CLIL Challenges: Secondary School CLIL Teachers’ Voices and Experienced Agency in Three European Contexts


  • Kristiina Skinnari


teacher agency, teachers' voices, CLIL, secondary school, the Listening Guide method


This qualitative interview study focuses on CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) teacher agency in three European contexts, Austria, Finland and Andalusia, Spain. The aim of the study is to understand how individual CLIL teachers experience their agency when encountering challenges in their work and to demonstrate the multifaceted quality of their agency. The study employs the Listening Guide method (Gilligan, 2015) to listen to the voices of three secondary school subject teachers from three diverse contexts. The analysis shows that CLIL challenges both empowered and disempowered the teachers depending on how meaningful they found their work and what their possibilities to act were in their specific contexts. Some of the teachers’ CLIL experiences were similar, for instance, struggling alone with lack of support. However, these challenges did not affect the teachers’ agency in a straightforward way. In spite of the seemingly comparable challenges, the teachers described their unique experiences and ways to cope with the demands of their work in different ways. For example, using two languages or making their own materials was for some invigorating and for others problematic. In addition, during the interviews individual teachers also reported about their experiences in various ways, explaining, elaborating and balancing their thoughts with varying expressions of agency. Particularly significant for the teachers’ experiences of agency appeared to be the beginning of their CLIL career, however, their initial experiences of agency did not endure. The study shows that CLIL teacher agency is multivoiced, dynamic and often vulnerable.



How to Cite

Skinnari, K. (2020). CLIL Challenges: Secondary School CLIL Teachers’ Voices and Experienced Agency in Three European Contexts. JOURNAL FOR THE PSYCHOLOGY OF LANGUAGE LEARNING, 2(2), 6-19. Retrieved from

Similar Articles

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.