CACTI: Classroom Approaches to CLIL & Translanguaging Inventory

What is this study about?

The CACTI (Classroom Approaches to CLIL & Translanguaging Inventory) is a 40-minute survey that K-12 teachers can take to learn about practical strategies for using students’ other languages in English-medium instruction (EMI). It is based on a comprehensive inventory of different types of translanguaging practices gathered from international research in K-12 EMI classrooms, construct review by experts on three continents, and pilot testing with over 100 pre- and in-service K-12 teachers at the University of Hong Kong and the University of Toronto.

Teacher educators can use the CACTI in university classes and professional development workshops to discuss how to help multilingual students learn in EMI, create a linguistically inclusive classroom community, and develop students’ critical language awareness. Using individual and group survey results and the downloadable .pdf at the end of the survey that tells how to interpret your answers and provides links to key literature and pedagogical resources, teachers can build on the practical strategies and information provided, and analyze the trade-offs between different language practices or classroom language policies. Of course, EMI teachers already use translanguaging in their everyday practice, but the CACTI can show how to do so systematically and strategically.

The survey is in two parts: (1) Your geographic and institutional context, language background, and languages of your students; (2) How you use students’ other languages apart from English in EMI. Each part takes about 20 minutes to complete. There are two versions, one for the Principal Investigator’s local/national context, and one for the international context.

Click here to take the CACTI as a K-12 teacher in HK SAR or Mainland China

Click here to take the CACTI as a K-12 teacher anywhere else in the world

Why is this study important?

Teachers around the world who teach school subjects in English to multilingual students have to develop subject knowledge in English, called Content Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). At the same time, by drawing on students’ other languages, they can build bridges between what students already know and what they have yet to learn. Called bridging pedagogy, such practices are based on the construct of translanguaging, defined as using all available meaning-making resources to learn.

While there is a need for students to develop their English proficiency, their other languages fulfill important pragmatic, metalinguistic, socio-cognitive, affective, and critical functions:

  • Pragmatic means teachers can give instructions efficiently, and students can likewise consult with each other and organize tasks in the target language in a smooth, efficient, and interpersonally appropriate way in their stronger language.
  • Metalinguistic means students can use another language or languages to talk about the target language; for example, to analyze the target language’s grammar or negotiate the best way to phrase something in the target language.
  • Socio-cognitive means students can talk about academic concepts in a deeper way and draw on what they already know in another language or languages.
  • Affective means students have a right to feel comfortable in the class, and their first language is an important means for them to do so.
  • Critical means students should not have to leave their linguistic and cultural identities at the classroom door, even as they get enough practice with the target language.

How will my survey answers be used?

All survey data will be collected anonymously via Qualtrics survey software and stored in password-protected electronic files by researchers at the University of Hong Kong and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto.

If you believe that translanguaging is valuable in EMI, your answers can lead to large-scale data convincing school administrators and education policymakers to design professional development structures such as teacher training and curricular materials to support translanguaging in EMI. This can stimulate serious discussion among K-12 EMI professionals about the policy changes, systematic curriculum planning, and teacher education required to use other languages as learning resources in EMI. Your answers will also help researchers learn how translanguaging happens in different EMI settings, so they can target educational advice based on setting and needs analysis.


The CACTI was developed by Dr. Anna Mendoza, University of Hong Kong; Dr. Andrew Coombs, Memorial University, Canada; and Dr. Shakina Rajendram, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.

We are grateful for the feedback of Ao Yinglei, Kelly Bolen, Natalie Bosco, Jennifer Burton, Katharina Dorn, Mario Doropan, Andrea Dulay, Jiao Fanyu, Betsy Gilliland, Amy Hughes, Yuen Yi Lo, Michał Paradowski, Jayson Parba, Prem Phyak, Jiamin Ruan, Jiaxin Ruan, Pramod Sah, Norman Sales, Alice Sato, Jamie States, Zhuo Sun, Kevin Tai, Zhongfeng Tian, Wales Wong, Wei Linfeng, and the classes of Kathryn Accurso, Tanya Kempston and My C. Tiet during the construct design and pilot testing of the survey instrument, as well as our own students who took the pilot test online when we invited them to do so. Ms. Cheryl Ou Jia’en provided the translations for the Hong Kong/China version of the survey.

This research has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee, University of Hong Kong, Project No. EA200204. It is supported by RGCAS Grant No. 202009185059.

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