – nowadays known as Unua Libro (First Book) within the Esperantist movement –

containing the complete grammar of the language which is collected in a set of 16 rules, a

vocabulary of 900 roots, Esperanto translations of other texts and some original Esperanto

poems by Zamenhof himself. This pamphlet was published under a pseudonym, Doktoro

Esperanto (‘Dr. Hoping’ in English), which later the language was named after. The roots of

Esperanto are based on six languages: English, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish.

The underlying rules of its grammar are very straightforward and what is particularly worth

mentioning, there are no exceptions or irregularities to those rules. This does not only make

it easier to learn but also affords the opportunity to easily decipher the meaning of any

Esperanto text by using a simple dictionary. [5, pp. 119–120]

The Unua Libro was originally written in Russian and therefore, the first people who

took up the language were Russians. However, over the next 20 years Esperanto was on the

upswing. The Unua Libro was translated into more than 20 languages, e.g., into the

languages of the triumvirate of scientific communication in Europe – French, German, and

English – but also into comparatively smaller languages such as Estonian or Catalan. By 1907

around 750 Esperanto organisations existed worldwide, 123 of them even outside of Europe,

and a total of 64 journals were published in Esperanto. [5, p. 121] All of this sounds very

promising, nevertheless Esperanto did not gain prevalence in scientific communication. The

limiting factor was that as opposed to natural languages like English, constructed languages

face an intrinsic problem. They cannot build on an existing canon of literature to keep the

language fixed enough to build a community of speakers, while at the same time users of

constructed languages are prone to push the language in individualised directions. This

happens due to the reason that there is no linguistic foundation that would keep them from

doing it. The Esperanto movement tried to counteract this disintegration by introducing the


Fundamento – an imposed standard consisting of the Unua Libro (the grammatical part), the

Universala Vortaro (a universal dictionary), a set of basic translations into several other

languages, and the Ekzercaro (a collection of exercises). [5, p. 123]

While the Fundamento resolved the problem of disintegration, it raised a different issue

at the same time – the issue about the flexibility to add new words or alter already existing

ones. This was the decisive factor for Esperanto not being suitable as an international

language of science, particularly in the area of chemistry. The controversy can be

exemplified by the nomenclature of the chemical element mercury. In the Universala

Vortaro – Esperanto’s dictionary – mercury was listed as ‘Hidrargo’, conforming with the

grammatical rules on the one hand and the already existing symbol ‘Hg’ on the other hand.

However, in the early 1900s the term ‘Merkuro’ for mercury was widely used in German,

French, and English. Therefore, the question was raised if the already commonplace term

‘Merkuro’ could be added to the dictionary instead of the invented term ‘Hidrargo’. This

generated an intense discussion within the chemical society. Unfortunately, because of the

Fundamento, which was regarded as being unchangeable, there was little scope left for

introducing or changing words that do not agree with the rigid framework of it. Ultimately,

the discussion came to nothing, leading to Esperanto being another unsuccessful project in

terms of serving as an international language of science. [5, pp. 126–128]

A few more artificial languages, such as Ido or Interlingua, tried to take on the role of an

international auxiliary language, especially in science. Without going into further detail

about the rise and fall of those languages, most of them faced a similar fate – a few

supporters in high places pushed the usage and spreading of their preferred constructed

language, people took up on it to a greater or lesser extent, and eventually, some

differences in opinion within the community or an external political event put a stop to it. [5,

Ch. 5,8] This short historical excursus on constructed languages should outline the efforts of

scientists to develop a common scientific language from the ground up. Additionally, it was

intended to demonstrate that constructed languages have to deal with challenges that

natural languages do not have to deal with to the same effect. Hence, it comes as no

surprise that the international language of science at the moment is a natural language –



3 Language and Subject Teaching in School

3.1 The Interaction Between Language and Content

There are a variety of ways a foreign or second language and content can be

connected in the classroom. For this thesis four specific concepts are of significance –

content-based language teaching, L2-medium subject teaching, Englisch als Arbeitssprache

(EaA) and content and language integrated learning (CLIL). This subchapter is dedicated to

outlining those four concepts briefly, before the concepts of EaA and CLIL will be explained

in more detail in the following two subchapters, respectively.

(1) Content-based language teaching is based on incorporating subject matters into the

language class but is taught by language teachers and assessed as language teaching.

Therefore, content-based language teaching only contributes to the language class or

curriculum and not to the subject class or curriculum. [3, p. 1] An example for this would be

incorporating elements or content from the subject of Physical Education into the English

lessons. Students could be asked to write a text about the last sport event they visited and

also lay out the rules of the game. However, when the text is graded only the mistakes

concerning the language will have influence on the final grade of the text. Mistakes

concerning the Physical Education part of the text, such as a student saying that a football

game lasts 100 minutes instead of 90 minutes do not have any influence on the marking of

the text. The content dealt with in English lessons can be roughly compared to the names

the chapters in regular English textbooks have, such as family, sports, and holidays.

(2) L2-medium subject teaching is a form of subject teaching that focuses on teaching

selected subjects, such as chemistry, history, or programming in a language that is not the

students’ first language. L2-medium subject teaching poses just the opposite issue that

content-based language teaching does. It is mainly taught only by subject teachers and

consequently, also only assessed as subject teaching. In this way, it does not contribute to

the language class or curriculum but only to the subject class or curriculum. [3, p. 1] This way

of teaching is exemplified by a programming teacher in an Austrian vocational school

choosing to conduct the lessons in English because most of the important key words are

already in English. In a test situation only the appropriate use of the key words will be

graded and not aspects such as grammar or word order. The teacher’s incentive is not to

teach the language but to teach the content and assume that the students will catch up on

the language as needed by just being exposed to it regularly.


(3) Englisch als Arbeitssprache is a form of subject teaching developed and used in

Austria. The idea is that a second or foreign language is helpful to deal with a variety of

everyday and job-related situations. Therefore, language – in this particular case English – is

seen as a tool to deal with those situations. In an educational context that means English is

used as a medium of instruction in subject classes. [2, p. 7] What differentiates it from the

aforementioned L2-medium subject teaching is that language does not only play a peripheral

role. Englisch als Arbeitssprache relies heavily on the cooperation with language teachers.

Language issues are either dealt with before or after the subject lessons in the language

class. Furthermore, native speakers are seen as being of the utmost significance for

supporting the language learning process of students. [2, p. 14] It is even suggested to

provide training opportunities for native speakers that are not trained teachers in order to

employ them as teachers in schools with Englisch als Arbeitssprache. [2, p. 11] All things

considered, Englisch als Arbeitssprache can be viewed as a special form of L2-medium

subject teaching with an evident focus not only on the content but the language as well.

(4) Content and language integrated learning is not only about teaching and learning

content in another language but about teaching and learning content and language. As a

consequence, CLIL must clearly be distinguished from content-based language teaching, in

which content is dealt with but the main focus is still on the language itself. Furthermore,

CLIL contrasts with L2-medium subject teaching as well. As already mentioned before, a

second or foreign language may be used to convey the content of the subject. However, the

language skills do not heavily influence the main focus of the lessons, which is the content.

This one-sidedness of both content-based language teaching and L2-medium subject

teaching is what mainly differentiates it from CLIL. Although content and language

integrated learning and Englisch als Arbeitssprache bear striking similarities, they differ from

each other at the same time. Englisch als Arbeitssprache does not hesitate to outsource

language issues to the language class and involves language teachers to deal with these

issues regularly. On the other hand, CLIL incorporates language issues and deals with them

as part of the lesson. This difference is due to the fact that EaA sees language only as a

medium of instruction, whereas CLIL sees language as part of the content that is being

taught. Due to this shifted focus concerning language, CLIL also incorporates didactic

elements of foreign language teaching, which EaA does not. This equal focus on content and

language is what makes CLIL even more interesting than EaA.


3.2 CLIL: Content and Language Integrated Learning

The acronym CLIL stands for content and language integrated learning and describes

a concept that deals with teaching and learning subjects in a second or foreign language (L2).

Accordingly, CLIL describes educational settings in which subjects are learned exclusively

through the L2 or two languages – the first language (L1) and a second or foreign language

(L2) – at the same time. [3, p. 1] The difference between a second language and a foreign

language has been pointed out in chapter 2.1. According to that differentiation, the use of

English in Austria and thus, Austrian schools falls under the category of English as a Foreign

Language. Henceforward, the concept of CLIL will be referred to by its acronym. The only

exception will be made to point out the concept’s two separate but yet highly interwoven


The definition of CLIL by Coyle, Hood, and Marsh describes very accurately what the

main focus of CLIL is:

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) is a dual-focused educational approach

in which an additional language is used for the learning and teaching of both content

and language. That is, in the teaching and learning process, there is a focus not only on

content, and not only on language. Each is interwoven, even if the emphasis is greater

on one or the other at a given time. (my emphasis) [15, p. 1]

Additional language in this case again means a language other than the students’ first

language. In another book co-authored by Mehisto, Marsh and Frigols, they describe CLIL as

‘a tool for the teaching and learning of content and language. The essence of CLIL is

integration.’ (my emphasis) [16, p. 11] What can be concluded from both aforementioned

definitions is that CLIL is considered to be a dual-focused educational approach with special

focus on the interconnectedness of the two dimensions of content and language. This notion

is also supported by Harmer, who states that CLIL ‘mixes the teaching of content and

language so that the students learn both the content and the specific language they need to

express that content at the same time’. (original emphasis) [9, p. 8] What is interesting about

that definition is that Harmer highlights the distinction between a language that is being

taught for the sake of learning the language and a language that is being taught for the sake

of learning the underlying subject.

