Teaching through ELF at International Post-Secondary Institutions: A Case Study at United World Colleges

Veronika Quinn Novotna and Jirina Dunkova


This chapter explores the use of English, especially in its Lingua Franca (LF) function, at United World Colleges (UWCs). UWCs are international, globally based, multilingual post-secondary schools with a standardised curriculum geared towards the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma. Our chief focus is to describe how English is viewed and used as the main means of instruction and the main tool of social and academic interaction among students and staff at UWCs, using questionnaire survey data. We use this data to identify several key teaching and learning practices that facilitate the integration of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) through ELF in multilingual settings. This is an important area of investigation since the relationship between multilingual environments and CLIL (Juan-Garau and Salazar-Noguera 2015) and between ELF and CLIL (Smit 2010 a, b; Knapp 2011) have only recently started to be explored in depth.

The chapter is divided into two parts. The first part provides a general framework of international schools, a brief history of the International Baccalaureate® (IB) programme and the UWCs background. The second part of the study explores the pedagogical implications of these policies, drawing on empirical data collected at UWCs to describe the key tendencies of ELF usage in the schools and make recommendations for ELF-aware teacher training programmes.

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