Número 20 / AGOSTO, 2023 (196-209)
Review Article
Recibido: (25/07/2022)
Aceptado: (28/11/2022)
Investigadora independiente, Ecuador.
Olga Isabel Reinoso Montoya
Olga Isabel Reinoso Montoya
CHAKIÑAN. Revista de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades / ISSN 2550 - 6722 197
In a world of permanent change, traditional language teaching methods do not solve
the communicative needs in foreign languages that favor knowledge and adaptation to
changing educational contexts. The CLIL method is widely used to develop skills both in
the learning language and in other areas of knowledge, it allows for the strengthening of
teaching capacities to assume the teaching of contents of the dierent subjects in a foreign
language. The objective of this bibliographic review is to collect signicant and existing
information on the CLIL method and contribution of this method in the educational eld.
The documentary descriptive approach of recent research related to the subject of study
is used, based on the theoretical foundations of bilingual education. The literature review
shows that by teaching the foreign language as a vehicle to instruct content from other
subjects, students understand the need to learn the language to seize the knowledge of
the subject and allows teachers to explore their own teaching context, reect and identify
factors that can improve their teaching practice, especially in the inclusion of writing
activities in English.
KEYWORDS: CLIL Methodology, improvement, writing skill, communication,
En un mundo en permanente cambio, los métodos tradicionales de enseñanza de idiomas
no resuelven las necesidades comunicativas en lenguas extranjeras que favorecen el
conocimiento y la adaptación a contextos educativos cambiantes. El método AICLE es
ampliamente utilizado para desarrollar habilidades tanto en el aprendizaje de la lengua
como en otras áreas del conocimiento, permite fortalecer las capacidades docentes para
asumir la enseñanza de los contenidos de las diferentes materias en una lengua extranjera.
El objetivo de esta revisión bibliográca es recopilar información signicativa y existente
sobre el método CLIL y su contribución en el campo educativo. Se utiliza el enfoque
descriptivo documental de investigaciones recientes relacionadas con el tema de estudio,
basado en los fundamentos teóricos de la educación bilingüe. La revisión bibliográca
muestra que al enseñar la lengua extranjera como vehículo para instruir contenidos de
otras materias, los estudiantes comprenden la necesidad de aprender la lengua para
apropiarse de los conocimientos de la materia y permite a los docentes explorar su propio
contexto de enseñanza, reexionar e identicar factores que pueden mejorar su práctica
docente, especialmente en la inclusión de actividades de escritura en inglés.
PALABRAS CLAVE: Metodología CLIL, mejora, destreza en escritura, comunicación,
Número 20 / AGOSTO, 2023 (196-209) 198
Learning a new language is one of the biggest
challenges in primary and secondary education.
In Ecuador the English language is a compulsory
subject in the curriculum at all educational
levels. The main objective of this bibliographic
review is to nd out in a deep way how CLIL
methodology has evolved and contributed to the
improvement of the EFL and its eectiveness in
classrooms. That is why, it is necessary to review
the current status of the teaching methods to
improve writing skills in primary education. In
addition, the purpose of this article review is to
contrast and verify dierent contributions that
permit to realize about the current status of CLIL
That is why, in terms of the language teachers’
role, they are required to master not only the
linguistic knowledge, but also to possess the
necessary academic capacities to teach the
contents to be learned by their pupils. However, it
is important to start in primary education, where
the learners begin creating the basic skills that
will help them incorporate their future studies.
Notwithstanding how easy it might seem to teach
a language, given that children possess a typical
disposition and a natural curiosity to learn new
things, teaching them is a great responsibility
precisely because childhood is the stage where
individuals create the basic knowledge and skills
to incorporate the future ones; if teachers do not
train them well, they will suer knowledge and
skills gabs in their coming learning processes.
From this perspective, Manzano (2015) infers
that the world becomes increasingly complex,
constantly imposing new social, cultural and
professional demands on the individual, such
as the growing need for multilingual skills,
which has driven the systematic search for new
teaching methods that favor the learning of
foreign languages in the school context. One
such approach is the teaching of Content and
Language Integrated Learning (CLIL).