Ball, Kelly, and Clegg depart from the preceding definitions by claiming that language

and content are not something to be looked at separately, but that language has always


been part of content and content has always been part of language. The task of teachers

interested in teaching CLIL therefore is to make the relationship more salient and not handle

language and content as something disassociated from each other. [3, p. 49] Even though

they do not separate the concepts of content and language, they suggest that there are

three dimensions of CLIL that need to be considered for a successful implementation –

concepts, procedures, and language. They describe the main aim of CLIL as teaching

‘conceptual content, by means of procedural choices (cognitive skills), using specific

language derived from the discourse context’ [3, p. 52], whereas all three dimensions fall in

the category of content. Even if Ball, Kelly, and Clegg do not fully conform with the idea of

CLIL being a dual-focused educational approach as suggested by others they still have one

major underlying idea in common. No matter if we are only considering the two dimensions

of language and content or the three dimensions of concepts, procedures, and language, it is

all about their successful interplay. [3, p. 52], [15, p. 3], [16, p. 11] For this to be possible it is

important to keep in mind that the focus of a lesson can never be on all of the dimensions to

the same extent. It is the teacher’s task to decide which dimension to put more emphasis on

at any given point in a sequence and try to keep a reasonable balance between them. This

interwovenness is also what distinguishes CLIL from other concepts such as the already

mentioned content-based language teaching or L2-medium subject teaching and – the in

Austria well respected concept – Englisch als Arbeitssprache, which will be dealt with in

more detail later in this chapter.

The use of the methodology of CLIL may already start in primary and secondary

schools and its implementation can be found in tertiary education as well. It can be said that

CLIL is a relatively recent development since its origin in Europe only dates back to the

1990s. Despite its newness – or potentially for this very reason – the concept and set of

practices that CLIL encompass have spread all around Europe and even beyond the borders

of this continent. [3, p. 1] Analogous to the spread of English throughout the world as

discussed in the previous chapter, the successful spreading of CLIL can partly be traced back

to globalisation. The growing demand for international communication within different

sectors has a significant impact on language teaching and learning as well. The force of

economic and social convergence has shaped the way languages and subjects are being

taught and learned in school. That is where the concept of CLIL comes into the picture. CLIL –

content and language integrated learning – specifically aims at converging the hitherto


separated aspects of content and language into a common thread. Furthermore, it laid the

foundation of a different kind of convergence as well. CLIL does not only open up the

opportunity to combine language and subject teaching but also to combine the teaching of

different content subjects across the curriculum. [15, Ch. 1]

3.3 EaA: Englisch als Arbeitssprache

When discussing CLIL in the context of Austrian school education, another concept –

Englisch als Arbeitssprache – should not be neglected. As long ago as the 1980s Austria’s

curriculum was altered to meet the everchanging requirements concerning the knowledge

of foreign languages. In line with this, foreign language teaching was made mandatory for all

students in Austria at that time. Thereby, the growing demand for being able to use a foreign

language as a medium of communication outside of the classroom could be met. The next

big step was made in the 1990s when a department for foreign language teaching was

founded in the Zentrum für Schulversuche und Schulentwicklung. The foundation of this

department was part of a broader concept dealing with the internationalisation of the

Austrian educational system. The main focus of the department included but was not limited

to consider ways and means of changing and optimising Austria’s foreign language teaching.

As part of these endeavours the project Englisch als Arbeitssprache was launched in 1991.

[2, p. 5]

The project Englisch als Arbeitssprache regards the foreign language, which is English in

this case, as an important tool to deal with a variety of everyday and job-related aspects.

Consequently, English is used as a medium of instruction in subject teaching to enable

students to effectively use the foreign language in various contexts. Abuja and Heindler

name three main ideas supporting the use of a foreign language as a tool in subject teaching.

Firstly, the different varieties and the flexible adaptation of English as a medium of

instruction support the various abilities and interests of students in connection with learning

a foreign language. Secondly, using English as a medium of instruction should enhance

students’ linguistic flexibilities including subject-specific linguistic diversity. This may be

especially relevant to students at vocational schools. Lastly, students should be provided

with authentic material in different languages for specific topics to afford students with the

opportunity to compare them. This could mean dealing with a specific topic by reading one

text about it in German and one in English. As a result of the confrontation with different


points of view, students do not only learn the language but also acquire intercultural

competences. [2, p. 7] In the following, Englisch als Arbeitssprache will be referred to as EaA.

EaA is a widely used concept in Austria and although it shares several common

characteristics with the concept of CLIL, it is different from it at the same time. This

subchapter is dedicated to outlining what the principles of EaA are and to what extent they

coincide with the principles of CLIL – or not. That way, CLIL will be dissociated from EaA on

the one hand and elaborated further on the other hand. Aside from that, it will be pointed

out why I have chosen to work with the concept of CLIL instead of EaA. According to the

initial report about the EaA project there are four varieties of application within the

educational context. These varieties range from using EaA from time to time embedded in

the regular subject lessons to a continuous use in one or more subjects. These varieties can

be compared to the continuum represented by ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ CLIL, which will be discussed

in more detail in chapter 4.1. Regardless of the variety, Abuja and Heindler advocate the

possibility of adding annotations to the school report or issue certificates for students who

participate in EaA classes. On the one hand, this provides a motivational factor for students

to participate in such programmes and on the other hand, wins the acceptance of parents to

encourage their children to participate at the same time. [2, pp. 12–13] This is also true for

CLIL programmes, which definitely gain recognition by providing the possibility of an official

annotation stating the students’ participation.

One aspect that EaA and CLIL have in common is e.g., that smaller groups are seen as

being beneficial because occurring problems can be dealt with more easily and efficiently. [2,

p. 14] Furthermore, the requirements concerning teachers are for the most part the same.

Competences in the foreign language and in foreign language didactics paired with subject-

specific knowledge are of greatest importance. Teachers should keep track of the

characteristics of both the subject and the language class to achieve a productive blend of

the two areas. Due to the cooperative nature of EaA and CLIL the readiness for teamwork is

of advantage. EaA also attaches importance to careful and learner-friendly preparation of

material. A variety of methods is helpful to give students an understanding of the subject in

a foreign language. Additionally, the acquisition of different learning techniques is seen as

particularly beneficial. To facilitate the learning process the management of the information

type and the amount of information is required. Moreover, pauses for reflection are

necessary for students to consolidate the knowledge. [2, p. 15] In the case of EaA the


aforementioned factors for successful EaA lessons are mainly based on the assumption that

teaching a subject in a foreign language takes more time and comes with increased demand

in connection with processing on the part of students. CLIL imposes the same requirements

on teachers and the classroom. However, it does not pin it on the fact that teaching a

subject in a foreign language is more demanding but rather simply regards these techniques

as crucial for good lessons – no matter if taught in the students’ first language or a foreign


Another aspect where EaA and CLIL share certain similarities concerns the requirements

for material used in class. First of all, the material has to be geared to the needs of the

students. Since there is very little material available for EaA or CLIL classes there are some

aspects that have to be considered when preparing or collecting material. One aspect is the

discrepancy between the subject and the language adequacy of the material. Material that is

adequate on the subject level might be too overwhelming on the language level. Then again,

material that is adequate on the language level might be demanding too little from the

students on the subject level. For teachers in both EaA and CLIL projects it is crucial to find

the right balance between the language and subject level of the used material. That leads us

to the next aspect regarding the selection of material. Using a wide range of different types

of media facilitates the teaching in an EaA or CLIL classroom. Not only print media are useful

tools to teach and learn a language, but also audio-visual inputs are important for effective

learning. Especially nowadays with the possibility to use internet in almost every classroom

there is no limit to the teachers’ creativity. [2, p. 22] In this context, scaffolding plays an

important role to help students deal with the language and content. All students are

provided with the same task. However, they are additionally provided with language and / or

subject support if needed. Using different types of media or different approaches to a topic

is very helpful to show students that no (technical) text is too complicated. With the

appropriate help even complex texts can be deciphered – if not from the beginning than at

least step by step. [2, p. 26] Additionally, the selection of material is not only important in

connection with the adequate communication of content but also in connection with

enabling the students to learn how to find information on their own. This activity-oriented

instruction contributes to students’ self-guided learning, which is helpful in school and in

their future career as well. [2, pp. 28–29]


One major factor that is repeatedly mentioned in Abuja’s and Heindler’s report is the

importance of native speakers when it comes to effectively putting EaA to use. Native

speakers should serve as language assistants and therefore, are responsible for supporting

the students’ language skills. The mentioned reason for this focus on the deployment of

native speakers is to ensure language authenticity. [2, pp. 14–15, 27] Interestingly, when it

comes to CLIL there is never an explicit mention of native speakers. In the case of ‘hard’ CLIL,

where subject teachers hold the lessons, the concept of CLIL confides in the ability of the

subject teachers to convey the language adequately using the appropriate material and – if

necessary – consult language teachers. EaA views this need to consult native speakers and /

or language teachers as very time-consuming and therefore, expects that more lessons than

originally allocated for the subject are needed. For this reason, EaA supports the idea of

outsourcing language issues to language classes instead of dealing with them in the subject

classes. This can either be done by dealing with language issues before and after the subject

class in the language class, or even by merging the language and subject lessons. [2, pp. 14,

69] CLIL does not view this as a problem, since the language or subject teachers – depending

on where on the ‘soft’ to ‘hard’ CLIL spectrum the classes are situated – approach their

lessons with a completely different mindset. They know that the focus of their lessons is on

content and language and therefore, do not plan on outsourcing one or the other to

someone else. With this in mind, the lessons are planned differently than when knowing that

encountered problems will be dealt with by someone else. This might be also due the fact

that in CLIL language and content are in a symbiotic relationship, whereas in EaA language is

merely seen as a medium of instruction. To ensure this symbiosis CLIL draws on elements of

foreign language didactics to a much greater extent than EaA. This explicit interwovenness of

content and language is also what differentiates CLIL from EaA.

