The sociolinguistic dimension of CLIL: applying SFL, the socio-cultural theory and the principles of visual literacy on designing a CLIL project to teach Astronomy to EFL students



Content and Language Integrated Learning, known as CLIL, is a rapidly-growing trend in second/foreign language teaching and learning in Europe nowadays. CLIL shares a strong affinity with the immersion programs applied in Canada and, therefore, CLIL, roughly, relates to bilingualism (Eurydice, 2006). Its European context, however, has revealed another dimension of it, other than its innate bilingual nature: CLIL has developed into a dynamic second/foreign language teaching methodology which could be used to promote plurilingualism, according to the Council of Europe framework of language teaching and learning (Coste et al.,2009). CLIL is teaching non-linguistic curricular content in a second or foreign language (L2), one different from the learners’ mother tongue (L1) (Eurydice, 2006). The target language (L2) is the medium for content, such as biology, history, RE, mathematics, science, to be taught to native speakers of an L1. In this chapter, we are going to suggest the design and implementation of a CLIL model to be incorporated in the EFL class. The model has to do with the generation of educational material to teach Astronomy in English to 13 to 15-year-old learners (lower secondary) with a linguistic competence level that ranges from A1 to B1+ in the CEFR. The model applies the principles of Halliday’s Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) (Eggins, S., 2004), these of Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory (John-Steiner & Mahn, 1996, Llinares et al., 2012) and the principles of the grammar of visual design (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2006) towards the production of a linguistic tool compatible with the core philosophy of CLIL.