CACTI: Classroom Approaches to CLIL & Translanguaging Inventory

What is the CACTI?

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 teaching the English language or academic subjects in English (called English-medium instruction (EMI), Content Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), or “sheltered” subject courses). This survey is based on a comprehensive inventory of different types of bi/multilingual teaching and learning practices from international research in K-12 classrooms.

How can the CACTI be used?

Pre-service teachers in university classes and in-service teachers in professional development workshops can use the CACTI—and the debrief document that you can download at the end of the survey, along with your answers—to discuss how to help students learn, create a linguistically inclusive classroom community, and develop critical language awareness. The debrief document explains how to interpret your answers and provides links to key literature and pedagogical resources.

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 class. Each part takes about 20 minutes to complete. There are two versions, one for Hong Kong SAR/Mainland China, and one for international contexts.

Why is this study important?

Teachers around the world who teach the English language, or school subjects in English, to multilingual students have to develop students’ English proficiency and/or subject knowledge in English, sometimes 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. Such practices are based on the idea of “translanguaging,” 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 consult with each other and organize tasks in the target language in a smooth 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 Dr. Anna Mendoza at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her collaborators.

If you believe that translanguaging is valuable in English-medium classrooms, your answers can lead to large-scale data convincing administrators and policymakers to design professional development structures so that teachers know how to use translanguaging to help their students, regardless of how many languages are spoken in a class, whether the teacher knows all students’ languages, and whether or not the final assessments are in English only. This can stimulate discussion about the policy changes, curriculum planning, and teacher education required to use other languages as learning resources in English-medium instruction. Your answers will also help researchers learn how translanguaging happens in different settings, so they can frame their advice based on setting and needs analysis.


The CACTI was created by Anna Mendoza, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Andrew Coombs, Memorial University, Canada; and Shakina Rajendram, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. The translations for the Hong Kong SAR/Mainland China version were created by Jiaen Ou, University of Hong Kong (Mendoza & Ou, 2022).

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.

This research has been approved by Anna Mendoza’s former institution, the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC), University of Hong Kong. The HREC Project No. is EA200204. The study was funded by RGCAS Grant No. 202009185059, University of Hong Kong.

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