In addition, the authors of the report strongly emphasise the fact that English is solely

used as a medium of instruction to transport information and that the subject aspects are

always in the foreground. This view is very clearly summarised in phrases such as ‘subject

teaching, not language teaching’ (my translation, original: ‘Fachunterricht, nicht

Sprachunterricht’) [2, p. 16] or ‘language is a medium, not the subject’ (my translation,

original: ‘Sprache ist Medium, nicht Unterrichtsgegenstand’). [2, p. 17] Once again, the

writers of the report are fully aware of the fact that the language aspect places an additional

burden on the students. However, as already mentioned before, they do not see it as the


subject teachers’ task to explicitly deal with these language aspects. At this point in the

report they even go so far as to suggest that ‘language neutral’ material such as pictures or

graphics should be used in order to minimise the burden imposed by the foreign language.

[2, p. 16] Although the overall aim of EaA classes is to use English as often as possible, Abuja

and Heindler suggest switching back to the students’ first language when language issues

occur or when students struggle with the subject content because of the language. [2, p. 19]

CLIL does not exclude the use of the first language in general but rather sees it as a last

resort. Before switching to the first language other steps can and should be taken. One

possible approach would be reviewing and editing the used material. If the students struggle

with the content of a task or topic, they may simply struggle with how the task or topic is

prepared and not with the language per se. Another possible approach would be scaffolding.

In this way, the students themselves can decide to what extent they need help to fulfil the

task, without the teachers assuming a certain level of knowledge or not. These techniques

taken from foreign language didactics facilitate language learning in the context of subject


Abuja and Heindler agree that the level of the first language of students between 11 and

14 is good enough to serve as a basis for the acquisition of a foreign language. [2, p. 162]

This opinion is in accord with the theory about BICS and CALP as is going to be outlined in

chapter 4.1. To sum up, it can be said that EaA and CLIL share a lot of basic approaches and

ideas about teaching a subject in a foreign language. Nevertheless, they start from two

completely different origins. EaA sees the language exclusively as a medium of instruction,

whereas CLIL considers the language aspect to be as essential as the subject aspect. This

main difference of CLIL regarding language and content as being on equal terms and not just

language being a means to an end is what makes CLIL so interesting and fascinating. This

leads to two very different teaching and learning experiences in the classroom and is also

reflected in the way how e.g., tests are marked and graded. Since EaA is focused on the

subject, answers in a test are primarily marked with reference to the content and not to the

language. Only if an answer is illegible because of a major language error, the language

influences the grade. Apart from that the language level of students does not influence the

grade of a test. On the other hand, tests conducted in a CLIL classroom, can and will be

marked in terms of content and language. However, as with CLIL lessons in general, the

focus of tests is not always on content and language to the same extent.


In general, it is important to point out that neither of the two approaches is better than

the other. Both have the right to be used and both are already somewhat established

approaches in Austria. However, when planning on teaching a subject in a foreign language

teachers have to keep in mind what differences EaA and CLIL imply. Effective teaching can

only be ensured on the basis of a careful analysis of the two approaches and consequently,

on the basis of a careful decision about which approach is more suitable.


4 Theoretical Foundations

4.1 The Many Facets of CLIL

Although the term CLIL clearly points out the importance of the interplay of language

and content it does not refer to just one specific set of practices. For this reason, it is

important to always define in more detail what exactly is meant by your use of the term

CLIL. In order to do that, the following subchapter is dedicated to outline some distinctions

that can be made within the broader concept of CLIL. These distinctions are also relevant for

this thesis in order to point out where on the CLIL spectrum the planned lessons are


One type of differentiation deals with the scope and focus of CLIL lessons or courses.

Both of the two aspects of CLIL – content and language – are focused on when using the

methodology. Attention should be paid to the fact that CLIL is a continuum approach not

only within single lessons but also in general. The one end of the continuum is referred to as

‘soft’ or ‘weak’ CLIL. ‘Soft’ CLIL is mainly aimed at language teachers and therefore, ‘soft’ CLIL

lessons are for the most part led by language. In an educational context ‘soft’ CLIL

programmes usually only extend over a short period of time, ranging from a single lesson per

semester to a couple of days. An example of ‘soft’ CLIL used by language teachers would be

when they deal with academic or scientific content in their lessons. However, to justifiably

call that a CLIL lesson it has to be driven by the content of the academic or scientific input

and not only by its language. Otherwise, it merely would be content-based language

teaching. On the other end of the continuum ‘hard’ or ‘strong’ CLIL is situated. That form of

CLIL is primarily aimed at subject teachers and consequently, is mainly led by content.

Contrary to ‘soft’ CLIL, ‘hard’ CLIL uses all or almost all of the available lessons of the subject.

The focus of ‘hard’ CLIL lessons are the aims and objectives of the subject, with the content

of the subject being taught in a second or foreign language. In order to set ‘hard’ CLIL apart

from L2-medium subject teaching, language does not only play a secondary role as a

mediating language but rather a major role as content to be learned. In summary, it can be

stated that ‘soft’ CLIL is the incorporation of content into the language curriculum, whereas

‘hard’ CLIL is the incorporation of language into the subject curriculum and is

correspondingly either taught by a language or a subject teacher. [3, pp. 1–2, 26–27], [9, pp.

8–9], [17] One of the aims of this thesis is to provide other teachers and teachers-to-be with

material for an introductory CLIL-based chemistry course in Sekundarstufe I that lasts at


least one semester, which is taught by subject teachers and fully held in English. Therefore,

the lesson plans and material prepared can be situated on the ‘hard’ end of the CLIL


The next aspect that needs to be considered when planning a CLIL lesson or course is

the language proficiency of the learners. In 1979 Jim Cummins introduced the distinction

between BICS – basic interpersonal communicative skills – and CALP – cognitive / academic

language proficiency. [18, p. 198] The former is also referred to as conversational proficiency

and the latter as academic proficiency. BICS describes the basic language skills that are used

in informal, and – as the name already suggests – interpersonal situations. Therefore, it

mainly refers to oral communication in day-to-day conversations and activities, which also

leads to its description as being the social variety of language. In a school environment

informal talk about activities or organisational conversations in the classroom, the corridor,

or the playground e.g., fall under the category of BICS. Visual clues, gestures, or facial

expressions are often used by learners to communicate in BICS situations. [3, pp. 61–62, 96,

300], [19, p. 35] On the other hand, CALP is the academic variety of language and sets itself

apart from the language used in informal contexts. When considering a school setting CALP

is the language of learning and also the language of exams and consequently, evaluation. It

can be looked at as the extension of the basic linguistic capabilities of learners that equips

them with more specialised functions of language. Unlike BICS situations that rely on visual

clues, CALP situations often do not provide such clues to learners. For that and other

reasons, it generally can be said that CALP is more complex than BICS. [3, pp. 97, 300], [19, p.

35], [20] That is also reflected by the fact that second language learners usually only take

two to three years to achieve BICS in that language, but take five to seven years to achieve

the more complex CALP. [3, p. 13], [19, p. 35], [20]

Even though the BICS may vary considerably in the learners first language and the

learners second language, there is well supported research that indicates that learners with

good CALP in their L1 find it easier to achieve CALP in their L2. Cummins’ iceberg model

descriptively illustrates this theory as can be seen in the following figure adapted by Ball,

Kelly, and Clegg.


Figure 2: Cummins' iceberg model ([3, p. 13] adapted from [21])

The figure shows that competences taught through either of the languages – the learner’s L1

or L2 – fuel the ‘common underlying proficiency’. The bottom part of the iceberg, which is

under water, represents this common underlying proficiency of language learners. These

underlying academic skills are the CALP skills of the learner and can be – once learned in one

language – transferred to an additional one. This means that learners that have already

achieved CALP skills in their first language, do not have to learn them in any additional

language they want to learn. Accordingly, the upper parts of the iceberg represent the BICS

of the learner in their first language and their second language, respectively. [3, p. 13], [20]

Transferred to an educational context, the following picture emerges.

Figure 3: Layers of language learning [3, p. 101]


At the foot of the arrow BICS prevails. Language in the years covering lower areas of the

curriculum and / or age level consists mainly of everyday language and some peripheral

interactive language. General academic language only plays a minor role at this stage of the

learning process. Going further up the arrow CALP gains more and more importance while

BICS fades into the background. The language that is covered by the higher areas of the

curriculum and / or age level is for the most part abstract and specialised. At this point

subject-specific vocabulary and general academic language play a major role. [3, p. 101] As

the figure shows clearly, neither BICS nor CALP is ever completely absent. It is all about the

adequate interplay of BICS and CALP and it is the CLIL teachers’ endeavour to help learners

to effectively bridge the gap between those two. [19, p. 35] It is believed that learners in

secondary education have already established reasonable literacy and cognitive skills in their

first language. [2, p. 162], [3, p. 13] This assumption is fundamental for the justification of

starting a new subject in a foreign language already at the age of approximately ten. Hence,

my proposition of designing a CLIL-based chemistry course for 8th grade (year 4 of

Mittelschule / Allgemeinbildende Höhere Schule) in Austria is adequately supported. I

proceed on the assumption that the level of BICS and CALP is situated in the middle of the

scale shown in Figure 3. Therefore, the overall aim is to keep the amount of BICS and CALP

used in the lessons approximately equal. In general, the distinction between BICS and CALP

is important to teachers to be able to design lessons that are appropriate for the learners’

level of language. This does not only refer to how specific tasks are designed but also to how

instructions and interactions are phrased generally.

