It promises what can't be refused!

Is that "marketing" or wishfull thinking?

The issues within CLIL

Since I show myself here, sceptical of the promises that promise too much, (no. 11 is a typical example), in the name of fairness, I am giving you 4 internet addresses where you will find 4 experts - obviously giving a story that puts my objections to shame! That's fairplay and democratically gives you both sides - though my argument is a poor thing! Google the following 4. headings.

a) 1. CLIL stato dell'arte e prospettive future. Gisella Lange'. Main relevance at 21-28 mark

"Una metologia che per forza dev'essere completamente diversa di quella a cui siamo abbituati"…."non frontalita'", "attiva", "collaborazione", "autonomo"...etc (This is "Progressive" education, 30 years late!! see "page" on "CLIL is progressive eduvcation").

b) 2. youtube, Carmel Mary Coonan the role of CLIL teachers (notice argument at 15-18 minute mark)

c) 3. youtube Marsh on CLIL very "reasonable" and urbane and over-seeing a big enterprise; almost "industry".

d) 4. on "Per un CLIL di qualita'" by Federica Garotti "negoziazione dei significati"

For my suggestion, see no. 27.

1.  Although there are experts and university academics who have similar views to me, there are more, who are orthodox believers in "acquire" formats, so you should be careful what you say to some people! There is a powerful group out there which thinks it's all settled, and the doubters are just Stone-age cavemen! So treat what I have gathered together for you here on CLIL, as from a grumbling devil's advocate

2.  Watch on "youtube, Carmel Mary Coonan CLIL", giving a conference talk with Gisella Lange', beside her: ("La Passionara", as some have called her, of CLIL, and who, since you could call her the big authority on CLIL at the Ministry, will have approved of Coonan's point of view). So Coonan will give you a "best" case, - During the Coonan talk, listen particularly between the 15 minute and 18 minutes signs; the argument goes through a revealing patch. You will also find under "Marsh CLIL youtube" himself justifying CLIL. You judge for yourselves. (Marsh was the "inventor" of CLIL). What worries me is the unbelievable transformation which they promise will occur in the school didactics; and the schools themselves which you and I know! ALL thanks to CLIL. What you can hear is, as in note 11, a special "virtue" being claimed that sets CLIL apart from "mere teaching content in English", which as Coonan and Marsh admit HAS been done before. CLIL, they say is different: as also Lange' emphasises. But WHERE can we locate the difference between "ordinary" courses of English Literature with discussion and pair work and the apparently quite different CLIL? Again, look at note 12 for the extraordinary advantages promised.

This difference is said to lie in the didactics (= the organisation of the class room, the role of the teacher and both the content and the presentation of the content, (Lange') and "negoziazione dei significati" con la classe. (Federica Garotti) This happily necessary change, (as "practitioners" view it) in didactics is occasioned by the challenge of teaching content and language together. The "Passionara" of CLIL, Gisella Lange' even views CLIL as a sort of Trojan horse within schools, bringing about radical change in didactics and schools themselves! What strikes me as a Briton, is the amazing echoes of the "progressive movement" in education in Britain and America from 1970-1990s and their "reading wars", which is now discredited. If you read 11, below, it could have been a progressive claim for their "radical reform". Look at the video on "Per un CLIL di qualita'" by Federica Garotti. I am recommending the views of a noted CLIL expert for YOU to set against my doubts. So compared to my pin pricks of doubt, Marsh, Lange' and Coonan are BIG HITTERS; listen to them and perhaps you will be convinced.