In that sense, Rueda & Wilburn (2014) emphasize
that due to the neural networks that are developed
in the childhood they have a greater willingness
to know new things and learn, for this reason
children nd easier to learn a second language.
When looking at the best methods to face
the changing context, the CLIL methodology
seems to be, on one hand, a complex method
that involves many aspects to be considered in
the process of teaching and learning a foreign
language. It is at the same time attractive to
students and demanding to teachers, as it focuses
on the student, with a great use of ICTs and online
tools. It demands a new pedagogy associated
with some innovative teaching strategies for its
implementation. Thus, teachers need to assume
this theoretical starting point and be trained for
the dierent actions and policies to assume CLIL
as a teaching method.
CLIL, on the other hand, as an innovative
method integrates the learning of specic
contents of the curriculum and learning a foreign
language. It is based on several important
methodological principles, according to several
research in foreign language teaching, such as:
the necessity that the students are exposed to
genuine communicative contexts; language is
taught from a discursive perspective; students
understand, analyze and produce oral and written
texts considering issues of use and gender in
some social and cultural contexts and using
dierent semiotic systems (Cendoya, Di Bin &
Peluo 2008). In this context, CLIL has become
a promising method when it puts up to improve
foreign language teaching and learning in the
Spanish educational system (Manzano, 2015).
In addition, it is considered that the learning of
a foreign language has become as obligatory
in communicative aspect due to the necessity
to know and domain an international means
of communication. In the process of learning
language and contents they join into the
educational system to promote the learning of
the foreign language. As the students progress
through the dierent courses and educational
stages, they acquire a more analytical language,
while consolidating linguistic, cognitive abilities
Olga Isabel Reinoso Montoya
CHAKIÑAN. Revista de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades / ISSN 2550 - 6722 199
and skills (Díaz, 2021).
In addition, Manzano (2015) highlights the use
and inuence of the CLIL method in Europe, as
a consequence, the motivation to carry out this
study arises, focusing on an extensive review of
the literature and scientic articles of specialized
journals related to the subject in order to know
the state of the art of the CLIL method in
primary education levels, and specically in the
formation of writing skills.
The present bibliographic review methodology
contains meaningful information about the
insertion, characteristics and development
of CLIL in educational institutions, since the
lack of knowledge about the background and
application of CLIL has aected heavily the
students´ progress and the teachers’ performance.
In this sense, essential bibliographic research
was carried out, based on the consultation of
current bibliographic sources, from databases,
books, journals and educational repositories. The
criteria adopted to gather the information was
objectivity, relevance, quality, points of view
and accuracy. In addition, theoretical methods
were applied for the analysis of the bibliography,
which allowed establishing interesting research,
ndings and valid conclusions, since the
systematic method of investigation was very
In this regard, it is important to convey that the
rst step to do this bibliographic review was
to identify supportive research background;
next, it was necessary to gather and verify the
applicability of the bibliography, then, the review
and development of the bibliographic study
took place. After that, it was essential to write
the main results and discuss about the ndings
that contributed to provide a meaningful insight
about the importance and relevance of the present
work. Finally, drawing some conclusions would
give the readers a better and broader perspective
of the use of CLIL in pedagogical practices.
Although CLIL methodology has a very limited
application in basic education, there are several
investigations regarding the CLIL methodology
that has contributed to carry out the present
The systematic bibliographic review contains
CLIL in dierent countries, its application and
the incidence of this methodology in Ecuador. In
this sense, it is worthy to highlight the relevance
that this methodology has in relation to the EFL
improvement. Some researches that contributed
to this review are mentioned below.
CLIL is adopted as a crucial methodology that
supports the improvement of language and
content by keeping in mind backgrounds and
culture. “To establish a wider context on CLIL
theory and practice, we read seminal and review
documents as well as the most cited works in
this eld” (Piacentini, 2021, p. 116).
It is also included that “CLIL programmes began
and became popular in the European context,
but today, they are spreading all over the world,
especially showing a growing interest for its
implementation in Asia and Latin America”
(Fajardo et al., 2020, p. 40).
