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Revista Chakiñan de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades

versión On-line ISSN 2550-6722

Revista Chakiñan  no.20 Riobamba may./ago. 2023 

Review Article



1Investigadora independiente, Ecuador, email:


In a world of permanent change, traditional language teaching methods do not solve the communicative needs in foreign languages ​​that favor knowledge and adaptation to changing educational contexts. The CLIL method is widely used to develop skills both in the learning language and in other areas of knowledge, it allows for the strengthening of teaching capacities to assume the teaching of contents of the different subjects in a foreign language. The objective of this bibliographic review is to collect significant and existing information on the CLIL method and contribution of this method in the educational field. The documentary descriptive approach of recent research related to the subject of study is used, based on the theoretical foundations of bilingual education. The literature review shows that by teaching the foreign language as a vehicle to instruct content from other subjects, students understand the need to learn the language to seize the knowledge of the subject and allows teachers to explore their own teaching context, reflect and identify factors that can improve their teaching practice, especially in the inclusion of writing activities in English.

KEYWORDS: CLIL Methodology; improvement; writing skill; communication; bilingualism


En un mundo en permanente cambio, los métodos tradicionales de enseñanza de idiomas no resuelven las necesidades comunicativas en lenguas extranjeras que favorecen el conocimiento y la adaptación a contextos educativos cambiantes. El método AICLE es ampliamente utilizado para desarrollar habilidades tanto en el aprendizaje de la lengua como en otras áreas del conocimiento, permite fortalecer las capacidades docentes para asumir la enseñanza de los contenidos de las diferentes materias en una lengua extranjera. El objetivo de esta revisión bibliográfica es recopilar información significativa y existente sobre el método CLIL y su contribución en el campo educativo. Se utiliza el enfoque descriptivo documental de investigaciones recientes relacionadas con el tema de estudio, basado en los fundamentos teóricos de la educación bilingüe. La revisión bibliográfica muestra que al enseñar la lengua extranjera como vehículo para instruir contenidos de otras materias, los estudiantes comprenden la necesidad de aprender la lengua para apropiarse de los conocimientos de la materia y permite a los docentes explorar su propio contexto de enseñanza, reflexionar e identificar factores que pueden mejorar su práctica docente, especialmente en la inclusión de actividades de escritura en inglés.

PALABRAS CLAVE: Metodología CLIL; mejora; destreza en escritura; comunicación; bilingüismo


Learning a new language is one of the biggest challenges in primary and secondary education. In Ecuador the English language is a compulsory subject in the curriculum at all educational levels. The main objective of this bibliographic review is to find out in a deep way how CLIL methodology has evolved and contributed to the improvement of the EFL and its effectiveness in classrooms. That is why, it is necessary to review the current status of the teaching methods to improve writing skills in primary education. In addition, the purpose of this article review is to contrast and verify different contributions that permit to realize about the current status of CLIL methodology.

That is why, in terms of the language teachers’ role, they are required to master not only the linguistic knowledge, but also to possess the necessary academic capacities to teach the contents to be learned by their pupils. However, it is important to start in primary education, where the learners begin creating the basic skills that will help them incorporate their future studies.

Notwithstanding how easy it might seem to teach a language, given that children possess a typical disposition and a natural curiosity to learn new things, teaching them is a great responsibility precisely because childhood is the stage where individuals create the basic knowledge and skills to incorporate the future ones; if teachers do not train them well, they will suffer knowledge and skills gabs in their coming learning processes.

From this perspective, Manzano (2015) infers that the world becomes increasingly complex, constantly imposing new social, cultural and professional demands on the individual, such as the growing need for multilingual skills, which has driven the systematic search for new teaching methods that favor the learning of foreign languages in the school context. One such approach is the teaching of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL).

In that sense, Rueda & Wilburn (2014) emphasize that due to the neural networks that are developed in the childhood they have a greater willingness to know new things and learn, for this reason children find easier to learn a second language.

When looking at the best methods to face the changing context, the CLIL methodology seems to be, on one hand, a complex method that involves many aspects to be considered in the process of teaching and learning a foreign language. It is at the same time attractive to students and demanding to teachers, as it focuses on the student, with a great use of ICTs and online tools. It demands a new pedagogy associated with some innovative teaching strategies for its implementation. Thus, teachers need to assume this theoretical starting point and be trained for the different actions and policies to assume CLIL as a teaching method.

