Austria - Dual Language Programme Course
Oct 21st and 22nd, 2011
Paedagogische Hochschuele, Vienna
Eva Poisel invited me to contribute to her DLP course programme, and I readily agreed, knowing what I do about the work of the subject teachers in the schools involved. Plus, after meeting the HTL teachers (see reports), I wanted to shout about teachers linking up with and communicating with each other.
You could smell the brain cells smouldering as the group got their teeth into the texts I'd prepared for them to identify 'generic diagrammatical structure' in the texts, as well as identifying core language in texts with a view to reorganizing the language, manipulating the structures and making it available to students to support their learning of the subjects through English.
My main memories of this group were as much to do with their great personality as a group as with the content of the sessions. Their interaction was a treat, as were their comments, and they laughed at the right moments.
In short, on the one hand we explored language skills embedded in content materials while the teachers were encouraged to incorporate the activity types in their course assignments.
Assignments ranged from Christmas song writing making use of song writing frames, through learning vocabulary for musical instruments in an orchestra to combining art with mathematics.
There is definitely a move in Austria to develop more English medium education in a variety of educational institutions. The reasons for this are clear, but the method of delivery is likely to be the major challenge.
Teachers while enthusiastic about teaching their subjects through English, are concerned on several fronts. They are worried about their own levels of English, they are anxious about the lack of resources and having to produce their own, and they are concerned about the demands on the learners that English-medium education will entail.
I'm delighted to be involved in this initiative in Austria, I'll try my best to support the teachers that I'm in touch with, and have offered to give feedback on their assignments and resource writing. What would be a major development, would be to get all the groups of teachers involved in CLIL actually communicating with each other, but my feeling is that teachers here generally are isolated when they could be helped to save resources, time and energy by systems which work towards networking, sharing and development.
DLP CLIL Course Group Photo
Many thanks to Eva for looking after me, (the fresh coffee was a treat Eva, thanks!).
The PH is a great location, and I got another invitation to visit another school (Heartbreaker Helmut, I'll be in touch!), and this will happen at some point in January, 2012, alongside my next training visit, or during one of the subsequent visits to Austria during the year.