Content & Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)

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Post Date: 18 January 2023

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Irish Pilot Project


Great news that the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Irish Pilot Project is underway in participating English-medium primary and secondary schools as well as early learning and care settings across the country! Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT), Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) and Better Start (National Early Years Quality Development) are supporting the schools and early learning and care settings undertaking this rewarding initiative during this academic year. Best of luck to all involved! We hope that all participating students enjoy and benefit from this wonderful opportunity!


What is CLIL?


CLIL is a dual-focused educational approach in which an additional language is used for the learning and teaching of both language and content. A CLIL approach provides for the delivery of aspects of the curriculum through a language that is not the medium of instruction in the school. While CLIL is not the same as immersion, it offers flexibility and opportunities for a more focused approach to target language (Irish in this instance) learning and teaching in English-medium early years settings and schools by: 

  • increasing the exposure of learners to Irish by extending the use of Irish as a medium of communication and instruction in real contexts beyond discrete Irish language lessons 
  • supporting the development of learner’s higher order cognitive and creative competences 
  • exploiting and integrating opportunities for language acquisition and content learning in other curricular areas to support the use of academic language
  • expanding the pedagogical repertoire of early years practitioners, primary teachers and teachers of Irish and other subjects 
  • extending and promoting the benefits of bilingualism beyond the Irish-medium sector


Why is a content and language integrated learning approach being considered?


The education-related objectives set out in the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish language 2010-2030 and the associated Action Plan 2018-2022 include the Department’s commitment to explore a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) approach to implementing partial immersion in Irish in schools and early years settings.


What is the aim of this CLIL Project?


The aim of the CLIL project is to improve learner competence, confidence and disposition to Irish in English-medium Early-years settings and in primary and post-primary schools.


How will participating practitioners/teachers be supported?


CPD in the CLIL approach will be provided to practitioners and teachers participating in the project. This will be informed by research and third level experts working in the fields of linguistics and teacher education.


CLIL News Update from Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT)


Over a period of eight weeks from November to January 2023, various subjects are being taught through the medium of Irish to first-year students in the current cohort of secondary schools participating in the CLIL project. Interest was shown in teaching the following subjects through Irish for the duration of the project during the current academic year: 

  • CSPE 
  • SPHE 
  • History  
  • Geography 
  • Religious Education 
  • Home Economics 
  • Physical Education 
  • Visual Art 

A weekly check-in by JCT Subject-Advisors with the participating teachers in each subject is taking place for the duration of the project.


CLIL News Update from Better Start (National Early Years Quality Development)


The second year of the CLIL Project will commence in early learning and care settings on the February 6th, 2023.

Twenty Early Learning and Care settings will participate in the project this year.

Settings participating in the project and guided by Better Start Early Years Specialists will implement lunchtime activities (‘Am Lóin’) through Irish over an 8-week period commencing on February 6th, 2023.


CLIL News Update from PDST