3. There is now such a self-fulfilling belief and privileged funding for CLIL as being "the answer" to all the insufficiencies of past methods, (and didactics in general (!) and even schools!), to make me very uneasy; after all, the history of language teaching is a graveyard of Eureka moments! - see Wilfried Decoo, on "The Mortality of Language Learning Methods", (in the "13 pages") which well describes the 30 year cycle of death and rebirth of "solutions". Above all, in the face of such massive reiteration of the seemingly self-evident acronym "CLIL", who dares raise objections!? I have a huge scepticism about the conceptual underpinning ("acquire") of nearly all discussion on school language learning. Whether it is the now poor dismissed "Communicative Approach" that held sway for 40 years (!) or the present CLIL; they both run on that same fuel. The concept "Acquire" is such a determinant of thinking that any reasonable objections are met with astonishment or animosity; as if one were doubting an established law of nature. But surely science progresses through "peer group review": not by exclusion of "heretics", and besides, as Kaplan points out, language teaching can hardly be said to have a shining record for backing winning horses! (2000 years before CLIL resolved it!).

We should be careful before shouting "Eureka". The problem is that CLIL is an acronym, and like all such, it easily becomes a mystifying flag. An acronym looks like a solid demarcated existent thing. In this case it parcels up "language teaching" and "Subject/content teaching". Its acronym asserts tendentiously its own REALITY, disguising some very doubtful "versions" and one must ask, "When is CLIL not CLIL". The trouble is that it has become an almost salvational sect within EFL, which sells itself by not just promising better language learning but a new cognitive learning; a revolution in didactics, even a way of changing schools! (Marsh, Coonan, both state that CLIL is not just a mere teaching of a subject through a foreign language but a new form of DIDACTICS".

Rather strangely, Marsh in his talk says there are many forms of CLIL, which of course makes it even harder to answer my question to him, "when is CLIL not CLIL", or for you to find out "what exactly is CLIL"? … "Ah many things"!). All the ambitious claims are hardly believable as solutions to school didactics if I read in The Guardian of March 30th - "20% of teachers in English schools have suffered false accusations from pupils". THAT is the reality of student "participation"! Italian schools are I hope not at that point but parents here are used to interfering heavily in schools on behalf of their children.

4. In the "13 History pages" you saw how well Wilfried Decoo puts together the various movements in Language teaching: the cycles of birth and rebirth of methods! Each one being ushered in with a shout of "Eureka, we have finally found the solution".

5.  In one fundamental way CLIL does not differ from its predecessor, "The Communicative Approach". Both depend on the concept of implicit/natural acquiring. Take that away and they both fall. The word first came in as central importance with Stephen Krashen, who thought why don't we let L2 learning follow L1. Well, let us look at the actual, real contrast between L1 learning and L2 situations. Let's count the hours of L1 and L2. Over the first 6 year period of the L1 child's "learning" or yes - "acquiring" he/she has an average of 14 hours x 7days x 51 weeks x 6 years of one to one mother child REAL communication (motivated listening and attempting to speak. = 29,988 hours available for one to one listening/speaking and maybe at an ideal evolutionary determined age. As against this we can set the 684 hours of one teacher to 25 students (3 hours a week (x 38 weeks) for 6 school years =684 hours (- ¼ hour for interruptions and maybe dividing by 25!?). Hardly in the same league as L1 child, so with what justification do we transport the concept to schools which are SO different? One answer is here. Let's consider this: a 60 minute language lesson and 60 minute subject lesson. If we could teach both together we would get 120 minutes for both! Not only that, CLIL leaders, (see the 18 benefit extras, listed in the CLIL pamphlet) believe that a CLIL lesson is intellectually more valid than a traditional subject lesson, so that those 120 minutes might be considered, all in all, worth 240 minutes, grown from 60! Very high stakes, and in fact, there is a lot of money riding it.

6.  In my opinion, because of the unquestioned prominence and ubiquity of the conceptual determinant, "acquire", no one has the intellectual tools with which to question the "acquire" assumptions within CLIL and this may (ironically) limit its effectiveness. However, reality is what it is, and doubts have little place in the face of Brussels absolute conviction to fund CLIL as "THE answer", that we have been looking for, (for 2000 years!) so we have to accept that as another immovable reality; at least for the next 40 years of the cycle! But is Brussels forgetting those "descriptors" that make up the pan-European test system: A1, A2m B1 etc? How are those functional "competences"(!) to be taught (sorry, acquired) within CLIL

7.  Let us consider honestly these 3 types of lesson.

   1 hour dedicated to the English language (if truly focused on    speaking fluency)

   1 hour dedicated to a complex school "subject".