CLIL, on the other hand, as an innovative method integrates the learning of specific contents of the curriculum and learning a foreign language. It is based on several important methodological principles, according to several research in foreign language teaching, such as: the necessity that the students are exposed to genuine communicative contexts; language is taught from a discursive perspective; students understand, analyze and produce oral and written texts considering issues of use and gender in some social and cultural contexts and using different semiotic systems (Cendoya, Di Bin & Peluffo 2008). In this context, CLIL has become a promising method when it puts up to improve foreign language teaching and learning in the Spanish educational system (Manzano, 2015).

In addition, it is considered that the learning of a foreign language has become as obligatory in communicative aspect due to the necessity to know and domain an international means of communication. In the process of learning language and contents they join into the educational system to promote the learning of the foreign language. As the students progress through the different courses and educational stages, they acquire a more analytical language, while consolidating linguistic, cognitive abilities and skills (Díaz, 2021).

In addition, Manzano (2015) highlights the use and influence of the CLIL method in Europe, as a consequence, the motivation to carry out this study arises, focusing on an extensive review of the literature and scientific articles of specialized journals related to the subject in order to know the state of the art of the CLIL method in primary education levels, and specifically in the formation of writing skills.


The present bibliographic review methodology contains meaningful information about the insertion, characteristics and development of CLIL in educational institutions, since the lack of knowledge about the background and application of CLIL has affected heavily the students´ progress and the teachers’ performance. In this sense, essential bibliographic research was carried out, based on the consultation of current bibliographic sources, from databases, books, journals and educational repositories. The criteria adopted to gather the information was objectivity, relevance, quality, points of view and accuracy. In addition, theoretical methods were applied for the analysis of the bibliography, which allowed establishing interesting research, findings and valid conclusions, since the systematic method of investigation was very useful.

In this regard, it is important to convey that the first step to do this bibliographic review was to identify supportive research background; next, it was necessary to gather and verify the applicability of the bibliography, then, the review and development of the bibliographic study took place. After that, it was essential to write the main results and discuss about the findings that contributed to provide a meaningful insight about the importance and relevance of the present work. Finally, drawing some conclusions would give the readers a better and broader perspective of the use of CLIL in pedagogical practices. Although CLIL methodology has a very limited application in basic education, there are several investigations regarding the CLIL methodology that has contributed to carry out the present work.

The systematic bibliographic review contains CLIL in different countries, its application and the incidence of this methodology in Ecuador. In this sense, it is worthy to highlight the relevance that this methodology has in relation to the EFL improvement. Some researches that contributed to this review are mentioned below.

CLIL is adopted as a crucial methodology that supports the improvement of language and content by keeping in mind backgrounds and culture. “To establish a wider context on CLIL theory and practice, we read seminal and review documents as well as the most cited works in this field” (Piacentini, 2021, p. 116).

It is also included that “CLIL programmes began and became popular in the European context, but today, they are spreading all over the world, especially showing a growing interest for its implementation in Asia and Latin America” (Fajardo et al., 2020, p. 40).

In a research developed at the University of Cádiz, Spain, Faculty of Education Sciences, entitled CLIL, laying the foundations to work with music in L2, Cancelas & Cancelas (2009) researched and explained that there is some interaction between English and music that allows the learners to relate the content with English language. In this sense, it was assumed that the factors related to cultural competence supports the foreign language, as well as the linguistic skills together with the musical field. “AICLE pone énfasis en la “resolución de problemas” y “saber hacer las cosas”. Los estudiantes se sienten más motivados al poder resolver problemas y hacer cosas, incluso en otras lenguas” (Cancelas & Cancelas, 2009, p. 142).

In another research carried out in Bogotá, in 2013 at the Javeriana University, Faculty of Modern Languages, Dávila & Ramos (2013) developed a research entitled Design of a model workshop for the subject of Social Sciences in French, it was applied to a group of 28 students who belonged to 3rd grade of the Educational Institution, La Candelaria and three teachers of the same school.

The study concluded that approximately the 60% of practitioners were not aware of the CLIL method and none of the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade teachers had received previous training to perform in classrooms. The total number of professors stated that they lack of materials that would fit the level of the students and the demands of the context to be taught in French. An exploration of the academic programs of the campus was carried out in terms of the subject of Social Sciences and the materials that the school had in French language which allowed designing the workshop including the raising issues, objectives and types of activities to be carried out.

