Becoming “Language-Aware“ in ICLHE

Creating a space of trust for collaborative partnerships between teachers, teacher trainers and language specialists



In this paper, we present a cross-disciplinary collaboration model inspired by collaborative action research (CAR) developed at a computer science department at a University of Applied Sciences in Austria. We outline the roles which language teachers at the institution and external collaborators (teacher educators and language specialists) play in creating a space of trust for the professional development of content specialists.

Recent research (e.g. Zappa-Hollman, 2018) has called for such collaborative partnerships between language and content specialists to raise awareness among English Medium Instruction (EMI) practitioners and stakeholders that language is “the crucial semiotic resource to [...] facilitate conceptualization and problem solving in specific disciplines” (Yuan, 2021, p. 2). This demand for an integrative approach which takes the interplay of language and content into consideration has not yet received sufficient attention, neither at the institutional level nor at the level of individual teachers (Zappa-Hollman, 2018). Innovative approaches are clearly needed to improve the quality of ICLHE teaching (Kim et al., 2018).

The generally positive reactions of the content teachers to the Trust Model of Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration suggest that it can contribute to improving their understanding of the epistemic function of language and their Integrating Content and language in Higher Education (ICLHE) teaching practice.


collaborative action research (CAR), language awareness, Trust Model of Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration, Integrating Content and language in Higher Education (ICLHE)


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Author Biographies

Petra Kletzenbauer, University of Applied Sciences FH JOANNEUM

Petra Kletzenbauer is a university lecturer at FH JOANNEUM University of Applied Sciences in Austria. Her research interests include CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) and English for Specific Purposes (ESP).

Ulla Fürstenberg , Graz University

Ulla Fürstenberg is a senior lecturer at the Department of English Studies, University of Graz, Austria. Her main research interests cover teacher language awareness, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), Teacher training and Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education (ICLHE).

Margit Reitbauer, University of Graz

Margit Reitbauer is a university professor at the Department of English Studies, University of Graz, Austria. Her research interests include reading research, computer-mediated communication, discourse analysis, and cognitive linguistics.




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