International CLIL Conference
12. – 13. February 2009 im Goethe-Institut London
The term Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) increasingly appears in scholarly discussions in the European context concerning language learning at schools. Combining CLIL with English has already become an integral part of the curriculum in many European schools.
In contrast, the development of materials for CLILiG= Content and Language Integrated Learning in German and the use of CLILiG in schools in North-West Europe (NWE) appears to be remain at a fairly embryonic stage.
The Goethe-Instituts of the NWE region consider these new methods and concepts for language learning at schools to be of great significance, particularly within the framework of the initiative Schools: Partners for the Future. For this reason, the Goethe-Instituts of the NWE region support the further development and integration of CLILiG.
Partner schools often need know-how for the development and implementation of CLILiG. In order to offer the partner schools the opportunity to receive information and share their experiences in relation to CLILiG, the “International CLIL-Conference” was organised in the framework of the initiative Schools: Partners for the Future. The conference took place between the 12th to the 13th February 2009 at the Goethe-Institut London.
1. Aims of the Conference
The following focal points were named as the aims of the conference:
- Examining the theoretical basis and the current status of research concerning CLIL and CLILIiG
- Presenting CLIL approaches
- Presenting examples of best practice
- Putting theory into practice using workshops
- Networking between the partner schools
2. Realisation of the Conference
In total, 80 participants from Germany, Ireland, Island, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy and Spain took part in the conference and spent the two days attending presentations as well as workshops dealing with CLILiG.
The conference gave the participants, consisting of scholars, headmasters, teachers of German, teachers of CLIL-Combined subjects (history, music, art, sports) and experts for education, the opportunity to experience CLIL and CLILiG from different perspectives and to enter into discussions about these topics.
First Day of the Conference
Uwe Rau, deputy director of the Goethe-Institut London, delivered a welcoming speech in which he emphasised the importance and the opportunities of the initiative Schools: Partners for the Future as well as the cooperation between the Goethe-Institut and the partner schools.
Zarife Soylucicek, Advisor for German and Project Manager for 'Schools: Partners for the Future' in the North-West Europe region appealed to the partner schools to play a leading role in the methodological-didactic development of CLILiG.
The first speaker, Do Coyle, Professor for Innovative Learning at the University of Aberdeen’s School of Education, talked about What does CLIL mean? and explained why it is of high educational value to implement CLIL.
Kim Haataja, director of the public institute for teacher training and curriculum development in Finland, introduced the European survey on content and language integrated learning in German and explained the background, methods and results of the survey. In his Workshops the participants were asked to analyse the current situation in schools regarding CLILiG and to come up with ideas concerning how to start a synergistic promotion of CLILiG using PASCH. The participants were grouped according to their home countries and dealt with the following questions:
SECTION 1 - CLILiG already in practice:
- Why CLILiG?
- Scope and subjects?
- Organisation (Teachers, materials, cooperations)?
- Experiences so far: positive and negative?
- Objectives: Short-term objective and long-term objective (at least 3 each)?
- Cooperation beyond school level? Current state – planned state?
- Realistic Opportunities to build up networks and cooperation with other PASCH schools
SECTION II – CLILiG not yet in practice:
- Why CLILiG (in the future)?
- State of planning (teachers, materials, cooperations)?
- Heard about, seen: positive, negative?
- Objectives: Short-term objective and long-term objective (at least 3 each)? Cooperation beyond school level? Current state – planned state?
The results of the discussions were written down and presented to the plenum. This gave the PASCH schools the opportunity to get to know each other as well as helping them to get a realistic view about the possibilities of building networks.
Manfred Wildhage , headmaster of the Martino-Katharineum school in Braunschweig and author of the book Praxisbuch - Praxis des bilingualen Unterrichts spoke on
- how to adapt bilingual education to the school profile,
- which different bilingual approaches exist,
- which challenges the implementation imposes.
