Qualifying Paper for Proposed Qualitative Action Research Study: Best Practices for Content and Language Integrated Learning at Hyde Academy, Beijing, China
In the 21st century, English has increasingly become the worldwide link language used most often in communication among people who speak multiple languages in both local and global contexts (Chen, 2012; Lai, 2014). English is an important international language, used as a lingua franca, in many domains such as politics, business, and education. As a consequence of this pervasive use of English, the demand for speakers who use English proficiently is necessary for successful communication in countries all over the world for a variety of practical purposes (Khamkhien, 2010). According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), five primary goals influence successful participation in the global community. These five goals are: 1) using effective communication in more than one language in order to function in a variety of situations and for multiple purposes; 2) interacting with cultural competence and understanding; 3) connecting with other disciplines and acquiring information and diverse perspectives in order to use the language to function in academic and career-related situations; 4) developing insight into the nature of language and culture in order to interact with cultural competence; and 5) communicating and interacting with cultural competence in order to participate in multilingual communities at home and around the world (ACTFL, n.d.).
The development of the pedagogy of content and language integrated learning (CLIL) is a consequence of the use of English as a lingua franca in the global arena. The primary arguments about the limitations of CLIL pedagogy and the use of English as the lingua franca posed by Ravelo (2014) were the transmission of cultural and linguistic imperialism, the lack of appropriate teacher training and preparation, and the difficulties in the assessment of CLIL efficacy. The mention of cultural and linguistic imperialism as a CLIL limitation were especially provocative and warrant further development and discussion in this proposed qualitative action research study. In a retrospective analytical study, Foley (2014) examined the relationship between: a) English as the lingua franca in the current global context, and b) methods of CLIL instruction. Foley’s study looked back at the changing landscape of English from its development in Britain where it started to become a world language and the consequences that such expansion had in terms of change and adaptation to different national contexts, particularly in China and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member states. It was concluded that “this hybridity and permeability of English is a defining feature, allowing it to expand into new domains” (Foley, p. 75).
In terms of relevance and value to this proposed qualitative action research study, Foley (2014) advocated that English should be taught in a CLIL context using the dynamic perspective model. The dynamic perspective model has similar aspects to the CLIL model that is being used at Hyde Academy in Beijing China (the location of this proposed qualitative action research study), thus lending credence and support for this proposed qualitative action research study along with a well-researched historical overview and contextualization of the value of English language instruction worldwide. Other researchers have also found that CLIL is an important means for non-native English speakers to learn English language skills and to participate successfully in all facets of the international arena (Ishikura, 2015; Kong & Hoare, 2012; Satilmis, Yakup, Selim, & Aybarsha, 2015).
English language skills are becoming increasingly important and highly necessary as preparation for full and successful engagement in the global community. This proposed qualitative action research study will investigate how effectively English language and core subject content are being taught simultaneously using CLIL pedagogy at Hyde Academy, a private English language school located in Beijing, China.The primary goal of Hyde Academy is to prepare its students for full and successful participation in the global arena by providing an excellent education in English and in other subject areas using CLIL pedagogy. The general aim of this proposed qualitative action research study will be to discover whether or not Hyde Academy fulfills this global preparedness goal through the effective use of CLIL practices. Two specific purposes of this proposed qualitative action research study will be the following: 1) to investigate the problem of how to most effectively teach content and language objectives simultaneously, and 2) to identify specific CLIL practices at Hyde Academy that will contribute to student success as measured by the achievement of clear and measurable linguistic and subject content objectives.
Background of the Problem