Remedying Foreign Language Anxiety through CLIL? A mixed-methods study with pupils, teachers and parents




CLIL, foreign language anxiety (FLA), mixed-methods, pupils, teachers, parents


Foreign Language Anxiety (FLA) is an important challenge for language learning. In Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), subjects are taught in a language that is not the learners’ mother tongue; a context that could reduce FLA. This study analyzes whether CLIL can positively influence FLA and which characteristics determine its presence in a CLIL context. Data were collected from 225 pupils, their parents and teachers in Flemish-speaking Belgium. Quantitative and qualitative methods were applied, with pre- and post-measurement. Results indicate that CLIL can indeed positively influence FLA. Pupils experienced growth in their self-confidence to use the foreign language. Their teachers observed more active participation, especially from more silent and less proficient pupils. The parents also noticed an increase in communicative attitudes. We found eight variables to have an influence. The foreign language used in CLIL appeared to have the most important influence besides the pupils’ interest in language learning and their personality traits, extraversion and agreeableness 


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Author Biographies

Mathea Simons, University of Antwerp

Faculty of Social Sciences - Antwerp School of Education

Associate professor

Claudio Vanhees, University of Antwerp

Faculty of Social Sciences - Antwerp School of Education

PhD student

Tom Smits, University of Antwerp

Faculty of Social Sciences - Antwerp School of Education

Associate professor

Karen Van De Putte, University of Antwerp

Faculty of Social Sciences - Antwerp School of Education

Teaching assistant


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