Learning another language can help children to become more aware of their own first language (L1). This awareness can lead to improvements in literacy across the curriculum. Language learning continues throughout our lives, particularly our educational lives and as we acquire new areas of knowledge, we acquire new areas of language and meaning. We are all teachers of language and therefore are required to think carefully about the language we use in the classroom to ensure that language is not a barrier to learning. Key to successful language learning is the opportunity for learners to engage with the language in meaningful and purposeful contexts which research has shown can increase learner engagement and motivation. The content led nature of the game-based resources provide a more cognitively challenging and more authentic platform for the acquisition and use of language.
CLIL is about using languages to learn in order to use languages, so in a way it is more about language learning, not language teaching. This shift in focus lends itself well to locating second language learning within game-based resources that require the learner to engage with subject content and language simultaneously. The games enable learners to explore the language in a non-threatening but purposeful setting, with opportunities to re-visit and use the language in a variety of scenarios.
Learning using a CLIL approach also creates opportunities for the learner to think about and develop how they communicate in general, even in their first language (L1). The games require learners to engage with and process language to enable them to solve problems in order to progress through the games. There is significant research evidence CLIL to suggest that not only does CLIL promote potential cognitive gains and L2 proficiency but that learners’ L1 appears to benefit from this bilingual experience (Nikolov and Mihaljevic ́ Djigunovic ́ 2006).