Centre for Applied Research in Education

Juggling ideals and constraints

The position of English teachers in CLIL contexts


In bilingual streams in the Netherlands, school subjects are taught in an additional language so that pupils learn both subject content and the target language by using language meaningfully. Teachers of English in bilingual streams (TEBs) are often expected to collaborate with subject teacher colleagues (STs). In addition, they teach separate language lessons. This provides TEBs with specific challenges.

This article reports on a focus group (FG) study exploring the extent to which the ideals of stakeholders in bilingual schools in the Netherlands reflect the literature on this topic, using a frame of reference developed for this purpose (Dale, Oostdam, & Verspoor, 2017). Five FGs were held with TEBs and STs from Dutch schools in the network for bilingual education and with members of the network’s quality assurance panels. Each FG consisted of between three and six participants with a similar role in bilingual education; audit panel chairpersons, audit panel secretaries and STs and TEBs from different schools. Participants were asked to discuss what an ideal English teacher would do in English lessons and in cooperation with subject colleagues. Data consists of five transcripts of the FG discussions. On the basis of inductive and deductive analyses (using MaxQDA), the ideals of stakeholders are positioned in the framework to explore to what extent different types of stakeholders have complementary or conflicting views. The findings suggest that stakeholders need to develop more shared understandings and a shared language to allow TEBs to realise their ambitions.

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Reference Dale, L., Oostdam, R., & Verspoor, M. (2018). Juggling ideals and constraints: The position of English teachers in CLIL contexts . Dutch Journal of Applied Linguistics, 7(2), 177-202. https://doi.org/10.1075/dujal.18002.dal
Published by  Centre for Applied Research in Education 1 January 2018

Publication date

Jan 2018


Marjolein Verspoor

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