4.2 Bloom’s Taxonomy

At this point I would like to introduce Bloom’s taxonomy, which is a helpful tool for the

planning of CLIL lessons and courses and therefore, a pivotal element of the lessons that are

planned as part of this thesis. The taxonomy was developed by Benjamin Bloom in

collaboration with more than 20 participants of conferences held from 1949 to 1953 and

was published for the first time in 1956 in the book Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The

Classification of Educational Goals. The main aim of Bloom and his team was to originate a

system of classifications that can be used within the educational context. The reason why

such a classification is necessary is exemplified by the following situation. Some teachers say

that their students should ‘internalise knowledge’, while others want their students to ‘really


understand’ and yet others think that it is important for their students to ‘comprehend’. The

first question that is raised is if all of the teachers desire the same outcome and just phrase it

differently or if they have goals that differ from each other. The second issue is about what a

definition like ‘comprehend’ actually means – what can a student do who ‘comprehends’

something that they cannot do when they do not comprehend? Bloom’s taxonomy is

designed to get rid of that plethora of definitions that may or may not mean the same to

provide a common framework that can be used for planning or comparing curricula and

lessons. It provides teachers, educators, researchers and so forth, with a pool of possible

educational goals or outcomes from which they can draw according to their needs. This does

not only facilitate the appropriate classification of goals and outcomes of a lesson for

individual teachers but also the exchange of lesson plans and examination material between

different teachers and even beyond the borders of schools. Furthermore, using Bloom’s

taxonomy when creating or reviewing a lesson plan might broaden one’s horizons regarding

variation in the classroom. By referring to the taxonomy it is easily detectable if a lesson is

planned too one-sidedly e.g., when all of the tasks fall into the category of recalling or

remembering knowledge. The lesson plan can be adapted accordingly by including goals that

deal with the application of that knowledge or by analysing situations in which that

knowledge is used, to name just a few examples. [22, pp. 1–9]

The original taxonomy is divided into six major classes:

(1) knowledge

(2) comprehension

(3) application

(4) analysis

(5) synthesis

(6) evaluation

Bloom et al. agreed on that specific order of classes because of the underlying objectives of

each class. In that order objectives in one class are more likely to be built on or make use of

objectives that are defined in previous classes. Additionally, the idea behind that

arrangement is to organise educational behaviours from simple ones to complex ones. This

idea is influenced by the assumption that similar simple behaviours – represented by the

lower classes – are incorporated into more complex behaviour – represented by the higher


classes. [22, p. 18] Hereafter, each of the classes and the consequential objectives will be

defined briefly.

(1) Knowledge includes the recall of specifics and universals, methods and processes,

and patterns, structures, or settings. The main objective of this class is remembering,

meaning that the task is to bring the appropriate information to mind. In the course of this,

some change of the internalised material may be necessary but that should not be one of

the major parts of the task. In addition, the objective of knowledge includes the ability to

relate as well – in the sense of being able to get the appropriate information that is required

to solve a problem that is posed in a knowledge test situation. [22, p. 201]

(2) Comprehension can be regarded as the lowest level of understanding. This kind of

understanding only implies the learner to know what is being communicated and making use

of exactly that communicated information. It is not yet required to relate that material to

other material or even see the bigger picture when it comes to those ideas. An example of

comprehending would be if a learner is able to translate mathematical or chemical verbal

material into the appropriate symbolic statement or the other way round. [22, p. 204]

(3) Application is based on the use of abstractions. Abstractions or in other words

concepts can be general ideas, rules of procedures, or generalised methods. Additionally,

application is about the remembering of technical principles, ideas, and theories, which can

be applied as a result. For example, application means that one is able to extract the

information given in one paper and apply that information to the contents of another paper.

[22, p. 205]

(4) Analysis already requires considerably more complex behaviour than the previous

classes. It is not only about using pre-chewed knowledge but about taking apart

communication in order to analyse its components. In doing so, the relations or hierarchy

between the expressed ideas can be highlighted and therefore, made explicit.

Communication can be analysed based on the criteria of elements included, relationships

between those elements, and the way they are organised or arranged within the

communication. [22, pp. 205–206]

(5) Synthesis is a process that takes the previously by analysis acquired parts, elements,

or pieces to the next level by putting them together in a way that sets them apart from

already existing works. The product can be a unique communication that is constituted of

the writer’s or speaker’s ideas, feelings, or experiences. Another possible outcome is a plan


or proposed set of operations that can be used to fulfil an assigned task. Furthermore,

synthesis can also lead to the development of a set of abstract relations. Thus, hypotheses

can be put forward based on the analysis of factors that are involved in specific phenomena.

[22, pp. 206–207]

(6) Evaluation addresses the ability to judge the value of material and methods that are

provided for particular purposes. These judgments can be made qualitatively or

quantitatively to evaluate if and to what extent the material and methods are suitable for

meeting the predefined criteria of a task. The evaluation can either be carried out in terms of

internal evidence or in terms of external criteria. The former refers to being able to judge

the accuracy of communication by reference to internal criteria such as logical accuracy or

consistency. The latter is the ability to evaluate material on the basis of remembered or

selected criteria. [22, p. 207]

On the supposition that higher levels of learning are dependent on knowledge and

skills gained at lower levels, the six classes of Bloom’s taxonomy can be represented

graphically as shown in Figure 4. In addition to the six classes the figure also contains a small

selection of keywords and competences that are related with each of the classes. They

coincide with the abilities needed to master the objectives of each class as pointed out


Figure 4: Bloom's Taxonomy (original version, adapted from [23])


This version of the taxonomy was used for a considerable time until in 2001 Anderson and

Krathwohl in collaboration with a group of cognitive psychologists, curriculum theorists and

instructional researchers, and testing and assessment specialists came up with a revised

version of the taxonomy. [24, p. XXVIII] Overall, 12 changes have been made – four in

emphasis, four in terminology, and four in structure – which accordingly resulted in an

overall change of focus of the taxonomy. Subsequently, some of the changes will be

described in more detail. One of the major changes in emphasis was the shift away from a

focus on assessment and providing examples of test items to a focus on the use of the

taxonomy in planning curriculum, instruction, assessment, and their alignment. The previous

focus was mainly due to the fact that Bloom and most of his colleagues were college and

university examiners. Their incentive to come up with and use the taxonomy was to be able

to exchange tests among institutions. This leads us to the next change in emphasis of the

revised taxonomy. The revised taxonomy should not only be useful for college educators but

rather for teachers at all grade levels. This is also reflected by the examples provided, which

are exclusively taken from pre-college educational levels. [24, pp. 263–264] When it comes

to terminology one significant change was the renaming of the knowledge class in the

original version to remember in the revised version. This change is based on the way

objectives are framed, namely as a verb-noun relationship – students should be able to do

something (verb) to or with something (noun). Additionally, the original class

comprehension was renamed to understand and synthesis to create. The remaining classes

of application, analysis, and evaluation were changed to their respective verb forms apply,

analyse, and evaluate. Consequently, all of the classes are now consistent with the way

objectives are framed. [24, pp. 265–266] Last but not least, the order of the two top

categories – create and evaluate – has been changed based on the assumption that create is

the most complex cognitive process. [24, p. 268] Analogous to the figure depicting the

original version the following figure depicts the revised version including the cognitive

processes associated with each level.


Figure 5: Bloom's Taxonomy (revised version, adapted from [24, p. 31])

Lastly, the cognitive processes can be assigned to being either a lower-order thinking

skill or a higher-order thinking skill. The distinction between lower-order thinking skills

(LOTS) and higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) is derived from Bloom’s original taxonomy.

However, the distinction can also be made when using the revised version of the taxonomy.

[3, p. 55], [19, p. 32] Ball, Kelly, and Clegg define LOTS as ‘the foundation of skills required to

move into higher-order thinking (HOTS); skills in which information only needs to be recalled

and understood.’ (original emphasis) [3, p. 304] HOTS, on the other hand, are ‘[t]hinking

skills which require more cognitive processing than others – such as analysis, evaluation, and

synthesis – as opposed to the learning of facts.’ [3, p. 303] Due to this definition, the

categories knowledge and comprehension are regarded as LOTS and application, analysis,

synthesis, and evaluation as HOTS in the original version. In the revised version the cognitive

processes of understanding and remembering fall under the category of LOTS, whereas the

cognitive processes of applying, analysing, evaluating, and creating fall under the category

of HOTS. The teacher’s task is to effectively help learners climb up the ladder of thinking

skills. However, LOTS should never be completely out of the picture since it provides learners

with the necessary foundation for HOTS.


Due to the fact that there is more extensive and for the demands of this thesis more

suitable material based on the original version of the taxonomy, it will be used as the main

point of reference. However, even though the main document of reference I am using for

planning lessons – Bloom’s Taxonomy: Teacher Planning Kit (see Appendix) – is based on the

original version of the taxonomy it is adjusted to contemporary needs rather than the needs

the original taxonomy was based on when it was created. Therefore, the Teacher Planning

Kit can be thought of as a fusion of the original categories with the cognitive processes and

new structure of the revised version. The main categories taken from the Teacher Planning

Kit are the key words and questions of each thinking skill. Both of them can be found in the

prepared material for the students. Additionally, the thinking skills including the key words

for each task are explicitly stated in the ‘Thinking Skills’ column of the designed lesson plans.

This makes it easier for teachers to spot what the incentive of the task is. Furthermore, it

helps with the decision if the tasks can be reused just like that or if they need to be adapted

in order to address other thinking skills.