As it is observed, some information highlights the importance of knowing the students, the availability of the materials for teaching the contents in the language to be taught, as well as the preparation of the teachers for the application of CLIL method in educational institutions.

The main feature of this method is the dual approach that includes teaching-learning processes and that emphasizes content and language alike. “El proceso de integración de la enseñanza de lenguas y contenido, promueve en el estudiante, el desarrollo profundo de habilidades cognitivas, convirtiéndolo en líder de su propio aprendizaje” (Alegre, 2021, p. 137).


The CLIL method and its application in primary education, specifically when it is related to motivation and bilingual programs is a positive contribution to encourage teachers and students to keep innovating and integrating language and content. “The CLIL methodology has acquired a great impact upon non-university education” (Díaz, 2021, p. 2).

The main characteristic of the CLIL method is that being an integrative method that has several methods and objectives at the same time, it is a dynamic, complex and context-sensitive method. For this reason, when talking about CLIL, we cannot only talk about a foreign language and a content, we should refer to several components or parameters for CLIL to exist.

It is also necessary to include that CLIL not only supports the language and content acquisition but it also embraces interaction and modern learning strategies that allows teachers and students get benefit and propel the educational process. “Otros recursos contemplados por el método AICLE son el trabajo en grupo y la integración de las estrategias de aprendizaje” (Fernández, 2001, p. 220).

Based on this context and according to different authors, there are several points of view in this regard. For instance, Marsh et al. (2001) claims that the CLIL method is divided into 5 dimensions: CULTIX (culture), ENTIX (environment), LANTIX (target language or language); CONTIX (content being taught) and LEARNIX (learning itself). The dimensions are idealized and should not be viewed as ‘standing alone’, because they are usually heavily inter-related in CLIL practice” (Marsh et al., 2001, p. 17).

Dimension of culture (CULTIX). It refers to knowledge and understanding between different cultures. The cultural component plays a very important role since learning a language does not only imply knowing how to use the structures of the language correctly, but also having a certain degree of knowledge of the culture of the peoples speaking the language being learned.

In today's intercultural world it is necessary to implement a methodology that allows students be educated by instilling values of tolerance, respect and diversity.

In this context, the CLIL method has been implemented assertively by the Ecuadorian government through the Law on Intercultural Bilingual Education; specifically, in the case of native Kichwa speakers who learn Spanish as a second language.

Environment Dimension (ENTIX). This aspect is important since it is becoming usual to have classes composed by students coming from different cultures and countries. It is not usually taken into account in such groups where they apply other methodologies rather than CLIL. Migration is a reality that can be seen more present every day, especially in the European continent where the postulates of this method were born. The reality is to see classes where at least 3 different nationalities converge. In such context, the subject Foreign Language plays a unifying language, through which all the students can communicate and interact among them and with the teachers.

This dimension of the method seeks to prepare the students for internationalization and therefore the preparation for obtaining international degrees. Common examples of international programs that give opportunities to study abroad in search of a better professional training are ERASMUS and Leonardo in Europe or Latin America, as well as different scholarship agreements or the creation of the International Baccalaureate in certain institutions. All of them need a common language as the communication means.

Dimension of the language (LANTIX). This aspect refers to a general improvement of the linguistic part of the target language. For the teaching-learning process to be complete it is necessary to establish linguistic objectives and communicative objectives, and the achievement of both depends on the mastery of the target language. In the case of the CLIL method, in addition to being able to correctly use linguistic structures and be able to use and interpret them, its users seek to develop communicative competence in the students through sociolinguistic, discursive and strategic sub dimensions.

In relation to the use of CLIL, the context of Ecuador, it can be mentioned that, in the bilingual educational schools of Quito, the CLIL method is used in primary schools, mainly in private institutions, which also belong to the National Educational system, but they have the autonomy to implement various subjects in their curricular planning, these institutions, in most cases not only offer to teach English but also other languages such as French, German, Mandarin, among others.

Content dimension (CONTIX). While the implementation of the CLIL method is for the study of languages, it is important to consider that the neuralgic part of this method is the fact that, unlike traditional language lessons, when the CLIL method is applied, the language study is not the protagonist of the class, because the acquisition is spontaneous. For this method to be successful the teacher must be sure that the strongest sense of importance is related to the content so that the students reflect on grammar, vocabulary and more language skills to focus on the communicative skills.

