In this paper, I research how my background, in different times and within diverse spaces, has led me to exploring and working with specific Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) programs. I am forever motivated to engage students learning second languages by providing them with possibilities to find out who they are, to know other ways of being and meet diverse peoples, to maintain languages more effectively and maintain culture(s) more authentically. I employ autoethnography as a method to discover and uncover my personal and interpersonal experiences through the lens of my dance related journeys. The method of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis is used to analyse and interpret my early formative years, my changing sense of self, the communities that I inhabit, and my overarching belief in dance. In this paper I describe my embodied emergence of cultural awareness and knowledge.


Autoethnography, Lived Experience, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), Language, Dance, Movement, Kinaesthetic Intelligence, Embodiment, Identity, Multicultural Awareness, Mutual Respect

Author Bio(s)

Nan Zhang completed her Bachelor of Arts degree and Master of Arts degree in China at the Beijing Dance Academy. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education at Monash University. Her research interests include multiculturalism, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), dance and language education. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Nan Zhang: nan.zhang@monash.edu.

Dr. Jane Southcott is an Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Monash University, Australia. Jane researches community engagement with music and cultural identity focusing on positive ageing. Jane supervises many postgraduate research students. She is Past President of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Research in Music Education and Co-editor of the International Journal of Music Education and on the editorial boards of international refereed journals.

Dr. Maria Gindidis is a Senior Lecturer in Teacher Education. She coordinates large core units in the B.Ed. Honours teaching degrees at Monash University. Maria’s research interests are in EAL, Languages, School Leadership, Multiliteracies and teaching informed by Neuroscience principles. She includes in her areas of expertise, curriculum design, teacher cognitive coaching, Languages (CLIL) and school improvement.


I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my supervisor Dr Maria Gindidis and associate supervisor A/Prof Jane Southcott for their insightful advice and encouragement of my PhD study. Their continuous support and guidance helped me all the way in researching and writing this autoethnography.

Publication Date


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