Transition from secondary education: Content and Language Integrated learning programmes (science) to tertiary education English Medium Instruction

This cross-sectional study will measure English vocabulary knowledge (subject specific; general academic; non-academic) of: (i) students in the last year of compulsory education (Year 13) in Italy who are studying a science subject through the medium of English via Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) (ii) English Medium Instruction (EMI) students in their first year of undergraduate science programmes.

Through vocabulary tests, interviews with students and recordings of science classes/lectures, we will identify the challenges faced and strategies applied by learners in both phases.  The recordings of science classes/lectures will be analysed in order to (a) determine the lexical profiles of teacher talk at secondary and tertiary level; (b) identify the differences between the lexical demands of English-medium education in the two phases; and (c) establish the extent to which students’ vocabulary knowledge combined with strategic behaviour contributes to their comprehension of classroom input and interaction.  Results of this study will provide the most comprehensive understanding to date of the transition-related challenges students face in CLIL/EMI and of the possible strategic behaviour which might help them meet those challenges.