Tuesday, 22 February 2011

CLIL Twilight at Saddleworth High School, Friday 4th February 2011

This twilight was a follow-up from a full day INSET in November.

It was very interesting to see everybody’s work towards implementing CLIL as we were all at completely different stages. This ranged from starting to talk to another subject area to two teachers from different departments jointly planning and delivering lessons.

The first part of the Twilight was spent on getting students’ views about CLIL. At Saddleworth High School, CLIL is currently used to deliver history lessons in the Top Set Year 9. Although students admitted that they might not necessarily have chosen to do their history lessons in German, they were adamant that this was helping them both for their German and their History. Students still have history assessments in English and their performance was reported as at least in line with if not above the students who had not been taught through CLIL. One of the advantages mentioned was that the concepts had to be simplified and chunked to be accessible linguistically, which also made them easier for students to understand.

Students enjoyed being rewarded for their use of the Target Language in class and they commented on the fact that it came more naturally as the lesson was delivered through German with only very few key items of vocabulary provided with their translation in English.

One of the drawbacks of CLIL is that there can be a tendency for it to be very teacher-centred. It is therefore very important to find alternative ways to deliver the history content with more student-centred activities to ensure sustained engagement in the lessons: mind maps, match up exercises, cut up & stick exercises to show how ideas are connected to each other, pair work: summarise what you have learnt so far.

Other examples of CLIL-like opportunities were presented for PSHE- A Day in the Life of..., Healthy Living, First Aid, Geography-Crime in France, Strawberries from Spain, Art-Painting titles

Ready-made resources in English were presented for these topics that naturally lent themselves to being adapted and delivered through CLIL.

We were also given the opportunity to explore the Anne Frank guide .net site to look at resources in different languages as well as suggested ideas on how to edit these resources using Movie Maker to make them more CLIL-friendly-adding own sound, music, sequencing pictures etc...

Finally, CLIL was mentioned as a way to support other E Bacc subjects like English, Maths, Science and Humanities. By providing a different approach to some of the content taught in those subjects, students can revisit concepts they have been exposed to before and gain confidence in both their understanding of the concept and of the language used to discuss them. In addition, as no further curriculum time is required, this makes it a real win-win proposition...

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