In a research developed at the University of
Cádiz, Spain, Faculty of Education Sciences,
entitled CLIL, laying the foundations to work
with music in L2, Cancelas & Cancelas (2009)
researched and explained that there is some
interaction between English and music that
allows the learners to relate the content with
English language. In this sense, it was assumed
that the factors related to cultural competence
supports the foreign language, as well as the
linguistic skills together with the musical eld.
“AICLE pone énfasis en la “resolución de
problemas” y “saber hacer las cosas”. Los
estudiantes se sienten más motivados al poder
resolver problemas y hacer cosas, incluso en
otras lenguas” (Cancelas & Cancelas, 2009, p.
In another research carried out in Bogotá, in
2013 at the Javeriana University, Faculty of
Modern Languages, Dávila & Ramos (2013)
developed a research entitled Design of a model
workshop for the subject of Social Sciences in
French, it was applied to a group of 28 students
who belonged to 3rd grade of the Educational
Institution, La Candelaria and three teachers of
Número 20 / AGOSTO, 2023 (196-209) 200
the same school.
The study concluded that approximately the
60% of practitioners were not aware of the
CLIL method and none of the 3rd, 4th and 5th
grade teachers had received previous training
to perform in classrooms. The total number
of professors stated that they lack of materials
that would t the level of the students and the
demands of the context to be taught in French.
An exploration of the academic programs of the
campus was carried out in terms of the subject
of Social Sciences and the materials that the
school had in French language which allowed
designing the workshop including the raising
issues, objectives and types of activities to be
carried out.
As it is observed, some information highlights
the importance of knowing the students, the
availability of the materials for teaching the
contents in the language to be taught, as well as
the preparation of the teachers for the application
of CLIL method in educational institutions.
The main feature of this method is the dual
approach that includes teaching-learning
processes and that emphasizes content and
language alike. “El proceso de integración de
la enseñanza de lenguas y contenido, promueve
en el estudiante, el desarrollo profundo de
habilidades cognitivas, convirtiéndolo en líder
de su propio aprendizaje” (Alegre, 2021, p.
The CLIL method and its application in primary
education, specically when it is related to
motivation and bilingual programs is a positive
contribution to encourage teachers and students
to keep innovating and integrating language and
content. “The CLIL methodology has acquired
a great impact upon non-university education”
(Díaz, 2021, p. 2).
The main characteristic of the CLIL method is
that being an integrative method that has several
methods and objectives at the same time, it is a
dynamic, complex and context-sensitive method.
For this reason, when talking about CLIL, we
cannot only talk about a foreign language and a
content, we should refer to several components
or parameters for CLIL to exist.
It is also necessary to include that CLIL not only
supports the language and content acquisition
but it also embraces interaction and modern
learning strategies that allows teachers and
students get benet and propel the educational
process. “Otros recursos contemplados por
el método AICLE son el trabajo en grupo y la
integración de las estrategias de aprendizaje”
(Fernández, 2001, p. 220).
Based on this context and according to dierent
authors, there are several points of view in
this regard. For instance, Marsh et al. (2001)
claims that the CLIL method is divided into
5 dimensions: CULTIX (culture), ENTIX
(environment), LANTIX (target language or
language); CONTIX (content being taught) and
LEARNIX (learning itself). The dimensions are
idealized and should not be viewed as ‘standing
alone’, because they are usually heavily inter-
related in CLIL practice” (Marsh et al., 2001, p.
Dimension of culture (CULTIX). It refers to
knowledge and understanding between dierent
cultures. The cultural component plays a very
important role since learning a language does not
only imply knowing how to use the structures of
the language correctly, but also having a certain
degree of knowledge of the culture of the peoples
speaking the language being learned.
In today’s intercultural world it is necessary to
implement a methodology that allows students
be educated by instilling values of tolerance,
respect and diversity.
In this context, the CLIL method has been
implemented assertively by the Ecuadorian
government through the Law on Intercultural
Bilingual Education; specically, in the case of
native Kichwa speakers who learn Spanish as a
Olga Isabel Reinoso Montoya
CHAKIÑAN. Revista de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades / ISSN 2550 - 6722 201
second language.
Environment Dimension (ENTIX). This aspect
is important since it is becoming usual to have
classes composed by students coming from
dierent cultures and countries. It is not usually
taken into account in such groups where they
apply other methodologies rather than CLIL.
