Integrating Content and Language in Business English Teaching in China: First Year Students' Perceptions and Learning Experience

Elaine Ruth Martyn
2018 English Language Teaching  
Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) is a key construct in Business English teaching in universities in China today. While there is a plethora of articles on implementation in European contexts, there is limited evidence in the literature of the teaching/learning experience in other foreign language learning environments—despite its wide application in, for example, south-east Asia and China in particular. As CLIL programs have been developed in a variety of ways to meet the unique
more » ... o meet the unique needs of learners and societal expectations, the context of teaching and learning is critical. This paper focuses on the perceptions and learning experiences of students in a first year, first semester course, Introduction to Contemporary Business, in a Chinese university. Lesson observations, questionnaires, and interviews explore the experience of learners. While most students found the course very challenging in their first semester, they met the challenge. Coping with both language and content is always a double challenge: most students found their Introduction to Contemporary Business their most difficult course, yet they perceived it as manageable and worthwhile. Students coped with the difficulty level in two main ways: either by spending much time in review and translating the textbook prior to class, or by focusing on the teacher's PowerPoint slides after class—as they considered these were the key points and the textbook was too difficult. Suggestions for a closer integration between language and content within CLIL courses are offered, such as a case-task-based approach, a greater variety of input, and the role of content teachers in English enhancement.
doi:10.5539/elt.v11n8p86 fatcat:ptv66udux5fsne3ta5azz4jboa