Content and language integrated learning

Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) is a pedagogical approach that involves students learning a language through content from other key learning areas (KLAs).

Models of CLIL include:

  • teaching cross-curricular content in the language classroom without reference to other syllabuses or collaboration with classroom teaching colleagues
  • coordinated linking of content from other syllabuses being taught in the language classroom
  • full immersion, where all of the content of a KLA is taught.

Implementing CLIL in schools

Benefits of implementing CLIL include:

  • delivery of content that is relevant to primary-age students
  • learning in the classroom is supported by learning in the language class and vice-versa
  • the promotion of collaboration between the language teacher, class teacher and supervisors.

Factors hindering the successful implementation of CLIL include:

  • not all content in other syllabuses is well suited to be taught in a new language
  • a lack of resources available for language teachers to successfully teach CLIL
  • research connecting CLIL with cognitive load theory suggests that neither the language nor content is effectively learnt.

For schools considering implementing CLIL, the department recommends the linking of content from other syllabuses being taught, in the language classroom. This approach involves the language teacher developing and delivering programs that meet language syllabus outcomes and align with outcomes from other key learning areas while the class teacher teaches most of the content in each KLA. This coordinated linking of content from other syllabuses being taught in the language classroom provides all of the benefits of CLIL, while limiting the associated drawbacks.

Full immersion approach

When a key learning area is taught in a language that students are simultaneously learning, this is a full immersion approach. This approach is most appropriate in schools where 50-80% of the whole school curriculum is delivered in one language other than English. In these settings, a number of key learning areas will be taught in the language. Schools should carefully consider the implementation of an immersion program and seek advice from the primary languages team.


The practice of translanguaging can be used to support student learning in CLIL settings. This involves students switching between languages as needed. For example, the teacher will give instructions for a pair activity in [Language].

In pairs, students can use a combination of English and [Language] to clarify instructions, discuss concepts in the KLA or check understanding of language. Students will then communicate back to the teacher and, or the class in [Language].

The tasks outlined in the CLIL scope and sequences focus more on developing the skills and content from a KLA rather than communicative competence in [Language]. To ensure students develop the communicative competence required to be successful language learners, it is strongly recommended that schools balance CLIL with task-based language learning.

These CLIL scope and sequences assume the school languages program is 120 minutes per week. Approximately half this time will be spent explicitly teaching the language to successfully communicate the KLA concept in [Language] and the rest of the time will be spent completing the task.

To complete CLIL tasks, the concepts, vocabulary, and grammar are often more challenging than those required to complete other language learning tasks. As a result, it is essential that sufficient time is spent on learning and practising the language required to complete each task. This pre-teaching of language helps ensure that cognitive load demands on students are manageable.

The KLAs included in the accompanying scope and sequences, HSIE – both history and geography, PDHPE and science and technology, require a minimum teaching time of 1.5 hours per week, so class teachers will be required to spend additional time teaching the KLA. The language and content learning tasks in the scope and sequences are intended to be taught by the language teacher during language lessons. To maximise student outcomes in both areas, language teachers will need to collaborate with class teachers. Collaboration has been identified in the 2020 update of What Works Best as being one of 8 teaching practices to enhance outcomes for students.

KLA strands and key inquiry questions

The syllabus content for the KLAs take the form of inquiry questions. Please note that the approach to inquiry changes from subject to subject, for example, historical inquiry follows different processes from scientific inquiry. You can find information about specific approaches in the relevant syllabuses or on our key learning area pages.

The recommended language learning tasks are derived from questions within the relevant syllabus. There are different labels for the questions, depending on the syllabus. In geography, history and PDHPE they are referred to as key inquiry questions, in science and technology, there are inquiry and focus questions. The scope and sequences refer to key inquiry questions.

Language teachers should be aware of KLA-specific considerations when developing their learning sequences. For example, when teaching history, it is important to consider ethical implications with role-play activities as it is inappropriate to re-enact or re-create certain people and events. Teachers are encouraged to use discretion before creating a lesson sequence with role play.

Content that may be considered sensitive or controversial within a local community should not be delivered in a language that students are learning. Examples of sensitive and, or controversial content may include child protection education, sexuality education and drug education in PDHPE.

In many cases, the language learning tasks do not address all key inquiry questions in each strand or all of the content attached to each key inquiry question. The documents contain links to relevant KLA resources. These resources provide further suggestions on how the KLA content could be taught.


Over the course of a stage, students should have a number of opportunities to address each outcome for each KLA syllabus. The units in these documents represent one opportunity for students to meet KLA outcomes. Students should be given other opportunities to meet these outcomes outside of the CLIL setting.

NSW primary schools that teach languages are required to address all outcomes over the course of a stage. The scope and sequences highlight outcomes that are to be assessed during the completion of tasks and those that will be addressed over the course of a unit.

Non-scripted languages

Teachers of languages that share the Latin or Roman alphabet with English, but do not have a syllabus, do not need to assess or address the following outcome: LXXe-6U.

Teachers of the following languages can adapt this document to suit their NSW K-10 Syllabus – French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese. Adjustments should be made to ensure the correct outcome codes are recorded on programming materials


  • Teaching and learning

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