Migration is a reality that can be seen more
present every day, especially in the European
continent where the postulates of this method
were born. The reality is to see classes where
at least 3 dierent nationalities converge. In
such context, the subject Foreign Language
plays a unifying language, through which all the
students can communicate and interact among
them and with the teachers.
This dimension of the method seeks to prepare the
students for internationalization and therefore the
preparation for obtaining international degrees.
Common examples of international programs
that give opportunities to study abroad in search
of a better professional training are ERASMUS
and Leonardo in Europe or Latin America, as
well as dierent scholarship agreements or the
creation of the International Baccalaureate in
certain institutions. All of them need a common
language as the communication means.
Dimension of the language (LANTIX). This
aspect refers to a general improvement of the
linguistic part of the target language. For the
teaching-learning process to be complete it
is necessary to establish linguistic objectives
and communicative objectives, and the
achievement of both depends on the mastery
of the target language. In the case of the CLIL
method, in addition to being able to correctly
use linguistic structures and be able to use
and interpret them, its users seek to develop
communicative competence in the students
through sociolinguistic, discursive and strategic
sub dimensions.
In relation to the use of CLIL, the context
of Ecuador, it can be mentioned that, in the
bilingual educational schools of Quito, the CLIL
method is used in primary schools, mainly in
private institutions, which also belong to the
National Educational system, but they have
the autonomy to implement various subjects in
their curricular planning, these institutions, in
most cases not only oer to teach English but
also other languages such as French, German,
Mandarin, among others.
Content dimension (CONTIX). While the
implementation of the CLIL method is for the
study of languages, it is important to consider
that the neuralgic part of this method is the fact
that, unlike traditional language lessons, when
the CLIL method is applied, the language study
is not the protagonist of the class, because the
acquisition is spontaneous. For this method to
be successful the teacher must be sure that the
strongest sense of importance is related to the
content so that the students reect on grammar,
vocabulary and more language skills to focus on
the communicative skills.
Learning Dimension (LEARNIX). In this aspect,
some authors refer only to the application of
all the above dimensions in an integrated way,
resulting in the successful learning of the content
and the foreign language. This aspect suggests
that the fact of combining several aspects of
culture, context and language, among others,
allows streamlining the teaching process and
turning it into a exible process that can vary
depending on the needs of the student.
It is important to notice that CLIL is conceived
as a method of learning languages that combines
linguistic aspects and knowledge areas in
general. The method pursues a double goal
that should allow the student, on one hand, to
acquire knowledge of the specic contents of the
curriculum and, on the other hand, to develop
their competence in a language other than the
one normally used in learning.
The language and the non-language content
constitute teaching objects, having no
predominance of one content over the other.
AICLE se basa en el desarrollo del lenguaje
más que en el aprendizaje forzado del mismo.
El lenguaje se presenta en situaciones de
vida reales en las cuales los alumnos pueden
adquirirlo” (Cendoya et al., 2008, p. 65).
Número 20 / AGOSTO, 2023 (196-209) 202
At this point, it can be highlighted that the
authors are right when they mention that CLIL
is a combination of linguistic aspect and general
knowledge. However, it is important to recall
that there are specic subjects that are more
familiar to the students than others, it could be
because they feel related with their backgrounds.
For the British Council, the process of
teaching and learning a foreign language rests
fundamentally on the teaching method that
is used by the educators. They consider that
one of the most eective is the CLIL method.
This method has acquired a great impact on
non-university education. Its proliferation has
been considerable during this century through
transitional programs that aim at introducing
the simultaneous learning of the language and
other subjects’ contents, it can be applied to any
subject, although the most common subjects
found in the literature reviewed are Music,
Physical Education, Natural Sciences or History.
Additionally, it is necessary to highlight that
this method consists of using second or foreign
language for the teaching and learning of
various subjects that could have little or nothing
to do with the linguistic eld. The aim is not to
teach a language using the traditional method
of grammar and text translation, but to do so
in a more natural and exible way through its
use. It is also important to convey that some
popular subjects that CLIL can be applied are:
History, Sciences, Social studies, Physical
Education, Arts, Computing or Music. In this
case, it is necessary to discuss that the students’
background and learning styles have a relevant
When applying the CLIL method, some features
of language and skills such as active and
participatory abilities, collaborative learning,
gamication, among others, are usually used.