   2 hours of both, but mixed. Will the efficacy here not depend on to what degree we believe that the "acquire" mechanism will look after spoken fluency, and also to what extent there has been an effective simplification in the didactic material? Or am I ignoring again that extra cognitive region that mysteriously only CLIL reaches. 

8.  Now I have nothing but praise for Wales' 50-50 lessons in English and Welsh in Elementary schools. But the honest intellectual question is that which I asked Marsh (inventor of CLIL) at the Rovereto conference in 2006; "when does CLIL stop being CLIL": that is to say, at what point is it justified to doubt "CLIL" as having become diluted beyond usefulness? There has to be a point. I reminded Marsh that (I had read) that he had written that 9 hours a week were necessary for an effective CLIL program. He replied that he had never said that. I see that now there are "modules" and abbreviated versions of CLIL, (through limitations of time?) so I still persist: "when does CLIL stop being CLIL". There must be a limit when the ingredient is being spread too thin: just calling it CLIL is not going to be enough. Thinking of Wales' excellent 50 - 50 (with 2 surrounding cultures!!), when do short "modules" of CLIL become too thin to still be called CLIL? - though the acronym may still be the wrapping?

9.  This remains an important question, for after all, CLIL must not become just a magic incantation like "abracadabra", AND, still in doubt is whether CLIL will resolve the present limited seconds in which students speak (WITHOUT texts) in class. Incidentally, what actually happens in a CLIL classroom may be very mixed and cross bred with other methods. Like everything in life; "it all depends"! (see footnote of final page on Hong Kong research. Italian mixed ability classes + immigrants with reduced Italian may easily give similar results).

10.  The fact is that at the heart of the CLIL "method" is a belief in the efficacy of "acquire" and "exposure", but as we all know, "natural" acquire needs a special length of "exposure" and right conditions, and somehow within the "subject", space must be sculpted for speaking practice. The very word acquire was used as a naturalistic alternative to the cognitive, conscious, explicit "academic" learning. (Grammar, vocab lists, translation, written exercises). "Acquire" was part of the "progressive" movement in education reforms. (By the way, the Latinate "acquire" which nobody outside of education circles uses in England except ironically, (because it sounds too fancy), would be translated into English with "pick up" = catching a thing or information by chance encounter, as for example in, "I've picked up a lot of information about farming in the last 40 years from living next to a farm", or "I picked up a cold at school"). Maybe that fits L1 but hardly L2. That is the beauty of English "Latin"; no one knows what a lot of it means, but all the same, they nod respectfully! (You remember the famous Latinate "collateral damage" or "rendering" = killing innocents or torturing!). So to mark the difference between CLIL and the Communicative Approach and previous English Literature lessons in English, read this claim for CLIL, not made by an ignorant enthusiast but by a centre of experts in Trentino in their pamphlet, "Il futuro si chiama CLIL". Surely a dangerous hostage to fortune AND really it shows where the repetition of the acronym "CLIL" is killing a good idea with exaggeration.

11. "CLIL..... giova allo sviluppo di tutta la persona (1) ed avere influssi positivi sulla motivazione dei discenti.(2). riguarda non soltanto L2 (3) ..bensi anche l'acquisizione di quelle competenze traversali (4) che interessano tutte le discipline (5): la competenza espressiva,(6) l'autonomia nel proprio processo di acquisizione (7), l'assunzione di un metodo di lavoro (8), la concettualizzazione (9), la capacita' di analisi (10), e di sintesi (11), la comprensione dei contenuti (12),e dei testi (13), la motivazione all'apprendere (14). Graziie a CLIL there's student autonomy "La costruzione autonoma del sapere (15), and " assumere la responsabilita' della propria personale costruzione di significato.(16). It also promotes (enforces?) teacher co-operation. (17). As if this wasn't impressive enough, the authors assert that CLIL gives …. una "promozione di un atteggiamento di base volto all'apprendimento in tutto l'arco della vita". (18).