Learning Dimension (LEARNIX). In this aspect, some authors refer only to the application of all the above dimensions in an integrated way, resulting in the successful learning of the content and the foreign language. This aspect suggests that the fact of combining several aspects of culture, context and language, among others, allows streamlining the teaching process and turning it into a flexible process that can vary depending on the needs of the student.

It is important to notice that CLIL is conceived as a method of learning languages that combines linguistic aspects and knowledge areas in general. The method pursues a double goal that should allow the student, on one hand, to acquire knowledge of the specific contents of the curriculum and, on the other hand, to develop their competence in a language other than the one normally used in learning.

The language and the non-language content constitute teaching objects, having no predominance of one content over the other. “

AICLE se basa en el desarrollo del lenguaje más que en el aprendizaje forzado del mismo. El lenguaje se presenta en situaciones de vida reales en las cuales los alumnos pueden adquirirlo

(Cendoya et al., 2008, p. 65).

At this point, it can be highlighted that the authors are right when they mention that CLIL is a combination of linguistic aspect and general knowledge. However, it is important to recall that there are specific subjects that are more familiar to the students than others, it could be because they feel related with their backgrounds.

For the British Council, the process of teaching and learning a foreign language rests fundamentally on the teaching method that is used by the educators. They consider that one of the most effective is the CLIL method. This method has acquired a great impact on non-university education. Its proliferation has been considerable during this century through transitional programs that aim at introducing the simultaneous learning of the language and other subjects’ contents, it can be applied to any subject, although the most common subjects found in the literature reviewed are Music, Physical Education, Natural Sciences or History.

Additionally, it is necessary to highlight that this method consists of using second or foreign language for the teaching and learning of various subjects that could have little or nothing to do with the linguistic field. The aim is not to teach a language using the traditional method of grammar and text translation, but to do so in a more natural and flexible way through its use. It is also important to convey that some popular subjects that CLIL can be applied are: History, Sciences, Social studies, Physical Education, Arts, Computing or Music. In this case, it is necessary to discuss that the students’ background and learning styles have a relevant role.

When applying the CLIL method, some features of language and skills such as active and participatory abilities, collaborative learning, gamification, among others, are usually used. CLIL is discussed as a tool that helps the students to interact with their peers and acquire fluency in oral expression in the new language, making the students become more interactive and autonomous people.

Furthermore, there is some evidence about the implementation of CLIL in Physical Education subject, and a different perspective includes “

The use of a second language in PE classes through CLIL does not necessarily entail a decrease in the physical activity level

” (Salvador et al., 2020, p. 59). This perspective is reasonable because the students´ vocabulary and knowledge are the elements that are improved with the application of CLIL in Physical Education and the student´s physical activity keeps the same.

In addition, in a study carried out by Mariño (2014) in a private bilingual school in the city of Tunja, whose purpose was to determine to what extent the CLIL method had been implemented in the institution and thus make the pertinent observations. It was considered a sample of 15 primary school students of 5th grade, whose age ranged between 11 and 12 years. The collection of the data showed that the implementation of the CLIL method was analyzed in the classroom from the theoretical construct of the 4 Cs (communication, cognition, culture and content).

Regarding the evaluation aspect, oral presentations made by the students supported their communicative competence development. It was also observed that students used strategies such as the use of code switching as well as gestures and signs to indicate the meaning of the new vocabulary. In relation to the cognitive aspect, there were several activities in which lower-order skills such as remembering, understanding and applying were used, and there were fewer activities in which students had to develop higher-order skills such as analyzing, evaluating, and creating. It was evidenced that lack of activities to solve real-life problems were necessary.

In regards to the cultural aspect, although the school had some celebrations of the cultures of English-speaking countries, the teachers did not emphasize the application of CLIL with English goals.

Finally, in the content element, in subjects such as Natural Science and Mathematics, it was concluded that teachers did not foresee how English linguistic aspects would be learned. In addition to this, it was not clear which skills would students develop from the proposed topics beyond the acquisition of information. “

After analyzing the findings of the research, it was determined that aspects such as the need for teacher training in terms of CLIL, and CLIL lesson planning might play an important role in the teaching-learning process

” (Mariño, 2014, p. 162).

As it was cited above, the author concerned about the lack of coordination between teaching training and planning because it is essential to be careful about every teaching elements.