5 CLIL in Action

5.1 Why CLIL?

Chemistry as a subject in school can be considered rather dull and dry by students if

the lessons are not planned in an interesting and interactive way. In spite of every effort on

the part of the teacher, learners often struggle to understand due to the complex nature of

chemistry. [25, p. 6] Consequently, learners lose interest and motivation to learn the subject.

Teaching chemistry through another language, in this case English, provides the opportunity

to introduce an additional motivational level right from the beginning. Learners benefit from

the extra challenge because they improve in the subject as well as the language. [19, p. 11]

Learners do not only benefit on a motivational level – cognitive aspects also play a major

role in teaching a subject through another language. Consequently, those motivational and

cognitive aspects can enhance content learning. [15, p. 11]

There is already a plethora of books discussing the theoretical approach to CLIL.

Examples for useful sources are Uncovering CLIL: Content and Language Integrated Learning

in bilingual and multilingual education by Mehisto, Marsh, and Frigols or CLIL: Content and

Language Integrated Learning by Coyle, Hood, and Marsh. In comparison to this abundance

of theoretical information, there are only a few books providing teachers and course

instructors with practical ideas and material. Furthermore, most of these books that provide

hands-on material are a collection of single lessons or even just single tasks each planned by

different teachers for different subjects. Consequently, many of the books only deal with

each of the different subjects on a superficial level. This sometimes leads to the examples

being out of context, a lack of actual useful worksheets as well as build-up and follow-up

tasks. Since these single tasks are not embedded into a sequence it is harder to reuse them

for other teaching sequences. Moreover, collective CLIL works are mostly not directed at a

specific age group but rather try to provide a representative sample of the different age

groups. On the one hand, this is very helpful for gaining an overview of how the use of CLIL

can look in different grades. On the other hand, this complicates the process of finding

useful material that is directed at a specific age group when planning lessons or an entire

CLIL course for a particular grade in school.

Unfortunately, the CLIL book market is still very poor. This makes it very hard for

teachers or course instructors who want to implement CLIL in their teaching because they

need to collect and create all of their material basically from scratch. Naturally, this can be


daunting. Therefore, this thesis is aimed at bridging this gap by gathering up material that

can be used for introductory chemistry CLIL lessons for Sekundarstufe I in Austria. It is only a

small contribution to the vast need of CLIL teaching material – but hopefully it will help other

teachers to delve into the art of teaching chemistry in English and facilitate their first steps

into this method. At this point it is important to mention that the provided material does not

have to be used exactly the way it is. Of course, it may be adapted by every teacher

according to their needs and possibilities in the classroom. The main incentive is to give

other teachers an idea of how to use CLIL in their classroom and show them a variety of

techniques that can be used and adapted accordingly. Hopefully, more and more teachers,

course instructors, and curriculum planners will see the diverse advantages that CLIL

programmes entail and will come up with more detailed action plans for all of the different

age groups instead of just broaching the subjects.

Personally, the combination of the two subjects I have studied at university – English

and chemistry – has always been of great interest to me. Both subjects are already

interesting on their own. English because it opens doors to a variety of fields for students,

such as literature and movies. On top of this, nowadays almost all students are growing up

with the internet. Due to the fact, that a large portion of communication online is held in

English, students benefit from the vast amount of information that can be found. Chemistry,

on the other hand, provides an insight into the ways of life. Chemistry is all around us in our

daily lives – be it the computer I am typing this thesis on or the sunlight that makes the

plants around me grow – everything that exists is based on chemistry. I consider it an honour

to help students gain insight into the miracles of life. A university course about CLIL was a

real eye-opener to me. Before then I only considered combining my two subjects in the form

of simply conducting chemistry lessons in English. The course showed me that I can even go

a step further than that and actually teach both of my subjects at once without having to

lower my sights regarding either the language or the content aspect of a lesson. For me, CLIL

represents the optimal fusion of the two subjects I have studied. Because of that I decided to

dedicate my thesis to this topic and give others an understanding of how CLIL can be

enriching for both students and teachers alike.


5.2 Course Description

The overall theme of the upcoming introductory course to chemistry is ‘Chemistry in

Everyday Life’. These first sessions of chemistry in English should give students a basic

understanding of chemistry while mostly dealing with everyday phenomena. In this way, the

interesting yet complex concepts of chemistry can be made more accessible for the thirteen

to fourteen-year-old students the course is designed for. For the purpose of providing an

overview on how to introduce CLIL in chemistry in school six lessons will be elaborated.

Three of these classes will be elaborated in more detail including lesson plans and material.

The other three will be outlined briefly including content, goals, and objectives. These six

lessons can either be used for introducing chemistry in general, or as a separate course for

interested students as well since they are self-contained. The six lessons are a mix of

theoretical input (four lessons á 50 minutes) and practical application of the former (2

lessons á 100 minutes). Especially the two extended practical sessions are of great

importance because they help students consolidate their theoretical knowledge. Students

will have the chance to delve into the following topics:

Lesson 1: Where in our everyday life can we find chemistry?

Lesson 2: What is the periodic table and how is it used?

Lesson 3: What needs to be kept in mind when working in a lab?

Lesson 4: How is a simple chemical experiment conducted?

Lesson 5: What is a chemical reaction?

Lesson 6: Where at home can we find chemistry?

The lessons are held in English only. Due to the level of the students (between A1 and A2+)

conducting the lessons only in English can be challenging. For that reason, I tried to

incorporate a variety of different inputs to make it easier for students to understand.

Furthermore, most of the tasks are designed as pair or group work so that students with

different levels can benefit from each other’s knowledge. Additionally, since chemistry is one

of the subjects many students do not feel fascinated by the tasks are designed to provide

insight into the topic in a playful way. Moreover, most of the tasks are referring to everyday

objects and phenomena students know and can relate to. That way the students’ motivation

to learn something about chemistry and its implication in their everyday life can be

increased. The indicated time for each task is just an estimation and should simply serve as a

point of reference when planning to use the lesson plans in the classroom.


5.3 Course Outline

Lesson Content Goals:

Students know … Objectives:

Students can …

1: What is chemistry?

(50 min)

introduction to chemistry

differentiation between physics and chemistry

purpose of chemistry

what chemistry is and where to find it in our everyday life

what the difference between physics and chemistry is

find out about chemistry in our everyday life

name the criteria for physical and chemical processes

use correct vocabulary to talk about chemical and physical characteristics

2: Matter and the periodic table

(50 min)

definition, separation, and order of matter

content and structure of the periodic table

what matter is

how matter can be separated

the order of matter

how to work with the periodic table

define what matter is composed of

tell what characteristics of matter can be used to separate it

explain how the periodic table is structured

interpret the content of the periodic table

make use of the periodic table to find appropriate information

3: Working in a lab (50 min)

explain the rules on how to behave in a lab

introduce different lab equipment (name, purpose, how to use it, …)

how to behave in the lab

the different lab equipment

recognise what is important about every rule

comply with the rules

name the rules that need to be followed in a lab

correctly identify lab equipment and state its purpose


4: Time for experiments

(100 min)

let students do their own simple experimental setup

how a simple experiment is set up

carry out a simple experiment

5: Chemical reactions (50 min)

basic introduction to chemical reactions (oxidation and reduction, acids and bases)

what a chemical reaction is

how to read and write down a chemical equation

how to solve a simple chemical equation

identify reagent and product in a chemical reaction

rewrite a chemical reaction that is written down in words into a chemical reaction with appropriate symbols

classify a chemical reaction according to its reagents and products

solve a simple chemical equation

6: Chemistry at home

(100 min)

conduct simple experiments with things students bring with them from home, such as washing powder, cleaning agents, beverages, food, … (everything they think it could have something to do with chemistry)

which everyday objects have something to do with chemistry

what kind of chemical reactions everyday objects yield

plan a simple experimental setup to work with their everyday object

observe the chemical reaction the everyday object yields

classify the chemical reaction

recall the theoretical background of the corresponding chemical reaction




6 Chemistry in Everyday Life

6.1 Lesson 1: What is chemistry? – Lesson Plan

Time Content Method Material Goals Objectives Thinking Skills Language Skills

10 min

ascertain what students associate with the topic of chemistry and how they relate it to our everyday life

students can get together in pairs if they want

each student / pair is provided with a set of flashcards

students are asked to write on the flashcards what they associate with chemistry and where in their everyday life they can find things that have something to do with chemistry

the flashcards are collected and put on the blackboard with tape

students and teacher try to categorise the ideas together to provide a clear overview

flashcards tape blackboard

students know what chemistry is and where to find it in our everyday life

students find out about chemistry in our everyday life


identify things in their everyday life that have something to do with chemistry

list things in their everyday life that have something to do with chemistry

speaking (if they work with a partner) writing




15 min

provide students with more information about chemical things in our everyday life

watch the video ‘Importance of Chemistry in Life, Everyday Uses – Studi Chemistry’ on YouTube (https://y2u.be/L2Q2q20KaEk date accessed: 12.08.2021)

students are provided with a handout that contains a fill in the gap exercise (see 6.2.1 Task 1: Fill in the gap)

students watch the video a second time and are asked to complete the sentences with the appropriate content (Part 1 – the words in brackets are the words that need to be filled in)

after the video students compare their sentences with a partner and discuss which version is the most accurate (Part 2)

sentences are discussed together

YouTube computer projector handout

students know what chemistry is and where to find it in our everyday life

students find out about chemistry in our everyday life


listen to the video

retrieve required information for the fill in the gap exercise from the video


compare answers to a partner

discuss which answer is the most accurate with a partner if their answers differ

listening writing speaking




20 min

help students understand what the difference between chemistry and physics is

students are provided with a handout (see 6.2.2 Task 2: Difference between chemistry and physics) that contains short explanations of what chemistry and physics is

half of the students are assigned to read the text about chemistry, the other half the text about physics (Part 1)

after reading the text students get together with the students that have read the same text to discuss it (Part 2)

students find another student that has read the other text and explain their respective text to each other (Part 3)

students draw what they associate with the topic they have just heard about (Part 4)

students present what they have drawn and why

handout pen + paper coloured pencils

students know what the difference between physics and chemistry is

students name the criteria for physical and chemical processes students use correct vocabulary to talk about chemical and physical characteristics


identify important features of the text to tell other students


rephrase the content of the text in their own words

explain the content of the text to another student


illustrate the newly acquired knowledge by expressing it in a drawing

reading writing speaking listening




5 min

wrapping up the content of the lesson

summarise the key concepts - - - - -

Tasks / Steps Rationale

brainstorming on flashcards

Before starting a new topic, it can be helpful to ascertain what the students already know about the

topic or what students associate with it. Working in pairs helps to find more ideas and brings in more

knowledge of the language. Putting the flashcards on the blackboard and trying to organise them into

categories or related topics helps to build bridges for students. Sometimes students have good ideas

but are not able to organise them. Doing it together with them or for them can help them to do it on

their own in the future by showing them different possibilities of organising ideas.

