The s:fl Methodology

What? (Ingredients)

The s:fl methodology is based on three pillars:

  • Task-Based (language) Learning (TBL)
  • Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)
  • subject-matter specific STEM approaches

This methodology is learner-centred; it includes planning and implementation skills geared to the developmental level of the learners.

In this way, s:fl as a combined CLIL-STEM approach emphasizes the critical role that STEM subjects play in today’s educational world. The implementation of the s:fl methodology can be witnessed in different “plug-and-play” STEM-CLIL teaching modules, applied to a variety of STEM subjects and applicable to any foreign language. (more information here: „lesson plans“

How? (Approach)

The STEM-CLIL methodology is based on a five-step instructional approach:

5-step s:fl CLIL-STEM cycle



Moving through this cycle the teacher, applying CLIL principles of a dual language approach,

  • selects “triggers” to attract the attention of students;
  • urges students to formulate hypotheses based on these triggers;
  • helps students to conduct experiments and to record their observations;
  • causes discussion of the observations and helps students form conclusions;
  • ensures consolidation by gradually supporting students to generalize, transfer and apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills to the phenomena of everyday life.

The s:fl methodology sees STEM as interdisciplinary; it applies the same exploratory design process across different subject areas and levels of difficulty, and forces students to think “outside of the box”. It allows for multiple right answers and views failure as a necessary part of learning.

Why? (Added value)

The effectiveness of the method has been comprehensively evaluated as part of the s:fl project, revealing that:

  • students learning with this method reach knowledge and competence levels comparable to those students learning STEM conventionally in monolingual settings, and
  • students generate a high level of interest in STEM subject matter and in learning STEM through the lens of another language than their mother tongue.

Similarly, teachers have expressed

  • a higher sense of fulfilment and satisfaction from teaching STEM using the s:fl STEM-CLIL approach, and
  • an appreciation of the added value of STEM-teaching in their professional profile.

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