Austria - CEBS Conference

Conference for CEBS network of vocational schools, Austria
22-24th Oct, 2009

I attended a conference run by CEBS which is the Austrian organization and network of vocational schools. The conference was attended by 350 teachers, mainly teachers of French, German, English, Russian and other languages, but there were also content teachers in the audience. I know because I met some of them.
Bad Hofgastein
Picturesque ski, sport and spa town in the Salzburg mountains
Georg picked me up from Salzburg railway station and we struggled to communicate in German. Those of you know me, know that beyond travel, food, accommodation and so on, my German doesn’t stretch to much conversation. But we discovered we both had French and I learned a lot about the region from Georg on the road from Salzburg to Bad Hofgastein in the Salzburg mountains. Many thanks Georg.

Franz Mittendorfer invited me to the event with this team in place and with the idea that CLIL may be able to offer something to vocational schools teaching their subjects through foreign languages. There was also an underlying thought of ‘how can the language teachers begin to collaborate with the subject teachers’. Thanks Franz, I hope I’ve described this accurately.
Congress Centre, Bad Hofgastein

‘What do you do with the language once you know what it is?’

I’m going to make this question from one of the participants at my workshop at the CEBS conference in Austria recently the focus for this report. You can click the links to the presentations in the text of the report on the sessions below and follow the discussion there.
Palace Hotel, live folk music in the bar was a treat!
Franz presents the keynote speech of Professor Albert Raasch from the University of Saarland

I also met Andreas Baernthaler ( who is the CLIL coordinator for CEBS and also Barbara Gleiss ( who is a recent addition to the CLIL team in CEBS.

I gave two presentations. One was an interactive talk entitled ‘CLIL – where are we now?’ which was offered as a carrot to the language teaching participants to come and find out about what has been going on recently in bilingual education and CLIL around the world. This was at least from my personal perspective and with examples of contexts where I have had contact.

The second was a workshop called ‘CLIL – what’s in it for the language teachers?’ and speaking as a language teacher who has embraced the content curriculum as a context for teaching language, I had a few ideas I thought would be of interest to a language teaching audience.


- I sat in on the plenary from Prof. em. Dr. Albert Raasch ( from the University of Saarland in Germany. My German was highly challenged but one thing I did understand was when Professor Raasch spoke about CLIL and he said ‘CLIL methodology is its own methodology’ and it’s not a case of just teaching a subject through a foreign language.
Andreas Baernthaler gets us started for the first talk

- I should mention the publisher exhibition in the foyer and corridor in the congress centre. It’s quite amazing how much material is being written and published locally for the foreign language medium vocational schools’ market in Austria. It may even be a good place for Bulgarian Tourism and Business Schools to look for resources in foreign languages (link to Velingrad report).
Trauner Verlag
There is all manner of English-medium (and other language) textbook material for catering, hospitality services, kitchen management at this site.

A distributor and publisher in Austria with a range of English-medium (and other language) vocational and subject-specific textbooks on its shelves, including Cornelson and OUP materials.
Not an Austrian publisher but a substantial name in CLIL in Germany and the region.

Follow – up.
I’m returning to Austria in March 2010 to deliver a number of lectures at Vienna University and have been discussing with colleague Rosemarie Knoflach (bilingual Geography) in Innsbruck about adding on a couple of days to do a visit her school and run a workshop with her colleagues. Having met Andreas, thanks for the lunch and good conversation Andreas, we discussed my visiting him in Linz, perhaps en route to Innsbruck to work with teachers from his network. The idea here may be to brainstorm ideas for developing collaboration between language teachers and subject teachers and then begin to develop instruments and strategy for making it happen in schools. What an interesting project that would be to see become a reality. I’ll keep you posted. 

Attached files