It should be discussed in a deeply way, the lack of preparation of teachers, both, those of the language who teach the contents and those of the contents who teach the language to assume both teachings, in this concern, the government in public institutions and the principals in private schools ought to worry about providing training to teachers of EFL who are teaching CLIL.

Among the main findings of the documental research, it assumed that CLIL methodology leads to increase students' intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in the classroom when learning the English foreign language. Likewise, it was identified that learners who follow a CLIL methodology give more value to learning English.

In general terms, these studies permit to infer that using a language other than the native one has a positive influence on primary school students because by increasing their exposure to this new language, it progressively becomes part of their daily reality and cultural context (CLIL), thus not only promoting the communicative competence, but also integrating the content in a meaningful context. “Debido al carácter novedoso de este tipo de enseñanza, vemos que las investigaciones en torno a este tipo de enseñanza no son numerosas” (Campillo, 2017, p. 47).

In relation to the comment made by Campillo, it should be discussed that from 2017 to the present year (2022), CLIL methodology has had more research contribution to foment its application in different classrooms. However, it is true that lack of support and dissemination of how to work with CLIL in different countries, this methodology is not appropriately used and the various educators have not applied this methodology with their students.

It is the specific case of Ecuador, where traditional methods are still applied, and educative institutions beginning with elementary levels to universities still have outdated approaches and methodology in their curricular plans.

Some of the benefits and objectives of CLIL in relation with English language are discusses below:

  • To promote the acquisition and learning of both language and contents through and integrated content-based curriculum.

  • To increase students' language proficiency.

  • To apply the use of new technologies for foreign language learning.

  • To stimulate collaborative work between teachers and students.

  • To develop English as a learning tool and a vehicle for communication.

  • To make students aware of the diversity of cultures.

  • To introduce methodological aspects of teaching and learning in English into other tasks.

In regards to the benefits and objectives mentioned above, it is observed that positive outcomes intend to take place with the correct application of CLIL methodology in Ecuadorian educational institutions.

It sounds like CLIL methodology is the solution to encourage students to learn a new language in an enthusiastic way, however, the challenge that arises to be discussed is displayed as two questions: ¿are Ecuadorian teachers ready or well trained to apply CLIL methodology with their students?, and ¿is their performance accurately enough to fulfill the objectives successfully?

From a similar point of view, in regards to the training of teachers to apply the CLIL methodology in Ecuadorian schools, it is assumed that university students or pre service teachers need to be trained on some previous social and content knowledge that support the implementation of this method. “It seems that the parameters teachers used to plan their classes do not consider the three dimensions of this approach (content, language, and procedures); therefore, students are not developing these dimensions simultaneously” (Argudo et al., 2018, p. 66).

It should be noted that the Ecuadorian language curriculum proposes the use of CLIL in its classrooms. In this perspective, it is said that it is crucial for teachers to get ready to insert the CLIL methodology appropriately to improve the teaching-learning process in public schools. “It is difficult to determine if public schools and its teachers are prepared to put into practice the CLIL approach in accordance with the principles outlined in the national curriculum” (Palma, 2020, p. 85).

As it is evident, the author concerns about the correct application of CLIL in public schools, however, there is a lack of research about CLIL and its application in the Ecuadorian educational system to improve students’ foreign language skills. At the same time, through the collected and analyzed bibliographic review on the topic, it has been observed that there is a gab in the findings about CLIL and its link with writing skills improvement, which continues being a concern that evidences the limitation of CLIL methodology in Ecuadorian schools and around the world.

In a study conducted in Manabí province of Ecuador some authors consider that “The implementation of CLIL had crucial limitations especially on the search for proactive teaching strategies and this resulted in students' less language production” (Barre & Villafuerte, 2021, p. 105).

As it can be read, the authors found some limitations that are related to the topic that had been discussed in this part of the study, those limitation corroborate the lack of teaching strategies and predisposition to encourage students to develop their English language by linking the skills with other content areas.

In a similar contribution that looks for solid evidence about the benefits and applicability of CLIL implementation in Ecuadorian classrooms, the findings displayed some results that are not encouraging. “

The study shows that the preparation around CLIL of English teachers in the public institutions in the province of El Oro is inadequate despite the fact that the curriculum establishes it as a methodology for teaching English in the country

” (Villamarín-Guevara & Fajardo-Dack, 2022, p. 534).