CLIL is discussed as a tool that helps the
students to interact with their peers and acquire
uency in oral expression in the new language,
making the students become more interactive
and autonomous people.
Furthermore, there is some evidence about the
implementation of CLIL in Physical Education
subject, and a dierent perspective includes “The
use of a second language in PE classes through
CLIL does not necessarily entail a decrease in the
physical activity level” (Salvador et al., 2020, p.
59). This perspective is reasonable because the
students´ vocabulary and knowledge are the
elements that are improved with the application
of CLIL in Physical Education and the student´s
physical activity keeps the same.
In addition, in a study carried out by Mariño
(2014) in a private bilingual school in the city of
Tunja, whose purpose was to determine to what
extent the CLIL method had been implemented
in the institution and thus make the pertinent
observations. It was considered a sample of 15
primary school students of 5th grade, whose age
ranged between 11 and 12 years. The collection
of the data showed that the implementation of
the CLIL method was analyzed in the classroom
from the theoretical construct of the 4 Cs
(communication, cognition, culture and content).
Regarding the evaluation aspect, oral
presentations made by the students supported
their communicative competence development.
It was also observed that students used strategies
such as the use of code switching as well as
gestures and signs to indicate the meaning of
the new vocabulary. In relation to the cognitive
aspect, there were several activities in which
lower-order skills such as remembering,
understanding and applying were used, and
there were fewer activities in which students had
to develop higher-order skills such as analyzing,
evaluating, and creating. It was evidenced that
lack of activities to solve real-life problems were
In regards to the cultural aspect, although the
school had some celebrations of the cultures of
English-speaking countries, the teachers did not
emphasize the application of CLIL with English
Finally, in the content element, in subjects such
as Natural Science and Mathematics, it was
concluded that teachers did not foresee how
English linguistic aspects would be learned. In
addition to this, it was not clear which skills
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would students develop from the proposed
topics beyond the acquisition of information.
“After analyzing the ndings of the research,
it was determined that aspects such as the need
for teacher training in terms of CLIL, and CLIL
lesson planning might play an important role in
the teaching-learning process” (Mariño, 2014, p.
As it was cited above, the author concerned
about the lack of coordination between teaching
training and planning because it is essential to be
careful about every teaching elements.
It should be discussed in a deeply way, the lack
of preparation of teachers, both, those of the
language who teach the contents and those of the
contents who teach the language to assume both
teachings, in this concern, the government in
public institutions and the principals in private
schools ought to worry about providing training
to teachers of EFL who are teaching CLIL.
Among the main ndings of the documental
research, it assumed that CLIL methodology
leads to increase students’ intrinsic and extrinsic
motivation in the classroom when learning the
English foreign language. Likewise, it was
identied that learners who follow a CLIL
methodology give more value to learning
In general terms, these studies permit to infer
that using a language other than the native
one has a positive inuence on primary school
students because by increasing their exposure to
this new language, it progressively becomes part
of their daily reality and cultural context (CLIL),
thus not only promoting the communicative
competence, but also integrating the content
in a meaningful context. “Debido al carácter
novedoso de este tipo de enseñanza, vemos
que las investigaciones en torno a este tipo de
enseñanza no son numerosas” (Campillo, 2017,
p. 47).
In relation to the comment made by Campillo,
it should be discussed that from 2017 to the
present year (2022), CLIL methodology has
had more research contribution to foment its
application in dierent classrooms. However, it
is true that lack of support and dissemination of
how to work with CLIL in dierent countries,
this methodology is not appropriately used
and the various educators have not applied this
methodology with their students.
It is the specic case of Ecuador, where traditional
methods are still applied, and educative
institutions beginning with elementary levels to
universities still have outdated approaches and
methodology in their curricular plans.
Some of the benets and objectives of CLIL
in relation with English language are discusses
− To promote the acquisition and learning of
both language and contents through and
integrated content-based curriculum.
− To increase students’ language prociency.
