Ana M. Relaño (U. Castilla-La Mancha) & David Poveda (U. Autónoma de Madrid)

Native speakerism and the construction of CLIL competence in Castilla-La Mancha bilingual schools: The case of teaching partnerships

English language education in the region of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain has undergone significant changes in the last decade with the rapid implementation of different types of Spanish-English bilingual programs (e.g. ‘MEC/British’; ‘Linguistic Programs’ regulated by the regional ‘Plan of Plurilingualism’, amended in 2014). This situation places English linguistic competence at the center of controversy given the need of certified bilingual teachers participating in CLIL programs, who in addition to comply with the minimum B2 linguistic competence are accountable to engage in the successful teaching of content subjects. Following recent critical research on communicative competence (Kataoka, Ikeda & Besnier, 2013; Jaffe, 2013; Makihara, 2013), this paper analyzes the construction of linguistic competence that circulates among stakeholders in a semi-private school in La Mancha City, which relies on the hiring of native English teachers in the CLIL program. In this presentation, we analyze how English communicative competence is interactionally constructed in “teaching partnerships” (Creese, 2002) between “native” language assistants (NLAs) and content teachers (CTs) at these schools, attending to hierarchies of knowledge (linguistic versus content expertise) and power relationships at work. The analysis of two sets of classroom interactions in biology and religion classes co-taught by the NLA and content teachers reveal co-teaching tensions based on processes of social categorization and hierarchies of linguistic versus subject-matter competence in the CLIL classroom.


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