The language and challenge of a Content and Language Integrated Learning Approach to CFL in one Australian primary school

Lesley Harbon, Ruth Fielding, Jianlian Liang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


This chapter offers an alternative lens through which to examine the teaching of Chinese language and culture in an Australian school. At this particular primary school in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, three subjects (Music, Science, Human Society and Its Environment) are taught through Chinese. Offering a languages program within a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) program is relatively new in Australian schooling, thus the researchers were interested in examining implementation and related issues. In this chapter the CLIL teacher’s means of planning, designing, and implementing her teaching of Chinese is explored through her beliefs about teaching as well as her beliefs about languages. Examining the Chinese CLIL primary school model through teachers’ beliefs is not a common way of understanding how languages are taught. This research has found that at the core of the teacher’s core beliefs is an assumption that humans can cope with more than one language at a time, and that high expectations, from parents and teachers, should surround such programs. A CLIL languages program is a pedagogically sound program offering that can make a difference to students’ learning outcomes, with advantages over traditional Chinese-as-a-Foreign-Language practice where language content may not be linked to the child’s learning in other curriculum areas. The research is framed and analysed through the 4Cs (content, communication, cognition, culture) lens, allowing a detailed analysis of what language and culture are taught, who participates and how they participate, as well as how the teacher makes decisions and plans.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExploring Innovative Pedagogy in the Teaching and Learning of Chinese as a Foreign Language
EditorsRobyn Moloney, Hui Ling Xu
Place of PublicationSingapore Singapore
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9789812877727
ISBN (Print)9789812877710
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMultilingual Education
ISSN (Print)2213-3208
ISSN (Electronic)2213-3216


  • language learning
  • Chinese character
  • language teaching
  • core belief
  • bilingual education

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