Publication details [#59645]

Izquierdo, Jesús and Andrés Arias de la Cruz. 2015. Language attention in content-based instruction. The case of language instructors teaching content in a foreign language in Mexican higher education. Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education 3 (2) : 194–217.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


Subject-matter specialists teaching content via a foreign/second language in higher education often exhibit a meaning-based pedagogy, unsystematically attending to inaccurate language. This observational study examined whether two foreign-language-teaching-trained instructors teaching content in English in a Mexican undergraduate program would emulate these instructional patterns, or would attend to language favouring language-and-content-integrated pedagogy. In the study, over 400 instructional episodes, video-recorded during 18 hours of regular-classroom teaching, were analyzed using the COLT observation scheme (Spada & Fröhlich, 1995). Results showed that the foreign-language educators favoured content, erratically attending to inaccurate language during communication breakdowns. Language attention occurred reactively through word translations, lexical-gap scaffolding, and isolated explanations for non-target phonological forms. These instructional patterns may result from the language teachers’ newly assumed content-based instructional roles. To favour language attention during subject-matter teaching, language instructors need training and curricular support that helps them draw on their foreign language teaching experience as they deliver content.