video watching + fill in the gap

Videos are a diverse form of input and may be more interesting for students than reading a text or

listening to the teacher. The video is shown two times. The first time students can concentrate on

watching the video without the need of doing anything in the meantime. They can listen to it and

look at the pictures that should help them associate language with meaning. The second time the

students are asked to concentrate more on the text and fill in the gaps of the prepared sentences.

The sentences vary in difficulty – on the one hand in terms of the number of gaps in one sentence, on

the other hand in terms of the words that need to be filled in. Since some sentences are more

difficult than others some students will not get the word for every gap correct or at all. For that




reason, students are required to get together in pairs afterwards to compare their answers. Not

having filled out every gap (correctly) provides a basis for discussion – which is desired.

difference between chemistry and physics

To not overwhelm students with new information the two topics of chemistry and physics are

separated between two groups in the classroom. Each group only has to deal with one of the topics in

detail and has to be able to explain it to the others. That way only one group has to be the expert of

the topic but in the end both groups are informed about both topics. To get students to also deal

with the other topic in a way they are required to draw something about the topic they have not read

about. In general, getting students to draw something may be motivating and involving since it is not

something they regularly do in subjects other than arts. Letting them show their drawings afterwards

and explain what and why they have drawn it helps students to reflect on the topic.


6.2 Lesson 1: What is chemistry? – Material

6.2.1 Task 1: Fill in the gap

Importance of Chemistry in Life, Everyday Uses

video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2Q2q20KaEk

Part 1: Read through the following sentences. If there are any questions, please ask.

After that, watch the video again and fill in the following gaps according to the video.

We are actually all chemists. When we (eat), (breath), or just

(sit down) chemical reactions are taking place.

When we cook something a (chemical reaction) occurs.

Chemicals are created to target specific areas like (dishes), (laundry)

and (your body).

(Medicine) is another important use of chemistry.

There are more serious things to look at like how some kinds of chemicals are

(nutritious) to the environment and others (cause pollution).

We can see now that we are all chemists. From (cooking food) to

(cleaning ourselves) we make choices every day based on the way chemicals


Chemistry is also important for (the creation of medicines)

and (environmental issues).

Part 2: Get together with a partner and compare your answers.

Do you have the same answers? If not, discuss which one is the most accurate.


6.2.2 Task 2: Difference between chemistry and physics

Part 1: Read your assigned text – either CHEMISTRY or PHYSICS.


Chemistry is one of the major branches of science. People who work in chemistry are called

chemists. Chemists study the substances that make up matter – everything that takes up space in

the universe. They also study the changes that take place when substances are combined. These

changes are called chemical reactions. In addition, chemists create new substances. They have

made plastics, fibres, building materials, medicines, and many other substances that are useful in

everyday life.1


Physics is one of the major branches of science. People who work in physics are called physicists.

Physicists study matter and the forces (pushes or pulls) that act on it. Matter is what makes up all

physical objects. Physicists also study many different forms of energy. The objects that physicists

study range in size from the tiny building blocks of matter to huge groups of stars.2

Part 2: Get together with the students that have read the same text as you. Discuss the content of

the text. Rephrase the sentences in a way that you can report to other students what it is

about and take notes in your exercise book.

Part 3: Get together with a student that has read the other text. Explain what chemistry / physics is

to the other student using your notes.

Part 4: Draw whatever comes to your mind about the topic you just have heard about from another

student. Meaning that if you have read the text about chemistry draw something about

physics and the other way round.

1 https://kids.britannica.com/kids/article/chemistry/352943 (date accessed: 18.06.2021) 2 https://kids.britannica.com/kids/article/physics/390908 (date accessed: 18.06.2021)




6.3 Lesson 3: Working in a lab – Lesson Plan

Time Content Method Material Goals Objectives Thinking Skills Language Skills

15 min

students get to know the rules of how to behave in a lab

students get a handout with the lab rules on it (see 6.4.1 Task 1: Lab Rules)

students read through the lab rules individually and are asked to underline key words (Part 1)

together (students + teacher) go through the lab rules one by one and talk about the key words the students underlined to make sure they get what is important

explain words they do not understand if necessary or let other students explain them

handout pen

students know how to behave in a lab

students recognise what is important about every rule students comply with the rules


read a text thoroughly

identify important words and phrases when reading a text

name the rules that need to be followed in a lab

reading speaking


15 min

help students remember the lab rules

students play charades with the lab rules to remember them more easily (Part 2)

teacher goes through the classroom to check if they recite the lab rules correctly or not

handout pen paper scissors

students know how to behave in a lab

students name the rules that need to be followed in a lab


recite the lab rules correctly


explain the lab rules by showing them during a game of charades


perform the lab rules during a game of charades


15 min

familiarise students with a variety of lab equipment

teacher puts on a slide show of the different lab equipment with the corresponding name that is part of the memory game the students are going to play

students watch the slide show and try to remember lab equipment + name

students are provided with a set of memory cards that depict different lab


equipment and its name (see 6.4.2 Lab Equipment Memory)

one set of cards contains a picture of the lab equipment, the other set of cards can be folded so that either the name of the lab equipment is written on the outside and a short explanation on the inside or the other way round

students get together in pairs and play memory

first round: name of the lab equipment is on the outside, students can have a look inside if they are not sure what kind of equipment it is, if students get matching cards, they should read the description to the other student out loud

second round: short description is on the outside, students match the description to the picture, students are only allowed to keep the cards if they are

computer projector slide show with pictures of lab equipment + name memory cards (set A: pictures of lab equipment, set B: foldable, one side containing the name of the equipment, the other side a short description)

students know the name and purpose of different lab equipment

students can correctly identify lab equipment and state its purpose


identify the lab equipment

name the lab equipment

match the lab equipment to its name


explain the purpose of the lab equipment

reading speaking listening


able to appropriately name the lab equipment

third round (if there is time): name of the lab equipment is on the outside again, when students get matching cards, they are required to explain the purpose of the lab equipment to the other student in their own words, they only get the card if they are correct

slide show is always in the background so students can check if they are correct when they are not sure

5 min

wrapping up the content of the lesson

summarise the key concepts

- - - - -


Tasks / Steps Rationale

reading lab rules + underlining

Students should not only be familiarised with the rules but also with the language that comes with

them. Hence, the first task requires students to read through the rules thoroughly and underline

words that they feel are important. Of course, it will differ what students are underlining but that is

exactly what will stimulate the in-depth discussion of the rules afterwards. That way students will

learn the rules and the associated language. It is more than likely that the rules contain words and

phrases the students do not know. Before explaining them as a teacher I would always try to

incorporate other students into the learning process and ask if someone can explain the word or

phrase to the others. If no one knows it or the students know what it is but struggle to explain it is

the teacher’s task to step in and help explaining.

playing charades with lab rules

Many students do not feel that it is necessary to learn rules by heart, that is why I think that it is good

to help the students internalise the rules in a playful way. Charades does not require the students to

talk a lot but still is a very communicative game. Playing in teams makes it a bit more competitive

than just playing in pairs and may increase the students’ motivation to get the correct answer. The

teacher has a very passive role and just checks if the students cite the rules correctly or not. This

helps students to be more autonomous.


playing memory with lab equipment

Again, learning lab equipment by heart is unrewarding. The aim of the memory task is that students

learn the name and purpose of the lab equipment by indirectly engaging with it. Showing the slide

show with the lab equipment and its name serves as a point of reference for students that have a

hard time remembering the names. Students that feel confident about their memory do not need to

look at the slide show if they do not want to. The first round should serve as a way to get to know the

different names of the lab equipment and to shortly introduce the purpose of the equipment. The

second round deals more explicitly with the purpose of the lab equipment and the name plays a

secondary role. The last round is designed to get students to talk about lab equipment in their own

words rather than reciting given explanations. Of course, students do not have to wait till all students

are finished with each round. They can move on to the next round as soon as they are finished with

the previous one.


6.4 Lesson 3: Working in a lab – Material

6.4.1 Task 1: Lab Rules

Lab Rules

1. Eating or drinking in the lab is strictly forbidden!

2. Always wear shoes or house shoes with a firm sole. Long hair must be tied together

und loose sleeves rolled up. (Appropriate protective clothes are advantageous.)

3. Use chemicals sparingly!

4. Safety glasses are absolutely necessary if the experimental instructions say so!

5. Do not point the opening of a test tube towards others or yourself!

6. Read every instruction closely before starting your work!

7. Inform yourself about the substances (hazard warnings) and the equipment (user

instructions) before starting your work!

