In 2018, Taiwan’s Ministry of Education (MOE) announced the national bilingual education (BE) policy and its commitment toward implementing full-scale bilingualization in the national education system. Though the details for putting the policy into practice at local contexts across the nation are still under discussion, small-scale experiments had been conducted by individual schools in different cities prior to the MOE announcement. One unique case was the CLIL pilot program fully organized and supported by Tainan City government, launched 1 year ahead of the national policy. This paper discusses the experience in Tainan CLIL program from three aspects: the medium of instruction, foreign teacher recruitment, and the needs of bilingual teacher education. The findings will help inform the national policy as MOE formulates more specific implementation guidelines. In comparing the Tainan pilot experience and MOE’s policy, the study will show that the MOE policy was influenced by the traditional English as a native language (ENL) ideologies, even though in many parts of the world educators have adopted the English as a lingua franca (ELF) framework in curriculum design. A BE program with ELF perspectives will not only integrate multicultural awareness in curriculum design, but also value teachers’ and students’ multilingual resources in teaching and learning in the classroom. An ELF-informed BE policy will view local teachers’ empowerment as a crucial step to successful CLIL implementation. In light of our findings, the MOE’s bilingual education policies should be examined and updated with awareness of the ELF phenomenon and the experience of Tainan’s CLIL pilot program.
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