As it is cited above, the researches coincided that teachers need more motivation and pedagogical training in regards to the implementation of CLIL methodology in their schools. That is why, based on several studies, this is not an isolated incident that brings up to wonder seriously about the importance that the government and school principals are giving to the educative process in Ecuadorian schools.

Unfortunately, it was found that productive English language skills such as writing in educational institutions where the method CLIL was applied are narrowed, due to the use of some traditional methods of teaching, which fosters weaknesses in written and oral production skills.

Furthermore, it was identified that there is not enough bibliographic research and evidence that highlights the use of CLIL to improve writing students’ skills. Nevertheless, teachers are the responsible for adapting suggestions and basic concepts of CLIL to their classrooms and propel writing and the other basic language skills in EFL students.

To sum up this part, just to highlight the findings, it is necessary that the government and educative authorities in public and private schools create guidelines to strengthen the insertion of CLIL in Ecuadorian classrooms, and of course, permanent training with modern methodologies is a need that should be considered.

It is advisable to keep in mind that there are some principles that need to be followed in order to make CLIL methodology an innovative an attractive proposal that supports the improvement of the English language and general knowledge of various educational areas in EFL young students.

Furthermore, it was found that there are some contributions that relate CLIL methodology with games and projects. From this perspective, the introduction of various topics and subjects in different contexts can be challenging for teachers and students who are in the process of improving EFL.

In this sense, Griva & Kasvikis (2014) agree that teachers and students can improve any content and language by adapting games to their classes. It is also important to highlight that the authors conducted several projects to verify the applicability of CLIL. “

The findings resulted from the evaluation of the projects confirmed that CLIL has the potential to lead to better understanding and development of the content knowledge and can be an effective educational practice for target language skills enhancement

” (Griva & Kasvikis, 2014, p. 11).

In regards to the previous bibliographic contribution, it can be highlighted that children can develop their learning by adjusting games and stories that come from their culture; in this sense, role plays and debates are some of the games that can support the development of writing skills when using the CLIL method. It is important to recall that writing the scripts for the aforementioned games is the productive ability that the learners will improve.

One of the projects that best explains the implementation of the CLIL method in primary education is the European project called Schools: Future Labs - ERASMUS, led by the Goethe Institute, coordinated by Cervantes Institute and implemented over a period of 2 years in four countries: Bulgaria, Greece, Poland and Romania.

The institutions participants in this Project were the following:

  • Goethe Institute (Rumania, Poland, Bulgaria, Greece)

  • Cervantes Institute (Rumania, Poland, Bulgaria, Greece)

  • Mazovia Self-employed Teacher Training Centre (MSCDN) (Poland)

  • National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece)

  • University of Shumen Episkop Konstantin Preslavski (Bulgaria)

  • Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport (Rumania)

  • Ministry of Education and Scientific Research (Rumania)

The aim of this project was to document and train teams of primary and secondary school teachers from different countries in the CLIL methodological approach. It originated concern and awareness on the part of the teaching teams of the low effectiveness of classroom practices, especially those referring to the subjects covered and recognized by the acronym STEM, i.e. Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, considered essential in all innovative, prosperous and future professional academic fields.

The teaching teams detected that, in primary and secondary classrooms, the study of the Spanish and German languages did not have solid foundations and the results were not the expected. The lack of participation and direct application during class misrepresented these subjects as abstruse and opaque, which lead to student disengagement and demotivation.

The methodology used by the teachers consisted in applying the CLIL principles of a bilingual approach. For instance, they selected trigger activities to attract students’ attention by encouraging them to formulate hypotheses based on those triggers; helped them conduct experiments and record their observations; encouraged discussion of observations and helped teachers to draw conclusions; ensured consolidation by gradually helping students to generalize, transfer, and apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills to everyday life phenomena, among others.

The results yielded data such as effectiveness of the CLIL method, revealing among some of the findings that students who learn with this method reach levels of knowledge and competence comparable to those of the students who learn STEM conventionally in monolingual environments. They develop high level of interest in learning STEM through the lens of a language other than their mother tongue. In relation to teachers, greater satisfaction with teaching STEM using the STEM - CLIL approach, and they stated that their lessons were more interesting, satisfying and motivating.

At this point, it is important to emphasize the importance of the role of motivation in the educational process, since motivation increases students’ predisposition and the outcomes are more positive. “

Thus, attention is paid to the relationship between motivation and the language proficiency attained through two different approaches: Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL)

” (Lasagabaster, 2011, p. 3).

