ADiBE-NUGSE: Attention to Diversity in Multilingual Education in Kazakhstan

Project: FDCRGP

Project Details

Grant Program

Faculty-development competitive research grants program for 2020-2022 (batch 2)

Project Description

The main goal of ADiBE-NUGSE is being the Central-Asian leg of the European Project ADiBE, (CLIL for All: Attention to Diversity in CLIL:, a project the principal investigator belongs to and that has been developed by educational institutions in several European countries. Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education (NUGSE) has been invited to take part as an external partner with its own funding. The European approach to bilingual/multilingual education -CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) - has been enthusiastically embraced as a potential lever for change and success in language learning. Over the course of the past two decades, it has become a well-established part of education systems across Europe and is now also being increasingly adopted in Latin American and Asian countries as the potential lynchpin to move from monolingual education systems into multilingual ones. In Kazakhstan, the embryo for CLIL were the 20 NIS (Intellectual Schools), which were given the role of CLIL pioneers and multipliers. CLIL has been heralded as a way to make multilingual language learning more accessible to all types of learners, as CLIL has been held to afford all students, regardless of social class and economic consideration, the opportunity to learn additional languages in a meaningful way. Many authors thus maintain that CLIL promotes social inclusion and egalitarianism, as the introduction of this approach in mainstream education provides a greater range of students with opportunities for linguistic development which they were previously denied (cf. Coyle et al., 2010; Pérez Cañado, 2016). However, the initial implementation of CLIL in public schools across Europe and other parts of the world points to a very different reality. Indeed, one of the chief concerns which has repeatedly underpinned CLIL discussions affects the lack of egalitarianism, which, according to authors like Bruton (2013, 2015) or Paran (2013), is inherent in the application of this approach. In this sense, a notable set of scholars have sounded a note of caution as regards the level of self-selection in CLIL strands, with its corollary inadequacy for attention to diversity (Lorenzo, Casal, & Moore, 2010; Hughes, 2010). The thrust of their argument is that CLIL branches normally comprise the more motivated, intelligent, and linguistically proficient students and that these differences are conducive to prejudice and discrimination against non-CLIL learners. Now that CLIL is steadily embedding itself in mainstream education (In Kazakhstan STEM subjects in English have become mandatory) all learners experience foreign language learning both in language-driven and subject content classes and it consequently becomes incumbent on practitioners to cater to diversity and to ensure CLIL enhances language and content learning in over- and under-achievers alike. This has surfaced as major challenge which could seriously curtail –or even fatally undermine- everything that has been achieved in the previous decades of CLIL implementation. One of the greatest problems plaguing CLIL implementation at present, according to the latest research (cf. Pérez Cañado, 2018; San Isidro, 2019) is catering to diversity, as there is a lack materials, resources and methodological and evaluative guidelines to step up to it successfully. Thus, prior investigation documents the urgent need for a study on attention to diversity within CLIL in order to shed light on the issue of how CLIL works across different levels of attainment and what types of curricular and organizational practices can be implemented to cater to it. This is precisely the niche which the present project seeks to fill. It has three main objectives: to identify difficulties and best practices in catering to diversity in intercultural and content integrated language learning and teaching in Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools (NIS) in Kazakhstan; to produce and implement project,-, task-, and ICT-based activities to make CLIL accessible to all types of achievers; and to design and pilot a teacher training module to empower practitioners to step up to this important challenge.
Short titleADiBE-NUGSE
Effective start/end date1/1/2012/14/21


  • CLIL
  • Diversity
  • Multilingualsm
  • Inclusion


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