8. Close the containers of chemicals immediately after taking the substance out!

9. Use scoopulas and pipettes only for one substance to prevent mixing!

10. Leave your workstation at the end of the lesson the way you encountered it!

Part 1: Read through the lab rules thoroughly. Underline the most important words and phrases. Part 2: Play charades to remember the lab rules better.

Get together in groups of 3 – 4 students.

Together take a piece of paper and write the numbers 1 – 10 on it.

Cut the paper so that every number is on a separate piece of paper.

Fold the paper so that you do not see which number is written on the paper.

Put the pieces of paper in the middle of the table.

The first student takes a piece of paper and unfolds it – watch out that the others do not see

the number that is written on it!

Your task is to explain the lab rule that corresponds to the number on your piece of paper –

but you are not allowed to talk, only to use your body to show the others what the rule is

about! You also should not point at things in the room, only at yourself.

The first student that can recite the lab rule CORRECTLY gets the piece of paper with the

number on it.

The next student takes a piece of paper and the others need to guess the lab rule.

When all lab rules are explained the student with the most pieces of paper is the winner!


6.4.2 Lab Equipment Memory



3 pictures taken from T. Kechajas and E. Voitic, MEHRfach CHEMIE: Teil 2 – Anwenden & Forschen. Linz: VERITAS-VERLAG, 2015, pp. 77–78.












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6.5 Lesson 4: Time for experiments – Lesson Plan

Time Content Method Material Goals Objectives Thinking Skills Language Skills

10 min

revising the lab rules

students are asked to recite the lab rules once again

teacher puts on an empty slide show with the title ‘lab rules’

every time a student correctly recites a lab rule the teacher adds it to the slide show

slide show stays on during the lesson for students to keep them in mind

computer projector slide show with lab rules

students know how to behave in a lab

students name the rules that need to be followed in a lab students comply with the rules


remember the rules that need to be followed in a lab

recite the rules that need to be followed in a lab


5 min

handing out lab coats and safety goggles

every student gets a lab coat and safety goggles

students have to wear protective clothing at all times

lab coats safety goggles

- students wear protective clothing

- -

5 min

dividing students into groups

teacher prepares e.g., 24 pieces of paper (12 for experiment 1 and 12 for experiment 2 with four of them being the same colour each)

- -


students draw one piece of paper each and go to the station that is labelled with their picture + colour

teacher has to prepare the stations beforehand (for 24 students e.g., 6 in total, 3 for each experiment)

tell students to read the instructions carefully before starting with their experiment

let them know that they can ask questions whenever they arise

24 pieces of paper experiment 1: 12 with flames on them (4 blue, 4 red, 4 green) experiment 2: 12 with funnels on them (4 blue, 4 red, 4 green)

students know in which group they are going to conduct their experiment students know with which experiment they are going to start

students get together in groups students go to their lab station

30 min

experiment 1: flame colouration

students conduct the experiment on the basis of the worksheet that is prepared for them at the station (see 6.6.1 Worksheet ‘Crime Scene Investigation’)

students switch stations (blue flame with blue funnel etc.)

see 6.6.1 Worksheet ‘Crime Scene Investigation’

students know how to carry out a flame test

students carry out a flame test


interpret the outcomes of the experiment


carry out a flame test

identify an unknown substance

reading speaking writing listening


30 min

experiment 2: adsorption and filtration

students conduct the experiment on the basis of the worksheet that is prepared for them at the station (see 6.6.2 Worksheet ‘You eat (and drink) with your eyes!’)

students switch stations (blue funnel with blue flame etc.)

see 6.6.2 Worksheet ‘You eat (and drink) with your eyes!’

students know how to decolourise a fluid by using activated carbon

students decolourise a fluid by using activated carbon


interpret the outcomes of the experiment


carry out a filtration

demonstrate the difference between activated carbon powder and granulate

reading speaking writing listening

10 min

cleaning up the lab

students clean up the lab with the help of the teacher

students return their lab coats and safety goggles

- - students clean up the lab

- -

10 min

wrapping up the content of the lesson

summarise the key concepts for each of the experiments together

- - - - -


Tasks / Steps Rationale

revising the lab rules

Since the lab rules are essential for a safe conduct in the laboratory it is important to revise them

together with the students before letting them do their first experiment on their own. The task is

organised as a plenary discussion because probably not all of the students are going to remember all

of the lab rules. Together a comprehensive list of the lab rules is created and visibly presented

afterwards. Therefore, students are always reminded of the existence of the lab rules. Hopefully, this

lessens the need for the teacher to constantly remind students of obeying the rules.

experiment 1: flame colouration

The flame test is a fun but not particularly thrilling experiment. To make it more exciting for students

it is embedded in a crime story. Additionally, students see that chemical analytical processes can be

used in ‘real-life’ applications. Part 1 of the worksheet is designed to guide students through the

process of the flame test. As a last point, they are required to put their insights on record by

colouring the different flames according to their observation. Part 2 and part 3 of the worksheet

requires the students to connect their observations with the self-created table of reference from part

1. Finally, part 4 provides a short explanation about the chemical background of the experiment. The

picture serves as a graphic representation of the explanation. Letting them fill out the fields with the

two given labels that are also part of the explanation shows if the students understand what the

reason for flame colouration is.


experiment 2: adsorption and filtration

This experiment is conceptually less demanding than the flame colouration experiment. However, at

the same time it is more demanding on a motoric level since it consists of more diverse steps that

need to be followed. Again, in part 1 students need to note down their observations – this time in

form of a table with given headers to fill out. To embed the content of the experiment in real-life part

2 connects it with the topic of food additives. On the one hand, students need to find out more about

food additives concerning the beverages they used. On the other hand, they are animated to use the

internet in order to find more information. This possibility to get more information when their own

knowledge does not suffice should point them in the direction of self-initiated information

procurement. The worksheet is rounded off with a short explanation about the chemical background.

In this case, the technique to find out whether students understand how the experiment worked is in

the form of statements that have to be ticked off as either true or false.

worksheet design

Both worksheets share certain characteristics. First of all, they are comprised of either a story or a

real-life context in order to make the experiment more interesting to students. The first part of both

is the hands-on execution of the experimental procedure. Afterwards, a variety of tasks that differ

from worksheet to worksheet are offered. This serves to provide students with different approaches

of dealing with a chemical phenomenon. Furthermore, both worksheets have a column with

additional information. This can either be the explanation of vocabulary that students might not

know, advice concerning the implementation or simply facts about the analysed material.


6.6 Lesson 4: Time for experiments – Material

6.6.1 Worksheet ‘Crime Scene Investigation’

Someone has stolen a pair of safety goggles from the chemistry lab!

It is your task now to find out who it was! There are three suspects.

Fortunately, the thief left a clue behind that will help you.

The following instructions will guide you through the process of

tracking them down by analysing different substances with the aid of

flame colouration.

Material: magnesia rods, Bunsen burner, 5 watch glasses,

coloured pencils (yellow, orange, red, green, purple)

Chemicals: calcium chloride (CaCl2), sodium chloride (NaCl),

copper chloride (CuCl2), potassium chloride (KCl),

strontium chloride (SrCl2)

Part 1: Carry out the flame test for each salt to identify what their

flame colouration looks like. This will serve as a point of reference to

find out who of the three suspects was at the crime scene.

Put a few grains of salt (very little!) on each watch glass.

Now calcine the magnesia rod by holding it into the flame until it no

longer changes colour.

Use the magnesia rod to get a few grains off the watch glass and

hold it into the flame.

As soon as the flame is no longer coloured, use the magnesia rod to

pick up grains of the next salt and repeat the process with all salts.

Colour the flames accordingly.

Ca: calcium Na: sodium Cu: copper K: potassium Sr: strontium


magnesia rods: white rods

made of magnesia oxide

(MgO), heat-resistant, have

no influence on the colour

of the flame

→ optimal for conducting a

flame test

calcine: to heat something

to a high temperature

without melting it to drive

off unwanted matter

→ to make sure that only

the desired chemical is on

the magnesia rod


Part 2: Each of the suspects is carrying around something special all

the time. Every item can be analysed with the flame test to see what

chemical element it contains. Follow the same steps as before and

complete the following table.

item flame colouration contained element




Part 3: Finally, analyse the unknown sample from the crime scene

and compare it to the items carried around by the suspects.

The flame colouration of the unknown sample is ________________.

Therefore, the thief must be the one with the _________________.

Part 4: Read the explanation carefully, then label the illustration with

the words ‘ground state’ and ‘excited state’.

The outer electron of the metal (e.g., calcium, sodium, copper, potassium, strontium) is

brought into a higher shell by the energy of the flame. That means it is in the ‘ground state’

beforehand and is brought into the ‘excited state’ by the flame. From there, it falls straight

back down and releases energy in the process. We can see this energy in the form of

coloured light.


copper coins: consist of an

iron core coated with copper

→ the used material should

not be more valuable than

the value printed on the

coin, copper is more

expensive than iron and

keeps the iron core from


plaster cast: plaster is a

substance that becomes

hard is it dries

→ ideal for molding a cast

that fits the body part of the

fractured bone


1 https://bit.ly/3sbEwTA

2 https://bit.ly/3CJQXuM

3 https://bit.ly/37D2Wfi

(date accessed: 12.08.2021)

4 T. Kechajas and E. Voitic,

MEHRfach CHEMIE: Teil 2 –

Anwenden & Forschen. Linz:

VERITAS-VERLAG, 2015, p. 84.


