Content and Language Integrated Learning in the History Classroom

Grant recipient: Luke Clossey, Department of History

Project team: R.A. Rezamand, Esther Souman, and Vlad Vintila, research assistants

Timeframe: March 2016 to October 2016

Funding: $4,990

Course addressed:

  • HIST388 - Christianity and Globalization
  • HIST472W - Problems in World History: Afghanistan

Final report: View Luke Clossey's final report-short (PDF) and final report (manuscript)(PDF)


Description: I'm interested in experimenting with applying Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) to the history classroom. In Fall 2015 I incorporated a Chinese module into a seminar, and I plan to incorporate modules in Latin (for HIST388) and in Dari (for HIST472W), in Summer 2016. I hope to find out two different but related sets of information.  For the first, more technical, set, I would like to know how effectively the students were able to learn the language, and how their learning strategies changed to accommodate a different form of knowledge. For the second, more abstract, set, I would like to know whether and how the language learning impacted their learning of history, in particular whether working with the language changed what and how students learned about the historical process of translating, and of ideas crossing cultural and linguistic boundaries. In addition, I will be incorporating a calligraphy workshop in HIST472W. Because the Dari module would focus on mastery of the alphabet, the writing practice of the workshop would directly reinforce that learning. On the other side, it would give the students hands-on experience in exploring and appreciating the material and visual aspect of language--to help them better understand Afghan culture and therefore history.

Questions addressed:

  • What skills in the language did the students achieve?
  • What new methods did students develop to learn the language?
  • Did CLIL help students better understand, intellectually and experientially, the history of translation and the transcultural history of ideas?
  • In what other ways did the language learning support learning history?
  • In what ways did the language learning interfere with learning history?
  • Is CLIL a worthwhile use of student/instructor time?

Dissemination: I might disseminate project findings through the History Department's newsletter and teaching-seminar series. Colleagues at other universities have expressed an interest in the project, and I intend to publish the results in an academic journal.

Keywords: second language learning, content and language integrated learning, CLIL, survey, focus group

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