Monday, October 07, 2013

A Science Workshop in English

English language teachers enjoy a flexibility that few other teachers have.

Teaching English as a Second Language has the advantage that the courses can be designed based on the spoken language, in the display of productions and peer interaction.

But it also has the advantage that, in addition to language, you can do many things in English, even scientific, natural or social content. This is a multidisciplinary challenge, and without good selected materials you can fail on the try!

This year, once again, it has been impossible to start a project CLIL at school. Local governments in Spain have made a dramatic reduction on education investment. This means a lack of material and human resources. Most of the schools have been forced to reduce innovative projects and forced to develop alternative plans. And what's more, schools have decided not to start a project that won’t probably have continuity...

The solution taken by many schools is to offer “workshops” (taller" in Spanish) on language and content, one or two hours per week. The aim of these workshops is to offer a "language shower" and to cover some basic aspects or sub-competences both in English and the chosen subject: “short-term high-intensity exposure"!

So more than a CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) becomes a CBLT (Content-Based Language Teaching), that is teaching some content in English.

At school we chose science and today I would like to share some materials with which we have organized our workshop.

  • The Thinking Lab® is a project promoted by Cambridge University Press for the purpose of generating knowledge and debate on CLIL teaching. The findings will eventually be transformed into specific publications. The project is formed by a varied team of authors, teachers, editors and others who work together to achieve a more effective, dynamic and engaging approach to content teaching using English as the classroom language (CLIL).

  • Sue Cahalane  propose lots and lots of hands on activities to experiment science. She says "Kids are natural scientists! I created this teaching blog with the hope that we can share ideas about teaching science to children.  By teaching this subject in a hands-on, fun and interesting way, it is my hope that children will never lose their love for science".                           It is an incredible blog! 

  • Little Miss Hypothesis a blog created out of "the love and passion for Science and Early Childhood Education". This is a great blog to take you into a real Kindergarten classroom and show you that Science is possible even in this level.

There are many more blogs, wikis, webs and materials and I'm sure everyone has their favorite ones about science. But I find these great if all you wanted is to start with some experiments that fill the learning of the language with content (or vice versa!).

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