Volume 35 Number 2
  • ISSN 1461-0213
  • E-ISSN: 1570-5595
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This study explores issues of potential (in)equity in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) programs in bilingual secondary schools in the Madrid region (Spain). Based on their general L2 proficiency, students in grades 7 to 10 are streamed into either High Exposure (HE) or Low Exposure (LE) strands, with different degrees of exposure to CLIL. Although this system ensures that all students in a bilingual secondary school receive CLIL to a certain degree, recent voices have signaled the potential risk of fostering inequality among students by streaming within the program (Fernández-Agüero & Hidalgo-McCabe, 2020Hidalgo-McCabe, 2020). In this study, we explore classroom interactional practices by one science teacher teaching the same content in both groups (grade 7 HE and LE strands), and the effect of such interactional practices on enhancing (or not) students’ higher order thinking skills and the expression of academic content in the L2 or L1. For the analysis, we developed a multi-layered analytical model which incorporates the construct of cognitive discourse functions (CDFs) (Dalton-Puffer, 2013) and the semantic dimension of Legitimation Code Theory (LCT) (Maton, 20132020). We find significant differences across the two groups in the use of CDFs and ‘semantic codes’ for knowledge construction and meaning making. More specifically, the results show a more frequent use of the CDF and a higher rate of semantic density (abstractions) in classroom discourse in the HE strand.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): CLIL; cognitive discourse functions; equity; LOTS/HOTS; semantic codes
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