12.  So CLIL must offer more and that, in my insignificant opinion, is what the Italian extract and both Coonan and Marsh do on their youtube talks: CLIL they claim is much more than previous English content discussed in English. That sort of mysteriological claim is simply unanswerable; you believe or you don't. But in my opinion, it sounds very implausible. Look again at the passage in Italian of the 18 virtues of CLIL. CLIL apparently represents not just a refreshed English teaching but a whole new didactics that heralds a whole new kind of school. If you think I am exaggerating, read again those claims in Italian or listen to Marsh and Coonan. That is the problem. (By the way on the youtube talk by Coonan notice the indicated 15 to 18 minutes period where her argument has trouble). I see that Brussels and the National ministries have been persuaded and who wouldn't be by this offer of 2 for the price of 1 and the key to whole school change. "Bright new dawn"!

13.  To return to my question to Marsh; the time available is the central issue because with a school subject, there is an additional demand on time. So logically, we must allow less time for the language, per se (a concept of course that doesn't exist in the "acquire" world. Language is never "per se"). We must presume that it will be addressed in a "progressive" way: that is, in small groups of students who will discover the "subject" for themselves, speaking amongst themselves in English and considering their work sheets/books. (By the way, CLIL is very dependent on what one might call "progressive" ideas of education which are now being questioned in England. We should list these chief ideals, but interestingly we find them all in the 18 benefits, found in the CLIL pamphlet: see note above). It is extraordinary how they are all familiar as qualities previously hitched to humanistic education, though usually expressed rather more elegantly.

14.  Now when it was seen that the 40 year long "experiment" (Poor kids, experimented with! No wonder an 18 year old in an anonymous comment said he'd learnt "more with you two in 5 days than in 7 years at school"!) …when it was seen that the experiment with "Communicative Approach " was not producing the wished for results, (that "revolution" at their expense), it was thought that the problem was the artificiality of the pretended communication and of the content that a "functional" categorisation of language determined. So it was thought, why not teach/communicate in English about a real content: a school subject, so that it becomes REAL communication: but does it? Besides, for a lot of kids, how "real" is a school subject anyway? Marsh assured us that in Finland, boys who were previously not particularly interested school subjects, suddenly changed attitude when the subject given was motor bike mechanics and was delivered in English. Hardly credible that English can make subjects so "cool"! Some of the kids that disturb classes that I have known would not have responded if the lessons had been made even less intelligible.

15.  At a conference in Rovereto in 2006, Professor Hans Drumbl of Bolzano University, who had himself architected a teachers' course at Bolzano which was full of creative diversity and in which I taught, asked one of the speakers on CLIL at the Rovereto conference whether there was the possibility that "CLIL was now being used as a "panacea" for all the previous insufficiencies and disappointments in 2nd language learning" - or as people now put it - "acquisition". Incidentally, this change from "learn" to "acquire" could also be questioned as another panacea; a form of wish fulfilment. In both cases there is a tendency to use the term as a battering ram to enforce consensus: after all, it does promise what we all want! Maybe, if Kaplan was right many years ago to say the following

16.  "The language teaching field is more beset by fads than perhaps any other area of education. The 'best' methodology changes at incredibly frequent intervals, depending on which charismatic 'scholar' happens to have drawn attention to him or herself lately." (Kaplan 2000). So then we should remain healthily sceptical and NOT put all our eggs once again in ONE basket/method. (Remember how "The Communicative approach" was once the "only way").

