Caroline Staquet (U. Lovain)

The interaction of ideological and promotional dimensions in CLIL scientific discourses

This contribution aims (a) to present the controversies in the research field of CLIL following the longstanding promotion of this approach in scientific discourses; (b) to relate this promotion movement to current (language) ideologies. An extensive scientific literature has heralded CLIL’s advantages since the launch of the ‘CLILlabel’ (Dalton-Puffer et al 2014) under the auspices of the EU in the early 1990s. A growing number of scholars have however pointed to significant biases in these studies (Rumlich 2014) for several years. First and foremost, most of them would have failed to include CLIL pupils’ socio-economic status in their designs (Bruton 2013). Second, critical researchers have highlighted a ‘bandwagon effect’ (Cenoz et al 2013; Staquet 2018) in the field, which contributes to the general branding of CLIL on the schoolmarket, whereas embarrassing issues (teachers’ training…) would have been downplayed. Concerns have also been raised as to the prevalence of English in CLIL and the absence of culture, not to mention the absence of any widely accepted definition of CLIL (Cenoz et al 2013). Although the influence of the European Union in CLIL research is well known in the field (Van de Craen et al 2007), so far no study has questioned in detail this enthusiasm in major scientific discourses on the approach (a) in relation to the neoliberal (language) ideologie(s) promoted by the EU, and (b) from a discursive point of view. We therefore propose to also present a sociolinguistic analysis that unveils the political and economic interests behind promotion of CLIL. For this purpose, we will outline the results of our discourse analysis of a major scientific discourse on CLIL.