CLIL Essentials: An Online Introduction (Funded project report 19-20)

The online course ran the week starting 25th May, Monday to Friday 2-4 p.m.

We were overwhelmed by the international interest in CLIL: we received 224 applications. Given the technical constraints of our platform Blackboard Collaborate, we could only accept a fraction of those applicants. We chose to prioritize KS2/3 teachers as the COVID19 crisis has exposed the fragility of MFL provision in primary schools, but we had applicants at all levels, and a significant interest from the HE sector. Thirty-five highly engaged (trainee) teachers took part in the course, but we gave access to some materials to all the applicants who requested them. The training was highly rated by participants, and 100% of them would recommend the course.

In the wake of the course, some participants have started to develop their own CLIL resources and shared them on social networks, which is hoped to foster more interest. In addition, a SIG for CLIL is under discussion with UCML. CLIL may prove useful in universities at a time where students and assistants’ mobility is restricted, and the exposure to the target language more restricted than usual.

At the beginning of May, the project was awarded research money from the College of Business and Social Sciences at Aston University. The aim was to assess through action research the challenges and opportunities of delivering an introduction to CLIL online. The research team is made of the course organiser, Emmanuelle Labeau (Aston University), the course facilitators, Peeter Mehisto (UCL) and Tuula Asikainen (CLILedu, Summer University of Lapland) and course observers Concha Julian (University of La Hueva) and Jesus Hernandez (Edinburgh). An improved version of the module will be offered to UK-based teachers and trainee teachers the week starting 6th July, and it is hoped this will further encourage the adoption of CLIL at all levels of education in the UK, at a time where political and sanitary circumstances are increasing the already challenging national context for languages.

We are very grateful to UCML for their support, and we would be more than happy to present CLIL at a future conference of the association.

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