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Content-based instruction (CBI), distinguished by its dual commitment to languageand content-learning objectives, has been translated into practice in diverse ways to meet the needs of second and foreign language student populations. This article explores the general characteristics of and challenges associated with content-based curricula by reviewing (1) case studies that document outcomes of CBI programs at elementary, secondary, and higher education levels and (2) curricular models that have been implemented in first and second language contexts. Included in this review of curricular models, because of its implications for second and foreign language contexts, is a brief explanation of Concept-Oriented Reading Instruction (CORI), an approach to content learning and reading development that has been used and extensively researched in first language settings. Empirical studies focusing on CORI, immersion models, and other CBI-related issues (including teacher–student interactions; teachers' oral discourse; and teachers' attention to language, content, and task) are summarized to illustrate the complexities of content-based curricula. The article concludes with a call for further research that can inform the practices of teachers, curriculum and course designers, materials developers, and individuals involved with assessment in content-based settings.

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Annual Review of Applied Linguistics
  • ISSN: 0267-1905
  • EISSN: 1471-6356
  • URL: /core/journals/annual-review-of-applied-linguistics
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