CLIL definition. The four ingredients

CLIL stands for Content  and Language Integrated Learning.

The four basic ingredients of CLIL are the 4Cs:

  • Content
  • Communication
  • Cognition
  • Culture

Do Coyle, Philip Hood, David Marsh, 2010

Content and language Integrated Learning (CLIL) is a dual-focused educational approach in which an additional language is used for the learning and teaching of both content and language. That is, in the teaching and learning process, there is a focus not only on content, and not only on language. Each is interwoven, even if the emphasis is greater on one or the other at a given time. CLIL is not a new form of language education. It is not a new form of subject education. It is an innovative fusion of both. (1

My own CLIL definition

CLIL is a methodology that uses a foreign language to teach the subject or the project theme. Thinking and understanding the content in L2 implies an improvement of the cognitive process of learning within the context of the learner or the citizenship, where the communication and the interaction between the learners are fundamental.

Theoretical Framework of CLIL

The 4Cs Framework = Communication + Cognition + Content + Culture

COGNITION – Bloom taxonomy:


3 stages:

  • specific vocabulary
  • structures of language
  • spontaneous language 

3As lesson planning tool:

  • Analyse: language of learning – VOCABULARY
  • Add: language for learing – STRUCTURES
  • Apply: language through learning – SPONTANEITY


The Cummin’s matrix: an audit tool to evaluate the adequacy of both language and thinking skills of a CLIL activity.

CLIL context in Europe and Catalonia

Where to find good resources of CLIL?

  1. COYLE,D.; HOOD,P.; MARSH,D. 2010 CLIL Content and Language Integrated Learning. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521130219