The conference held in a most beautiful locale within the port of Ancona in the Marche region, central north of Italy was a held on a beautiful day with a multitude of English language teachers representing their schools. It was an opportunity to learn something new via the Oxford Presenters all the while catching up with like minded colleagues exchanging ideas and obviously opinions.
The conference in the morning began at just after 9:30am and finished around 2pm with a rush to pick up certificates in time for the train, car park or bus ride back home or for some back to school for afternoon meetings.
The first presenter with a hot topic was Clare Maxwell with a good knowledge of Italian customs and language having previously lived in this beautiful country. Her presentation on CLIL not only clarified the meaning and use of CLIL for the English language teacher but also enhanced the many varied approaches to enhancing the language via the Content approach.
Clare Maxwell got everyone straight into interactivity by stepping down from the platform and walking among the teachers, inviting us all into giving a quick vote on our view of CLIL with 5 questions provided in a hand-out … basically giving a value on a scale of 1-5. This questionnaire would be viewed again at the end of her presentation with marked changes in most of our views on CLIL.
The approach to understanding or getting our minds around the CLIL method can quite easily be looked at via a Mind Map – Clare Maxwell showed us her diagram and guided us to eventually prepare our own. Some items to include in the mind map are as follows: 21st Century skills; Authentic content; communication; HOTS (higher order thinking skills); group/team work; benefits for the student; engagement; motivation; etc. She said “CLIL is an opportunity for the SS to see their learning in another approach” by actually doing the learning. Nowadays the students have the capacity to evaluate their learning through the internet, they are constantly interacting with a wider reality than a mere textbook. Hence if the didactic material is in a ‘learn by doing’ approach the students are more likely to be motivated. This is just a tip of the iceberg in the approach to using CLIL in the classroom. Especially in the language classroom which is an area that probably until Clare mentioned it … for me anyway … was the subject Teacher’s role and not the language teacher!
During the coffee and tea break the opportunity arose to physically catch up with so many past and present colleagues that the time just flew … so nice to hear so many chatting away in English.
Straight up after the break was Ben Wetz with a fresh approach at understanding the use of learning poetry and learning the language through Life Skills. This is an area of which I have been using in my language projects for the past 10 years or so hence it was a topic that being more familiar with left me to sit back and listen. Taking notes is often times ruined by not watching and listening.
Ben Wetz had us all busy with interactive tasks by watching YouTube videos then answering a few questions on each and coming up with a nice grid approach to using the same method in the classroom.
The video on 21st Century skills that Ben Wetz introduced at the beginning was an amazing video which I want to share here with my readers.
All in all it was a grand morning and thank you to Oxford University Press, Italy for organizing the event.