Skip to main content


Language and Education Network Seminar - Dr Simone Smala (University of Queensland, Australia)

CLIL/Immersion in multilingual Australia – an overview and new research directions

As a predominantly English-speaking country, Australia struggles with similar issues to the UK concerning second languages education. Student numbers are down in the classic ‘school languages,’ while societal multilingualism is tolerated without being fully embraced. As in many other countries, there seem to be two sets of opinion about bilingualism. On the one hand it is seen as a positive asset for the careers of native English speakers, but on the other, it is seen as holding back the development of immigrant children. The resulting disregard of the huge source of already existing skills was pointed out by Australian linguist Michael Clyne (2005), who saw a great untapped potential in Australia’s migrant bilingual skills.

Event details

CLIL and immersion programs seem to be one way forward for the Australian context. They often exist in hybrid forms, offering mainstream schooling in languages other than English to learners from diverse linguistic backgrounds, bringing together ab initio second language learners, heritage and even native speakers in the same classroom. Such programs exist in Australian primary and secondary schools, and are conducted in languages such as Japanese, Korean, German, Indonesian, French, Italian, Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese, representing community as well as classic ‘school languages,’ many filling both roles.

This talk presents an overview of these Australian CLIL/Immersion programs, and then offers some insights into self-regulated learning strategies as part of a CLIL pedagogical framework for the diverse Australian context. The classroom hybridity necessitates strategies for differentiation, and CLIL students are encouraged and supported in developing self-regulated learning strategies to bridge the different language proficiency levels and learning needs present in many CLIL classrooms. The talk concludes with a vision for additive bilingual education in English-speaking countries.

Dr. Simone Smala is a lecturer at the School of Education, The University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Australia. Her research interests are in CLIL, Immersion and other forms of additive bilingual education, as well as social media as a learning tool. Simone hosts the CLIL Support page on Facebook which is a hub for researchers, teachers and students interested in bilingual education.


Baring Court 114