17.  I remember my school days 60 years ago, and even then, there were good teachers who spoke French for most of the lesson and also tried to offer us interesting lesson content, though without making a fetish of "only French", because though teachers even then believed in authenticity, they didn't yet have the battering ram illusion that in 3 hours a week, you could imitate the acquire (yes) of all day, every day L1 mother-child motivated learning. Talking of which, for how many years has very advanced English (the very best!) - Chaucer, Shakespeare, Austen, Bronte, Dickens etc, been taught and talked about in English Literature courses at Superiore? Surely that was CLIL before the label was invented or anyone knew how the "future" would be?! Yet, as good as its "content" was (the very best), did literature CLIL courses lead to speaking fluency? Or did the CONTENT distract from that basic "Lower order Automatisation" that Amsterdam University research spoke about as being so important? Quoted by Decoo in "The Mortality of Language learning Methods". See 18 following.

18.  "Recent experimental research by Hulstijn and his team at the Kohnstamm Institute (University of Amsterdam) indicates that higher-order skills cannot function properly in the foreign language without well-developed levels of lower-order automatization (Hulstijn 1999, quoted by Wilfried Decoo)". Is THAT being addressed in Elementary school CLIL? However, I am forgetting what Coonan and Marsh state on youtube: CLIL is not at all just a matter of teaching an English "content" through English. Yes that has been done before. CLIL does something different. It's a whole didactics! A mysterious ingredient. It reminds me of the jokey Guinness advert. "Guinness reaches the parts that other beers don't".

19.  What will be the judgement on the new short CLIL "modules" taught for less time than ever a year course of English literature lasted? Does even a reduced CLIL "module" still carry enough of that magic ingredient "x" to still checkmate all other teaching methods and reach parts that other beers don't? Watching and listening to the various presentations of CLIL on the internet by convinced "practitioners", one thing strikes my experience of 40 years. We could say that in that period, the paradigm ( = the conceptual framework that influences the forms of description, practice and research of a phenomena), has moved language instruction from cognitive, explicit learning to a model of implicit, self discovery, natural acquiring. When I hear how the specifically English language instruction will be melded into the CLIL content/"subject" lessons, I can see being repeated exactly the conditions that, during the last 40 years, did NOT deliver what the Amsterdam research called, "Lower Order Automatisation", and which the overwhelming majority of the 7000+ students I've taught have shown themselves to be lacking in. Coonan and Marsh assure me that CLIL has it covered; just as proponents of Communicative Approach once did.

20.  THE PROBLEM OF COMPREHENSION IN CLIL. There is research that has looked at the problem of comprehension and the effect on it of "missing" vocabulary. The quotes are taken from Professor Wilfried Decoo's book on "Systemisation in foreign language teaching". Routledge press. NB. Bi-lingual Quebec has done very interesting experiment and research on what makes for effective bilingual education .

21.  Systemised VocabularyDebunking vocabulary myths, in connection with acquisition has been the focus of Mondria's experimental research (1996, 2003, 2006) Overall, the research shows that, at least in regular, non-intensive school language programs, learning words only or mostly from exposure to language, without an applied effort with organized material, is inadequate. A more "proactive, principled approach needs to be taken in promoting vocabulary learning" (Schmitt 2008, p. 333).

22.  The "Acquire" mechanisms are inadequate for vocabulary in a limited time school situation. There are limitations of comprehension if it is only to be gained through help of context. (up to 95-98% vocabulary coverage is required in order to understand a text, which equates to only one unknown word for every fifty words!!). It needs systemized readers - practice. Basic comprehension requires our understanding any single utterance as such, without the help available from the context or from background knowledge. Not understanding the vocabulary-even a single word-can jeopardize such comprehension. The following examples (adapted from Decoo 2008a) are one-dimensional, meaning that they try to only measure understanding. What effect on understanding do those missing red words have? In this intricate matter and difficulties for teachers, Coonan happily tells teachers they will have to make their own materials and because of the vocabulary problem will have to also steadily grade these materials! No wonder they want to retire! Does subject comprehension matter so little compared to this imperialist English language?

