Biography


Dr. Merrill Swain is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. She has taught and conducted research at OISE/UT for 40 years. Her interests include bilingual education (particularly French immersion education) and second language learning, teaching and testing. Her present research focuses on the role of collaborative dialogue and “languaging” in second language learning within a Vygotskyan sociocultural theory of mind framework. Dr. Swain was President of the American Association for Applied Linguistics in 1998-99, and a Vice President of the Executive Board of the International Association of Applied Linguistics (AILA) from 1999-2005. She is a recipient of the 2003 Robert Roy Award which is given to “an outstanding Canadian second language educator who has been active in the second language professional community in teaching, research, and writing, and is dedicated to the improvement of second language teaching and learning in Canada”. She is also a recipient of the American Association for Applied Linguistics’ 2004 Distinguished Scholarship and Service Award, and of the 2007 Language Learning Distinguished Visiting Scholar Award held at the Beijing Foreign Studies University. In 2011, she received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Vaasa in Finland. Dr. Swain’s most recent book, co-authored with Linda Steinman and Penny Kinnear, is Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Education: An Introduction through Narratives (Multilingual Matters). Another book of interest is Immersion Education: International Perspectives (CUP) co-edited with Keith Johnson. Dr. Swain is author of over 150 published articles, as well as many book chapters. She has given talks and workshops in many parts of the world, most recently in Australia, Brazil, China, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Peru and Spain.

Abstract


The “I” in CLIL, Languaging, and the L1/L2 Debate
Merrill Swain
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto

The “I” in CLIL stands for “integrated”, and integration can happen in multiple ways. In this paper, I will discuss some of the ways in which research has shown how the integration of language and content has been carried out, and will question whether “separated” might be a better way of representing what typically happens in CLIL teaching. I then turn to a discussion of the concept of languaging by defining it, and suggesting how, as a process, the concept helps us to consider a different way of thinking about how to integrate language and content teaching. Finally, I will discuss how the concept of languaging might add rigour to the never ending debate about the use of the L1 and L2 in CLIL classes by teachers and by students. A principled rationale for the use of the L1 by teachers, which is different from that for students, will be offered.