CLIL, unequal working conditions and neoliberal subjectivities in a state secondary school

Eva Codó, Adriana Patiño-Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

16 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media B.V. The introduction of English and other foreign languages as media of instruction, which is generally referred to as content and language integrated learning (CLIL), has transformed the teaching experiences of a large number of educators. Yet their daily struggles and personally ambivalent stances have hardly been examined. This paper addresses this overlooked area of CLIL practice by taking a critical sociolinguistic stance towards language-in-education policy. Drawing on an ethnographic case study, it analyses the on-the-ground implementation of PEP, a government initiative to foster the plurilingualisation of the Catalan education system, in a state secondary school near Barcelona. Through the situated analysis of policy makers’, administrators’, and educators’ actions and discourses, the paper shows how the different groups of actors rationalise their engagement with the programme differently, while still aligning themselves with the official imagination of PEP, and constructing a collective ethos of commitment and hard work to improve the school’s reputation. Three neoliberalised worker subject positions are identified: the entrepreneurial head teacher, who anticipates avenues for school transformation before they are put into place; the activised civil servants, who construct themselves as exemplary moral agents; and the maximally flexible temporary teachers, who live their participation in PEP with anxiety and a sense of burden, but are also aware of the many opportunities PEP offers. This paper contributes situated insights on CLIL implementation and addresses issues of power and inequality overlooked by the dominant paradigms in the field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-499
JournalLanguage Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • Catalan education system
  • CLIL implementation
  • Language policy
  • Neoliberalisation of education
  • Plurilingualism
  • Professional subjectivities

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