Laurent Gajo is professor of Linguistics at the University of Geneva, where he is the Head of the École de Langue et de Civilisation Françaises (ELCF). He is a specialist of second language acquisition, classroom interaction, multilingualism, bilingual education and language policy. Between 2005-2008 he carried out a research project within the Swiss national research programme 56 ( Diversité des langues et compétences linguistiques en Suisse ) and more recently he has directed the Geneva/Lausanne team of the European project DYLAN ( Language Dynamics and Management of Diversity , integrated project FP6 028702). He has also carried out several research projects on bilingual education, both in Central and Eastern Europe as well as in the Aosta Valley. Through a qualitative approach to classroom interaction from the Kindergarten to Higher education, he tries to develop analytical tools related to the integration process of language and subject knowledge in different socio-institutional contexts. He is also involved in teacher training. Concerning educational policy in Switzerland he presided over the reference group for foreign language teaching of the Conférence intercantonale des directeurs de l’instruction publique de la Suisse romande et du Tessin (2007-2011). At the international level, he was a member of the Scientific Board of the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (2007-2013) and since 2013 is on the Board of the Association pour le développement de l’enseignement bi/plurilingue .
Meso-alternation of languages and knowledge saturation in the CLIL classroom: new tools at the crossroads between analysis and practice
Laurent Gajo, Université de Genève
CLIL can be organized in different ways, depending on socio-institutional factors and on teaching strategies. An important locus of such a variation is the place and the role of language alternation, which can occur at different levels. Micro-alternation corresponds to the well-known process of code-switching, whereas macro-alternation is related to the curriculum organization (distribution of languages across the curriculum). In this talk, we would like to focus on the meso-alternation level, occuring at transitional points between particular didactic tasks (for example, explanation in L2 and summary in L1). This kind of alternation results from institutional decisions and/or from teachers’ strategies. Language alternation, especially at the meso level, is likely to play a role in the process of knowledge saturation, intended as a point where the construction of subject knowledge reaches some form of completion, a kind of balance between conceptual and discourse information. This process is central in CLIL – as an integration of content and language – and could be highlighted or even achieved through language alternation. We will argue for meso-alternation and knowledge saturation being both powerful tools to analyze and to manage the CLIL classroom.