Language and Speech Laboratory

The implementation of CLIL and attitudes towards trilingualism

David Lasagabaster.

ITL, International Journal of Applied Linguistics      volume:157:23-43.

Linguistic and cultural diversity is becoming an inherent feature of most schools in Europe. This is specially so in contexts such as the Basque Autonomous Community in Spain, where the presence of two official languages (Basque and Spanish) is complemented by the early teaching of English, which sets out as early as the age of four in the majority of schools. Nevertheless, the low foreign language command of Spanish students in general and the Basque students in particular has led to the implementation of CLIL experiences, which have been mushrooming in the last decade. Some voices have been raised though against the ever increasing presence of English due to its probable negative impact on language attitudes, especially on attitudes towards Basque. Many efforts have been made to normalize the situation of Basque at school and some scholars consider that these achievements can be jeopardized if the minority language yields too much space to the two international languages (Spain and English). In this paper the effect of CLIL programmes on attitudes towards trilingualism is examined through a holistic questionnaire completed by 277 secondary students. The results obtained demonstrate that CLIL can help to boost positive attitudes towards trilingualism at school, a matter of the utmost importance due to the ever increasing number of multilingual educational systems in Europe.