The Didactic Contract Between Learners: Opportunities for Language Learning in a Content and Language Integrated Learning Classroom
The paper analyses interactions in the target language between students who carry out communicative activities in a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) classroom (Natural Sciences in English). A conversational perspective is used in order to examine a ‘didactic contract between learners’, a type of formal relations, established between students working in pairs. Two aspects of this phenomenon are of special interest: (1) its characterization (appearing, establishing and functioning conditions) and (2) its role in foreign language learning. The data used in the paper were gathered in a public secondary school situated in Metropolitan Barcelona (Spain). The analysis demonstrates that the roles of a ‘learner’ and ‘teacher’ are not assigned automatically but rather are negotiated and transformed over time. When the participants recognize each other acting as ‘teacher’ and ‘learner’ and the didactic situation is established, it can convert into a learning opportunity to the extent to which it can be sufficiently flexible for both pair members to take the advantage for the target language learning.
Keywords: Didactic Contract, CLIL Classroom, Pair Work, Foreign Language Learning, Conversation Analysis
Research Trainee, Language and Literature Teaching Department, Autonomous University of Barcelona