NAVES’ GRID OF           CONTENT-BASED INSTRUCTION (USA)    CLIC (Content and Language Integrated Classroom ) (Europe)          

1. Definition

“In a content-based approach, students simultaneously acquire subject matter expertise and greater proficiency in English, the medium of instruction. Additionally, they learn to master skills necessary for academic success.” D. Raphan & J. Moser: 1994 

2. Principles


According to Brinton et al (1989)

1. Research shows that for successful language learning to occur, “the language syllabus must take into account the uses the learner will make of the target language”, which means systematic focussing on those language forms and functions which will best serve the learner in his/her future language use.

2. The use of “informational content which is perceived as relevant by the learner” enhances motivation in language learning and thus promotes learning effectiveness.

3. Content-based approaches are built upon the previous experience of the learner, as they “take into account the learner’s existing knowledge of the subject matter” and use pedagogical methods which aim at overall development of cognitive and academic skills, as well as linguistic skills.

4. Content-based approaches provide a larger framework and “context for language”development, in which focus is not only on fragmented examples of “correct” language forms, but also on “interaction and discourse patterns”.

5. SLA (second language acquisition) research suggests that a necessary condition for successful language learning is “comprehensible input” which requires focussing on the meaning rather than the form. The development of good receptive communicative skills is the foundation on which productive skills are based.  

3.Main authors

- Mohan: 86

- Brinton & Snow: 89

- Marsh: 99 

4.Program Models

associated with



- Whole-language curriculum (Goodman: 1986)

- Task-based approach (Long: 1991, Candlin: 1987, Prabhu: 1987)

- CALLA (Cognitive Academic Language Approach)  (O’Malley & Chamot: 1987)

- Bilingualism

- Plurilingualism


1. To help students whose limited English proficiency hinders their academic progress

2. To help subject matter teacher adapt their teaching methods so that those students with limited English proficiency may progress adequately.

3. To provide extra exposure to the foreign language and thus compensate the time constraints on foreign language programs.  


1. Students

- LMS (language minority students) (immigrants)

- LEPS (limited English proficiency students)

- Students of a foreign language

2. Teachers

- Teachers involved in specialist programs and at all educational levels

7. Educational Level

- K-8 (primary education)

- secondary education (8-12)

- university


Content-based instruction

1. The use of techniques and strategies to facilitate comprehension such as realia, redundancy, use of graphic organizers, etc.

2. Cognitive abilities and processes are integrated in the design of the program. 






3. Teachers monitor students’ progress and provide immediate feedback

4. Assessment must differentiate between achievement  in language skills and achievement in the subject matter.

5. Learners are allowed to respond in a wide variety of ways, from verbal to non-verbal responses. The emphasis is on development of receptive skills.


According to David Marsh: 1997   

1. The bringing  together of parts of a curricula as parts of a whole

2. Emphasis on the communicative function of language

3. A way to support the learning of less widely used languages

4. A way to increase awareness of the linguistic diversity of Europe

5. A way to encourage the development of intellectual skills

6. A way to facilitate trans-regional and trans-national contact through languages other than a single dominant lingua franca


10. Difficulties

1. Teachers

1.1 A lack of training in content-based instruction

1.2 Collaboration between the language teacher and the subject matter teacher is imperative

1.3 Language proficiency of the subject matter teacher and the language teacher

2. Students

2.1 Limited time to achieve adequate academic level

3. Instructional Materials

3.1 Little material available on the market

4. Assessment

4.1 How to assess subject matter and language skills within the educational system  




























ÓQuincannon & Navés Feb. 2000