Wildhage clarified and explained different approaches of bilingual education, which imply very different methods and objectives. This and his appeal to “first become aware of the schools objectives before implementing bilingual education” was aimed especially at the headmasters in attendance. In his workshop, which was judged to be highly motivating by most of the participants, Wildhage used concrete examples from the school context to demonstrate possible courses of action as well as the difficulties concerning the development of materials.
Reinhard Donath introduced a newly designed “multimedia-driving licence” for the PASCH-Initiative in order to enable the teachers to get informed about content and structure of the online training.
In the evening, a reception was hold by the director of the Department of Cultural Affairs of the German Embassy, Cord-Hinrich Meier-Klodt, which enabled the guests to discuss the content of the first day of the conference in more detail while enjoying a glass of wine.
Second Day of the Conference
Dieter Wolff, Emeritus Professor of Wuppertal University introduced in his lecture the most important functions and elements of the CLIL-Curriculuum and presented concrete examples of its successful implementation through referring to the Andalucian Curriculuum. His workshop discussed the strategic behaviour of students and the teacher in CLIL lessons.
Ulrike Tietze and Doris Martorana introduced a CLIL project based on "Teaching History in the 21st century", a project that was organised in collaboration with the Italian Education Ministry and built up in modular form on a Blended Learning Platform. Alongside the presentation of the respective successes and difficulties of the project, they also demonstrated through a live recording of the lesson how awareness of different perspectives towards historical events and the breaking down of prejudices was achieved in the classroom.
The Advisor for Teaching and Coordinator of the Schools: Partners of the Future intitative in South-Western Europe Bernhard Osterkorn illustrated in his lecture how eight of the partner schools in France successfully carried out music workshops with German being used as the language of communication. A video recording showed how motivated the French students were by the combination of music and language.
In the following discussion led by Karl Pfeiffer and Alex Pickering of the Goethe-Institute London, partner schools formulated their short-term and long-term goals for the implementation of CLILiG.
3. Evaluation and Oulook
The conference was the first attempt to inform the partner schools on the latest developments of CLIL and CLILiG and to provide the schools with a platform for networking and meeting each other. The goals of the conference, which were aimed towards providing information to the participants and the implementation of the next necessary steps for CLILiG were achieved through the following steps:
- the clear explanantion of the key concepts, approaches and studies related to CLIL and CLILiG
- illustration of the necessary steps for the adaptation and eventual integration of CLIL-Curricula
- presentation of CLILiG examples
- presentation of the peculiarities and details regarding the development of CLIL materials
The introduction of such a platform is especially important for partner schools which have either just started using CLILiG or will introduce CLILiG in the near future. All participants in this international conference were asked to discuss, present and understand the concept of CLILiG concerning the synthesis of theory and its implementation into practice. Considering the fact that the partner schools face different local circumstances and, therefore, have to implement CLILiG in different ways, it was especially important for the schools to learn about the different CLILiG approaches.
There was a remarkably positive atmosphere throughout the conference and intensive discussions were held following the dicussions as well as during the breaks. All participants gained new insight into the topic and were able to develop new ideas for the future. The objectives of the conference regarding networking between the partner schools were achieved by giving the participants enough time and opportunities to discuss and exchange. The first results of the conference can be seen in the planned networks and CLILiG projects between partner schools, e.g. Bishopbriggs Academy and Leighton Primary School.
Overall in their evaluation, the participants considered the conference to be very helpful. Due to this positive evaluation, a follow-up conference with more in-depth analysis of the topic would be desirable but cannot be organised due to the enormous costs for the Goethe-Institut London. From the point of view of Uwe Rau, CLIL-instructor in the Head Office of the Goethe-Institut Alicia Padros, Bernhard Osterkorn and Zarife Soylucicek the Goethe-Institut should give further impetus to schools in the NWE and SWE region concerning CLILiG. This could be achieved through a CLIL-teacher training, which had to be developed by experts in cooperation with the Goethe-Institute in the NWE/SWE region and the Head Office.