Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 1044-1051
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.1241
Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain
The importance of teaching foreign language listening skills has been growing in the Russian higher education context since the mid-2000s due to the international academic mobility and the introduction of educational programmes in Russian universities taught exclusively in the English language. This implies the development of the undergraduates’ ability to listen to lectures of an academic discourse aimed at learning a domain-specific disciplinary content.

The task has proven extremely challenging as the majority of the undergraduates, on entering a university, have rather limited general English listening skills, let alone personal experience in using English as the language of instruction including listening to lectures. A growing interest in interdisciplinary integration in the recent decade paved the way to the introduction of content and language integrated learning (CLIL) courses with the dual focus on learning a non-linguistic discipline and the domain-specific academic language. Though gradually spreading in Russian universities, this innovation needs more research.

This paper analyses the effects of CLIL-disciplines on the development of lecture listening skills, and the main objectives of the paper are:
1. to investigate the effects of a shift from learning academic English for the purpose of understanding lectures to listening to lectures with a duel purpose, i.e. to learn both disciplinary content and discipline-specific language;
2. to identify the principles of developing lectures as an indispensable part of the course, which allows students in a mixed ability class to overcome the constraints of simultaneous learning of a new content and a new academic language;
3. to analyse the students’ feedback concerning the effects of lectures and their components on the acquisition of both academic English and non-linguistic disciplinary content.

The major findings of the longitudinal action research show that the introduction of lectures in the target language from the very beginning of university studies may ensure the planned outcomes under certain conditions. Students should be explicitly informed about the major principles of CLIL applied in the course and have regular opportunities to reflect on their learning and be actively involved in knowledge construction not only during tutorials but also during lectures. They also need to have an adequate support at all stages of using a target language for learning in class and beyond. All this should be taken into account when designing lectures, their materials and, especially, procedures and types of communication and collaboration covering all the dimensions of this innovative approach to learning: linguistic, disciplinary/content, cognitive and communicative, and wider social and cultural dimensions.
Listening skills, academic lectures, content and language integrated learning (CLIL), higher education.