According to the British Council, the CLIL method lesson is neither a language lesson nor a subject lesson taught in a foreign language. In contrast, a successful CLIL lesson must combine the following four essential components called the 4 C's of the curriculum, Content, Communication, Cognition, and Culture elements (British Council):

Content refers to the progression in knowledge (knowledge), procedures (know-how) and attitudes (knowing how to be), which lead to the formation of the specific competences of an area or subject. It promotes collaborative work among the different actors in the educational community among teachers themselves, in the teacher-student relationship and among the students themselves. According to international evidence, this allows them achieving great results in the work they do every day, as it enables to extract the best talents from each teacher and each student.

Communication considers using language to learn while learning to use language. The correct use of language is the most effective way to reach the different actors of the educational community, through the transmission of knowledge in a dynamic and modern way.

Cognition is the development of cognitive skills that connect the construction of concepts with their understanding and linguistic manifestation. It also promotes argumentation, about what is observed from the reality arounds us allows to draw valid conclusions for our daily work, and also constitutes a great tool for problem solving.

Culture is the progression in knowledge, skills and attitudes that make up intercultural competence and enables students to increase awareness of their own identity and gain access to others. It is fundamental in two aspects: in the resolution of the different problems that arise in the teaching-learning process; and in the acquisition of the concept of innovation, which will be fundamental for the professional development of the students once they have graduated from our schools.

By proposing the language as a tool for learning, communicating and solving problems of a content completely unrelated to grammar, pronunciation and the use of the language itself, an unconscious process of motivation takes place. Firstly, because in this way the language is learned in real life, it is learned by writing, reading, listening, and speaking in the language every day, in such a way that the process is more natural and makes the students feel more comfortable; and secondly the students need to use the language if they want to master the content in such a way that regardless of their fears, the mistakes they may make or their embarrassment, they have to force themselves to master it and keep moving forward with the contents of the program.

There are some advantages and disadvantages that were found and summarized after the present bibliographic review. At this point, it is necessary to note that the findings are based on the general bibliographic review, since some countries could have more concern about the importance and the application of CLIL methodology in their educational institutions.

It is important to highlight the contribution made by Argudo et al. (2018) who conducted a study in a university located in Cuenca - Ecuador, the findings displayed real but discouraging outcomes that evidenced the lack of pre service teachers´ preparation, since from a universe of 121 students, only 13 students who represent 10.7% achieved the B2 English level, which is a requirement of the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education.

Similarly, Machado (2019) displays relevant outcomes regarding the teachers’ proficiency level in Ecuador.

Table 1: Ecuadorian English teachers’ level 

Source: Primicias magazine (2019)


Through the bibliographic review it is assumed that CLIL method and dual language teaching has demonstrated to be a useful and successful methodology though, it could be promoted in more schools and in more countries to reinforce and integrate learning in various fields. At the same time, this perspective should be included in the curriculum of the teachers’ trainees, both for content and language teachers to be.

CLIL also encourages the correct use of the language with a variety of vocabulary, as well as correcting and improving frequent grammatical errors, which sometimes obscure the meaning of content with poor grammatical structures that are difficult to understand and do not allow the listener to decode the message to be able to respond.

It is assumed that in order to implement CLIL methodology in the primary classrooms in Ecuador, it is essential to consider that its main objective is the dual approach that integrates the content of a subject with the learning of a foreign language, which allows the development of subject-specific competences in a new language.

The CLIL method has proved to be an opportunity for the development of communicative skills for learners, as well as for better communicative competences for both instructors and students, as well as to achieve a better linking of knowledge with different subjects. Nevertheless, even though there are some attempts, the implementation of the CLIL is still very low in the Ecuadorian Educational system.

The lack of experience in applying the CLIL method is the teachers’ main weakness and the students' low level of proficiency in the foreign language are some drawbacks that need to be taken into account as both in public and in private schools. In this concern, it can be inferred that the low teachers’ language level has been affecting their performance in educational institutions.

Finally, the need of including the preparation of teachers’ trainees in both, languages and subjects in the language during their studies.

Finally, it is concluded that the low teacher´s English proficiency level is a drawback that should be taken into consideration, since the majority of educators in Ecuador do not reach the B2 level which is a requirement according to the Common European Framework of References for Languages


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