Building Bridges - How secondary school pupils bring their informal learning experiences into a Content and Language Integrated (CLIL) classroom

Teppo Jakonen

clil, classroom interaction, formal and informal learning, affordances for learning, popular culture


This article explores how students’ informal language learning experiences with English find their way into the formal context of content-based language teaching (CLIL). The analysis is focused on stretches of classroom talk in which native Finnish-speaking students draw on their expertise of English-language popular culture, and use their knowledge as a semiotic resource for producing various types of actions. Based on the data, it is argued that the organisation of peer group talk in the language classroom provides students with affordances for participation that are characteristically different from whole-class interaction. In this environment, global popular culture and conversational humour intertwine with the official business of learning. Moreover, the findings are used to problematize a monolithic conceptualisation of ‘classrooms’ as a formal context for language learning within the dichotomy of formal/informal. Instead, it is suggested that many interactional practices in classrooms, such as those described in this article, share similarities with everyday interaction, the pedagogic implications of which are briefly discussed.

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Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies