Monday, November 11, 2013

Are we setting the stage for CLIL? by Marta Braylan

The constructive process of learning requires an active learner with a clear understanding of
the objective and purpose of his or her own actions. This process usually
involves risking responses, making mistakes, reviewing, editing, re-writing, changing  and coming to own conclusions among other many things.

Are we as CLIL teachers setting the stage
for all of the above to happen?

I tried to write my own CLIL Teacher's Checklist- Please feel free to collaborate by adding your own thoughts and  questions to the list below.

  • When we start a new project in primary school: are we setting the climate for wonder? Are we helping them link with prior knowledge and experience? Are we making the right connections with L1 curriculum? Are we leaving gaps and unanswered areas of knowledge to provoke curiosity in order to approach learning meaningfully? Are we truly valuing and considering students ideas and opinions without judgments?
  • In the process of teaching a unit or a lesson in primary school: Are we letting our students experience with their bodies? with music? through hand-on activities? through drama? through the arts? Are we showing them that they are the owners of their learning process? Are they aware that they are the creators of the unique products they make? (stories, poems, dialog, paintings, sculptures, interviews, presentations, posters, objects, decorations, and more.) Are we making exhibits of their individual and group productions to share with families and community?

  •  When we give our primary school students a writing assignment:  Are we creating the conditions for students to construct spontaneous writing? Have we selected a genre from L1 curriculum that is appropriate for the student's age? Are we offering writing models for the learners to become familiar with that genre? Are we providing scaffolding to avoid immediate failing? Are we engaging students by motivating them to write about something that is relevant to their lives? Are we teaching them that writing involves re-writing, correcting, editing?

  • When we propose a reading aloud activity to our primary school students: Are we providing enough information so they can predict and contextualize as they read? Are we being patient enough to listen without correcting pronunciation to allow time for self confidence? Are we supporting the activity with visuals, audio files and realia?

  •  When we assign a certain production combined with arts, music or game construction to our primary school students: Are we asking them to make something meaningfully connected to the content of study? Is the task appropriate for their age? (not too easy/not too hard) Have we tried to do the task ourselves before, to see what difficulties students may encounter on the way? Have we planned what supplies will be necessary in advance? Are we teaching them that enjoying "hands on" activities  such as drawing, decorating, painting in order to show their work is useful and is a way  of expressing themselves about the content of study. Are we teaching  them to  take pride and to feel the satisfaction of real achievement by appreciating their work and the work of others? Are we letting them know that everyone creates his/her production in different ways?

  • How about the thinking skills?: Are we offering our students the possibility of classifying, comparing, inferring, coming to conclusions, hypothesizing, making connections, predicting, estimating, summarizing, explaining, labeling, defining, ordering, contrasting, modifying, rewriting, inventing, describing, distinguishing, paraphrasing, changing, designing, supporting, justifying, reorganizing....and the long list continues...
  •  When evaluating our students: Are we giving priority to the message our students are trying to convey instead of focusing just on the grammar? Are we letting them know that evaluation is one more step of their learning process? Are we teaching them that making mistakes is also part of the learning process? Are we allowing them to self correct, and revise errors and mistakes? Are we offering the possibility of re-doing their work and of being re- evaluated?