23.  Vocabualry research. The CLIL problem. When does a text become unintelligible? In red are invented pseudo words (paralogs). EXAMPLE. "Attention: important message. Madam, Sir, We must inform you that we need to reclate a number of reloots as soon as possible. This will start on Monday, October 14th at 9 A.M. We expect it to be completed by Wednesday, October 16th, around 4 P.M. However, it requires us to asnate the pinot to the stollanges. We therefore ask you to place your fluckle on the zirkee Sunday evening, or by the latest Monday morning early. We apologize for the problems this situation causes and thank you for your patience. If you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Louise at the office or call 831 73 92. A foreign tenant, with limited knowledge of English, understands 95% of the words in the text. "Global" understanding is achieved: the message warns about something and asks the residents to do something. But the essential information is in the remaining 5% of the text, which contains the unknown words of an obviously lower frequency level. The paralogs have these meanings: insulate - sewers - tear up - access - underground parking lots - vehicle - courtyard. The words have been chosen to illustrate the point. In reality, unknown words can belong to various categories and appear with differing contextual clues, making them understandable to diverse degrees. Still, full understanding would remain problematic.

24. This is the CLIL problem in a nutshell: the added aural difficulty AND the intellectual/ conceptual difficulty of the "subject", and its vocabulary, and the obvious disparity of competence in MIXED classes requires an enormous didactic competence AND extra preparatory work from a teacher. Is it all worth the candle? That is, to what extent will these language difficulties cloud the intellectual/conceptual understanding of the subject argument? And finally is English SO important to jeopardise cognitive understanding of a subject and is there no other way to assure better learning of a language? The comments from the scuola media suggest that there are and certainly simpler than the complexity of CLIL (if those 18 spinoffs of CLIL are to be delivered)!

25. "Metacognitive strategies normally first develop in the mother tongue and are supposed to transfer to L2. Research shows that such reading strategies are difficult to apply without an optimal vocabulary level". Judging from the experience of teaching in general, what will happen is that organisational "omerta'" may be very tempted to hide failure: after all, it is the assured "futuro" that Brussels wants. Who wants to admit, "we're failing"? It took 40 years (!!) for the "Communicative Approach" to admit, "we are failing". The irony is this; there was disappointment with the "Communicative Approach" and its functional text books: that methodology was based on "Acquire", and now CLIL has been introduced which runs on the same fuel of "Acquire".

26.  WHAT WE NEED IS to resurrect all the methods of the past in speaking lessons which will suddenly become possible if we abandon the silly illusion of imitating the "natural acquisition" of L1 and twisting ourselves in knots trying to weave 2 lessons in 1, where both suffer. Note. Where are the teachers capable of this Herculean task and one which requires them also to be saints and to do TWICE AS MUCH WORK for the same pay? (Listen to Coonan talking gaily about teachers "producing their own materials", and "liaising with subject teachers"). A life given in exchange for a still uncertain objective? NB. Listen to the good sense of an Italian, Antonio Gramsci. In the 1920s he heard of new progressive forms of education coming from England. He was interested but cautioned that Italy did not have anywhere like the teachers who MIGHT be able to carry out such didactics and so the only result would be confusion, demotivation and little learning. In contrast I have heard CLIL experts, and "assessori" so keen that they replied to doubts by saying, "Let's get the show on the road; things will eventually settle down. The main thing is to get started". Mere belief.

27.  MY SUGGESTION. On the present CLIL scene I am fairly sceptical. It's too rushed, and schools and teachers too ill prepared. I would make elementary school teaching based on fun activities that emphasise SPEAKING GAMES: NOT the old restricting "animals, songs and colours", but real basic spoken language (yes, and songs!); BUT not CLIL - too complex and I doubt if much fluency will be created, or that teachers won't anyway create a poor hybrid because it's so DIFFICULT. Then the same regime for the first 2 years of Media and THEN use CLIL. I say all this because as explained above, I think the siren concept of "acquire" is not possible in school's limited hours which do not create the conditions of "immersion".

