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ICLHE 2015: At the Crossroads Between Innovation and Practice

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The Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium, will hosted the fourth conference in Europe that specifically addressed issues related to the teaching and learning of content and language in higher education: “ICLHE: At the Crossroads Between Innovation and Practice”.

Across Europe and the world, growing numbers of university staff are teaching subjects in an additional language. How are HEIs training their staff? How integrated is the curriculum? How does this affect student and teacher perceptions on the construction of knowledge in the disciplines? This conference attempted to provide a greater understanding of Integrating Content and Language (ICL) within the higher education landscape and to provide a platform from which to discuss issues with content and language specialists.

It is generally recognised that ICL has the potential to benefit both language instruction and subject learning. Nonetheless, there is increasing concern that ICL does not systematically address the kind of academic discourse required to become pluriliterate users of academic disciplines. It is not simply a question of teaching in English, and there may be unintended consequences – both positive and negative – in unexpected areas. How can ICL enable learners to articulate new knowledge and become competent writers and critical readers in an additional language?

ICLHE 2015 focused on the critical evaluation of existing and novel concepts – pedagogical, methodological and linguistic – observed in ICL in universities today. The conference attempted to map out the ICL approaches teachers use in their lectures and classes, with a special focus on constructing and developing academic literacies across disciplines.

Conference themes:

  1. Integration: theorizing language issues in a university context; fostering collaborations between language teachers and content specialists; using active learning techniques and strategies at university; using ICT to enhance integration.

  2. Content: shaping the cognitive demands of academic disciplines; fostering cognitive engagement.

  3. Language: improving the language proficiency of teaching staff; supporting student language acquisition.

  4. Assessment: devising learning outcomes; using creative assessment and evaluation tools (self-/peer-assessment); monitoring the quality of ICL teaching and learning.

  5. Training: training academic staff for ICL; incorporating language acquisition in teacher training.


Keynote speakers: Roy Lyster, McGill University, Canada; and Yolanda Ruiz de Zarobe, University of the Basque Country, Spain

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