Constructing Cognitive Discourse Functions in secondary CLIL classrooms in Spain

Natalia Evnitskaya.

In: Tsuchiya, K. & Pérez-Murillo, M.D. (eds.), Content and Language Integrated Content in Spanish and Japanese Contexts: Policy, Practice and Pedagogy. Palgrave Macmillan..

Year of publication: 2020

In Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) contexts, the quality of learning academic content through the L2 and the effect it might have on the development of students’ academic language competence (both in the L2 and L1) are among the key concerns of the different stakeholders involved. To address this issue, this study adopts Dalton-Puffer’s (A construct of cognitive discourse functions for conceptualising content-language integration in CLIL and multilingual education. European Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1(2), 216–253, 2013) theoretical construct of cognitive discourse functions (CDFs) to examine teachers’ use of subject-specific academic language, and more specifically teachers’ classification practices, in CLIL classrooms in Spain. The construct of CDFs combines linguistic and educational approaches to academic language and ‘links subject-specific cognitive learning goals with the linguistic representations they receive in classroom interaction’ (Dalton-Puffer, Cognitive discourse functions: Specifying and integrative interdisciplinary construct. In T. Nikula, E. Dafouz, P. Moore, & U. Smit (Eds.), Conceptualising Integration in CLIL and Multilingual Education (pp. 29–54). Bristol and Buffalo and Toronto: Multilingual Matters, 2016, p. 30). Classifying is essential for knowledge construction in any school discipline as they help learners move from specific to abstract (Mohan, Language and Content. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1986). However, empirical research on how CDFs are realised in CLIL classroom interaction is still in its beginnings. This chapter contributes to the on-going research by examining in detail one CLIL science teacher’s classifying practices when constructing scientific knowledge, from a multimodal conversation-analytic perspective (Jefferson, Glossary of Transcript Symbols with an Introduction. Conversation Analysis: Studies from the First Generation. Retrieved from, 2004; Mondada, Conventions for Multimodal Transcription. Basel: Romanisches Seminar der Universität, 2014).