Language as a meaning making resource in learning and teaching content

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This article reports on a study of written production in content and language integrated learning (CLIL) with special emphasis on the ways linguistic resources are used in constructing historical meaning. The study utilizes the systemic functional framework (SFL) and its data consist of essays written in English (language of instruction) and in Finnish (students’ first language and language of instruction) by ten CLIL students and in English (the only language of instruction, students’ first or second language) by nine peers in international school (all grade 8 students, about 14 years of age). The discussion addresses the following questions: What are some of the features emerging in the written productions that reflect the use of language in constructing historical meaning in the light of systemic-functional linguistics? In particular, what characteristics of grammatical metaphor realized in terms of syntactic intricacy and thematic organization are observed in the English and Finnish essays of the CLIL students? The article concludes with a discussion of future research and pertinent pedagogical implications to CLIL environments.


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