28.  Footnote. The following is quoted in Anthony Bruton's, "Is CLIL so beneficial, or just selective"? It contains a judgement by Marsh himself in a summary of research in a Hong Kong high school. He found that students were disadvantaged by English instruction in; Geography, history, science and to a lesser extent mathematics. The size of this disadvantage was reasonably consistent across the first 3 years of High school (Marsh et al, 2000. 337). The least disadvantaged were those who had higher levels of English to begin with; such as the many academically bright students (with pushy parents), who attended English media schools, However, the academically bright who had low English proficiency were the most disadvantaged. He also found that there was not much difference between the oral fluency of CLIL students and traditional students. (Marsh et al in "Harvard education review 70". 302-346). For a reply to Bruton look up Huettner_Schmit_CLIL_A.Bruton (she is at Southampton University)

29.  Google: type- Anthony Bruton. Is CLIL so beneficial?

30. This is an extract. "Some potentially contrary outcomes. There are a number of questions about CLIL which will be enumerated briefly, since they will be discussed in more depth below. It is assumed that making academic content the goal of the learning in the FL will increase motivation, when actually the opposite could be possible e see Seikkula-Leino (2007) on the possible negative effects of CLIL on self-esteem or Lasagabaster and Sierra (2009) below on the drop in interest in CLIL. What is more, academic content may not stimulate more oral interaction on the part of the students (Dalton-Puffer, 2007), but actually less if the subject matter is novel. Furthermore, if the content is conceptually difficult, the FL medium will make it even more difficult to assimilate, and the content in turn could complicate the FL development e see Seikkula-Leino (2007:338) on the amount of language above the students' current competence. Sometimes when the content becomes too difficult, students resort to their L1, especially in peer work (Coonan, 2007). Add to this that the content teachers' English might be limited and the possible benefits of CLIL can begin to look dubious. Partly for these reasons, it seems that many CLIL initiatives, as with immersion ones (Marsh et al., 2000), have been limited to students who have been selected in some way or other. Furthermore, in immersion contexts, there are cases of 20% drop-out rates (Netten and Germain, 2009). There is the question of cultural content as well, which might be ignored in the instruction of other content, and which has always been one of the reasons for including FLs in state-school curricula. Despite the arguments of D. Marsh and Lorenzo et al. (2010) that CLIL is egalitarian, the truth is many of the potential pitfalls which CLIL might encounter are actually avoided by selecting for these programmes students who will be academically motivated to succeed in the FL, as in other subjects e see Ruiz de Zarobe and Lasagabaster (2010:25). But even with this provision, the research results are not particularly encouraging, as the critical assessment later will hope to show. In the next section, we will consider a study into content teaching in the L2 and a CLIL case. This will be followed by an extended section on CLIL research in Spain, before considering an extended research project on CLIL in Andalusia (Spain) in more detail, since it demonstrates how CLIL research can be deceptive. Some points will be supported with references to studies of CLIL outside Spain …………………………………………… ……………………………….… Such initiatives are all the more worrying with the adoption of CLIL by many teachers with very limited training in FL content teaching, and sometimes limited FL ability. Of course, if the point of reference is an existing deficit FL curriculum, almost any motivated initiative will produce some benefits in the FL for some selected students, especially if they are compared to the unselected students, but that is surely not the point. Any state educational system should ensure adequate standards in the L1 medium for all students, before spreading the FL medium across part of the curriculum for certain students, possibly to the detriment of some of the rest, who remain in the existing seemingly deficit FL scenarios. In every case, there is always a price to be paid. Even when the circumstances for such initiatives might be appropriate, it is necessary to assure the public, in state education at least, that serious disinterested reliable quality research is being conducted to try to ensure that expected content and language standards, both L1 and FL, are being met across the board".