− To apply the use of new technologies for
foreign language learning.
− To stimulate collaborative work between
teachers and students.
− To develop English as a learning tool and
a vehicle for communication.
− To make students aware of the diversity of
− To introduce methodological aspects of
teaching and learning in English into other
In regards to the benets and objectives
mentioned above, it is observed that positive
outcomes intend to take place with the correct
application of CLIL methodology in Ecuadorian
educational institutions.
It sounds like CLIL methodology is the solution
to encourage students to learn a new language
in an enthusiastic way, however, the challenge
that arises to be discussed is displayed as two
questions: ¿are Ecuadorian teachers ready or well
trained to apply CLIL methodology with their
students?, and ¿is their performance accurately
enough to fulll the objectives successfully?
From a similar point of view, in regards to
the training of teachers to apply the CLIL
methodology in Ecuadorian schools, it is
assumed that university students or pre service
Número 20 / AGOSTO, 2023 (196-209) 204
teachers need to be trained on some previous
social and content knowledge that support the
implementation of this method. “It seems that
the parameters teachers used to plan their classes
do not consider the three dimensions of this
approach (content, language, and procedures);
therefore, students are not developing these
dimensions simultaneously” (Argudo et al.,
2018, p. 66).
It should be noted that the Ecuadorian language
curriculum proposes the use of CLIL in its
classrooms. In this perspective, it is said that it
is crucial for teachers to get ready to insert the
CLIL methodology appropriately to improve the
teaching-learning process in public schools. “It
is dicult to determine if public schools and
its teachers are prepared to put into practice the
CLIL approach in accordance with the principles
outlined in the national curriculum” (Palma,
2020, p. 85).
As it is evident, the author concerns about the
correct application of CLIL in public schools,
however, there is a lack of research about CLIL
and its application in the Ecuadorian educational
system to improve students’ foreign language
skills. At the same time, through the collected
and analyzed bibliographic review on the topic,
it has been observed that there is a gab in the
ndings about CLIL and its link with writing
skills improvement, which continues being a
concern that evidences the limitation of CLIL
methodology in Ecuadorian schools and around
the world.
In a study conducted in Manabí province of
Ecuador some authors consider that “The
implementation of CLIL had crucial limitations
especially on the search for proactive teaching
strategies and this resulted in students’ less
language production” (Barre & Villafuerte,
2021, p. 105).
As it can be read, the authors found some
limitations that are related to the topic that had
been discussed in this part of the study, those
limitation corroborate the lack of teaching
strategies and predisposition to encourage
students to develop their English language by
linking the skills with other content areas.
In a similar contribution that looks for solid
evidence about the benets and applicability of
CLIL implementation in Ecuadorian classrooms,
the ndings displayed some results that are
not encouraging. “The study shows that the
preparation around CLIL of English teachers in
the public institutions in the province of El Oro
is inadequate despite the fact that the curriculum
establishes it as a methodology for teaching
English in the country” (Villamarín-Guevara &
Fajardo-Dack, 2022, p. 534).
As it is cited above, the researches coincided that
teachers need more motivation and pedagogical
training in regards to the implementation of
CLIL methodology in their schools. That is why,
based on several studies, this is not an isolated
incident that brings up to wonder seriously about
the importance that the government and school
principals are giving to the educative process in
Ecuadorian schools.
Unfortunately, it was found that productive
English language skills such as writing in
educational institutions where the method CLIL
was applied are narrowed, due to the use of some
traditional methods of teaching, which fosters
weaknesses in written and oral production skills.
Furthermore, it was identied that there is not
enough bibliographic research and evidence that
highlights the use of CLIL to improve writing
students’ skills. Nevertheless, teachers are the
responsible for adapting suggestions and basic
concepts of CLIL to their classrooms and propel
writing and the other basic language skills in
EFL students.
To sum up this part, just to highlight the ndings,
it is necessary that the government and educative
authorities in public and private schools create
guidelines to strengthen the insertion of CLIL
in Ecuadorian classrooms, and of course,
permanent training with modern methodologies
is a need that should be considered.
It is advisable to keep in mind that there are
some principles that need to be followed
in order to make CLIL methodology an
innovative an attractive proposal that supports