6.6.2 Worksheet ‘You eat (and drink) with your eyes!’

You eat (and drink) with your eyes! A lot of foods and beverages contain food colouring in order to make

them look more appetising or simply more interesting.

You are going to adsorb the food colouring of three different

beverages using activated carbon. The big question is – would you

still drink them without their extraordinary colour?

Material: 4 beakers (150 ml), hot plate, stirring rod,

funnel, scoopula

Chemicals: distilled water, folded filters,

activated carbon (powder and granulate),

Cola, Fanta, Mountain Dew, Himbeerkracherl, …

Part 1: Choose three different beverages and decolourise them on

the basis of following instructions.

Fill two of the beakers with 50 ml of one of the beverages each.

Add a small scoopula of powdered activated carbon to one of the

beakers and a small scoopula of granulated activated carbon to the

other beaker.

Heat each of them separately on the hot plate for 5 minutes while

stirring with the stirring rod occasionally.

Filter the fluid into another beaker using the folded filters and a


Complete the following table. Write down the colour and also note

how intense the colour is (e.g., dark brown or light brown).

Wash out the beakers and repeat the same process with different


beverage original colour colour after

filtration (activated carbon powder)

colour after filtration (activated carbon granulate)


working with a hot plate: be

careful when touching the

beaker after heating it on a

hot plate!

using a folded filter:

moisten the folded filter

with distilled water to make

it stick to the funnel better


Part 2: Read the labels of the beverages you used and see if you can

identify which food colouring is added. Write down the name and the

E-number. If you cannot find one or the other on the label, feel free

to look up information online using the computer in the lab.

beverage food colouring

(name) food colouring


Part 3: Read the explanation carefully, then decide whether the

following statements are true or false.

Activated carbon is built like a porous sponge – it has a large inner

surface – and therefore, can adsorb a large amount of

substances. Due to the adsorption capacity of activated carbon,

beverages can be decolourised. That means, that the activated

carbon absorbs the colourant of the beverages. When using

activated carbon powder more surface area is available to which

the colourant can bind.

true false

Activated carbon can be used for decolourising beverages. ☐ ☐

Activated carbon granulate works better than activated carbon powder. ☐ ☐

Activated carbon is an adsorbent. ☐ ☐

Coloured beverages look better than decolourised beverages. ☐ ☐

E-number: E-numbers are

the identifiers for additives

that are processed in foods

or beverages

→ these additives are only

permitted if they are not

harmful to our health

porous: something that is

porous has many small holes,

so liquid or air can pass


adsorption: gas or liquid

particles bind to the solid or

liquid surface of the


→ the substance forms a

very thin layer on the surface

of another substance


7 Conclusion

CLIL is an innovative concept that effectively combines the teaching and learning of

content and language. Since the focus of this thesis is on teaching chemistry in English the

first part was dedicated to pointing out why exactly English should be used to teach

chemistry in schools. Furthermore, a general overview on language and subject teaching was

provided. In the course of this chapter, the methodology of CLIL was introduced and

compared with content-based language teaching, L2-medium subject teaching and Englisch

als Arbeitssprache. The advantages of using the methodology of CLIL – the coequal focus on

the language and content aspect instead of just focussing on one or the other – have been

pointed out. In the last theoretical chapter, the exact use of CLIL in this thesis and Bloom’s

Taxonomy – a very useful tool in the context of teaching a subject in a second or foreign

language – was explained.

On the basis of these theoretical foundations six lessons for introducing chemistry in

English in Sekundarstufe I in Austrian schools were outlined. Three of these lessons were

elaborated in more detail including lesson plans and material. Lesson 1: What is chemistry?

aims at introducing the concept of chemistry, help students understand the difference

between chemistry and physics, and explain the general purpose of chemistry. Lesson 3:

Working in a lab lays the foundation for safe lab work by going through the lab rules and

introducing different lab equipment. Lesson 4: Time for experiments provides students with

the opportunity to conduct a simple experiment and apply the knowledge gained in the

previous lessons. All of the lessons have been planned with the content and language aspect

in mind. Additionally, Bloom’s Taxonomy was used as a basis to identify which thinking skills

are addressed with each individual task. All things considered, the aim to create lesson plans

for Sekundarstufe I in Austria with regard to the methodology of CLIL has been achieved.

Due to the limited framework of this thesis, I was only able to outline three lesson plans

in detail. However, I hope to have contributed to the field of CLIL with my research about the

theoretical foundation and the corresponding practical implementation. This thesis is meant

to serve as a reference guide for everyone willing to delve into the methodology of CLIL.

Since the planned lessons are only a small contribution to the vast need of teaching material

further research and engagement with CLIL is still needed. Hopefully, this thesis is going to

spark interest in (future) teachers in engaging with CLIL and trying this inspiring fusion of

both content and language in their own classrooms.


8 References

[1] R. De Cillia and H.-J. Krumm, ‘Fremdsprachenunterricht in Österreich’, Sociolinguistica, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 153–169, 2010, doi: 10.1515/9783110223323.153.

[2] G. Abuja and D. Heindler, Eds., Englisch als Arbeitssprache: Fachbezogenes Lernen von Fremdsprachen. Graz: BMUK Zentrum für Schulversuche und Schulentwicklung Abteilung III, 1993.

[3] P. Ball, K. Kelly, and J. Clegg, Putting CLIL into Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

[4] R. Bolitho and R. Rossner, Eds., Language Education in a Changing World: Challenges and Opportunities. Bristol, Blue Ridge Summit: Multilingual Matters, 2020.

[5] M. D. Gordin, Scientific Babel: The Language of Science from the Fall of Latin to the Rise of English. London: Profile Books Ltd, 2015.

[6] Oxford English Dictionary, ‘Updates to the OED’, 2021. https://public.oed.com/updates/ (accessed Apr. 21, 2021).

[7] R. Gargesh, ‘South Asian Englishes’, in The Handbook of World Englishes, 2nd ed., C. L. Nelson, Z. G. Proshina, and D. R. Davis, Eds. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2020, pp. 107–134.

[8] E. G. Bokamba, ‘African Englishes and Creative Writing’, in The Handbook of World Englishes, 2nd ed., C. L. Nelson, Z. G. Proshina, and D. R. Davis, Eds. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2020, pp. 173–197.

[9] J. Harmer, The Practice of English Language Teaching, 5th ed. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 2015.

[10] W. T. Littlewood, Foreign and Second Language Learning: Language-acquisition research and its implications for the classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.

[11] C. Tardy, ‘The role of English in scientific communication: Lingua franca or Tyrannosaurus rex?’, J. English Acad. Purp., no. 3, pp. 247–269, 2004, doi: 10.1016/j.jeap.2003.10.001.

[12] U. Ammon, ‘Linguistic inequality and its effects on participation in scientific discourse and on global knowledge accumulation – With a closer look at the problems of the second-rank language communities’, Appl. Linguist. Rev., vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 333–355, 2012, doi: 10.1515/applirev-2012-0016.

[13] SCImago, ‘SJR - SCImago Journal & Country Rank [Portal]’. https://www.scimagojr.com/journalrank.php?area=1600&type=j&year=2020 (accessed Aug. 12, 2021).

[14] ‘What is scientific writing?’, Write Like a Scientist: A Guide to Scientific Communication. https://sites.middlebury.edu/middsciwriting/overview/ (accessed Jun. 14, 2021).


[15] D. Coyle, P. Hood, and D. Marsh, CLIL: Content and Language Integrated Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

[16] P. Mehisto, D. Marsh, and M. J. Frigols, Uncovering CLIL: Content and Language Integrated Learning in Bilingual and Multilingual Education. Oxford: Macmillan Education, 2008.

[17] P. Ball, ‘Innovations and Challenges in CLIL Materials Design’, Theory Pract., vol. 57, no. 3, pp. 222–231, 2018, doi: 10.1080/00405841.2018.1484036.

[18] J. Cummins, ‘Cognitive/Academic Language Proficiency, Linguistic Interdependence, the Optimum Age Question and Some Other Matters’, Work. Pap. Biling., no. 19, pp. 198–205, 1979.

[19] L. Dale and R. Tanner, CLIL Activities: A resource for subject and language teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

[20] J. Cummins, Language, Power and Pedagogy: Bilingual Children in the Crossfire. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2000.

[21] J. Cummins, Bilingual education and special education: Issues in assessment and pedagogy. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 1984.

[22] B. S. Bloom, M. D. Engelhart, E. J. Furst, W. H. Hill, and D. R. Krathwohl, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals. London: Longmans, Green and Co Ltd, 1956.

[23] D. Paideia, ‘Misusing Bloom’s Taxonomy’, 2018. https://medium.com/@dr.paideia2020/misusing-blooms-taxonomy-f570c5f56c2a (accessed May 23, 2021).

[24] L. W. Anderson and D. R. Krathwohl, Eds., A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. New York: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc., 2001.

[25] E. Langer, ‘Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) in Science Education’, Wien, 2007.

9 List of Figures

Figure 1: Proportions of languages in publications of the natural sciences worldwide 1880 –

2005 (x-axis: year, y-axis: world-wide share in science publications in percent) [12, p. 338] ... 7

Figure 2: Cummins' iceberg model ([3, p. 13] adapted from [21]) .......................................... 25

Figure 3: Layers of language learning [3, p. 101] ..................................................................... 25

Figure 4: Bloom's Taxonomy (original version, adapted from [23]) ........................................ 29

Figure 5: Bloom's Taxonomy (revised version, adapted from [24, p. 31]) ............................... 31



Bloom’s Taxonomy: Teacher Planning Kit



4 http://techinfusedlessons.weebly.com/blooms-taxonomy-teacher-planning-kit.html (date accessed: 12.08.2021)