Thursday, March 14, 2013

CLIL Resources and Experiences

It is not the first time that the approach to bilingual programs in Andalusia, Spain, is mentioned in this blog. They are taking very inspiring steps to ensure the quality and consistency in the bilingual programs. Related to the idea of implementing bilingual programs, I also previously mentioned three key ideas that were proposed by Professor Frigols for bilingual programs following a CLIL approach: continuous professional development, integrate the curriculum and collaboration among teachers.

I think these are the three key elements to make our Spanish bilingual programs thrive and we can be inspired by some of the activities developed in Andalusia. Most of the information in this post has been taken from the blog by Pilar Torres, which I have previously introduced, and from the website of the Teachers Centre in Cordoba, Spain, the place where Pilar Torres is an advisor. I am going to talk about three projects that I find particularly intriguing. But my advice is one should have a deeper look at the attached blog and the website because there are a lot of interesting experiences, proposals and ideas available.

The first project is related to teachers collaboration and teachers' continuous professional development. In Andalusia, the teachers who start in a bilingual program have to undergo a training program. Not only this, teachers and schools are encouraged to be in contact and participate in new professional opportunities. This way teachers always have the opportunity of continuously learning from each other and from the forming of different experiences in the schools. All of these materials are available online in the previously mentioned blog by Pilar Torres. An example of these formative activities is the presentation by the teacher Antonio R. Roldán introducing bilingual programs and how they are implemented in his school, IES Alhaken II.

The second presentation I would like to comment on is by Beatriz Martínez Serrano, team leader of the Bilingual Program at the school IES Miguel Crespo. She introduces the work they are doing in her school which I find particularly interesting and links directly with the 3 key elements in a bilingual program:
  • Collaboration among the teachers working in the bilingual program. They work in joint projects and use an integrated curriculum.
  • Inclusion of a third language, French, in the projects.
  • Use of the E-PEL (the electronic version of the European Portfolio of Languages) as a teaching and self-assessment tool.
  • All teachers are language teachers therefore they have to work on the 5 skills of language. In the presentation there are examples of best practices  in all subject areas.
  • Related to the previous point, the subjects in the bilingual program have a reading plan for students
A very inspiring project that gives plenty of ideas for our schools.

I have spoken about collaboration among teachers, why not with teachers in a different country and a different curriculum? First I'd like to mention that some of the presentations in the Teachers Centre website are about how the program of International Language Assistants can be a great resource for students and teachers in the schools. There is another presentation about how Europeans Programs such as Twinning or Comenius can also enhance the bilingual programs.
The last project is a Comenius Regio Partnership between Huelva province in Andalusia Spain, and Bournemouth UK. The partnership consisted of elaborating lesson plans for Science. Nine bilingual schools in Huelva, Spain, and eight schools in Bournemouth, UK, took part in the project. The results are available online. The lesson plans also integrate content and language teaching and are a great example of teachers partnership:

It is always inspiring to see how bilingual programs are implemented in other countries and in other educational systems. I think the approach that they are taking in Andalusia has very valuable elements and can be helpful for us: continuous professional development, integrate the curriculum and collaboration among teachers. Moreover, their experience adding a third language, French, into the program could be our next challenge here.