Estonia - CLIL Materials Development Workshop

CLIL Materials Development Workshop in Estonia, 02-03.10.06

The last of a series of Baltic CLIL events took place in Estonia. Kaarin Truus ( organised the meeting for the British Council as part of an ongoing project for developing Content and Language Integrated Learning in Estonia.
A group of 24 language and content teachers met in the Spa resort of Laulasmaa ( on the Lahepere Bay, an hour’s drive from Tallinn, Estonia, on the Baltic coast for two days of CLIL materials development workshops, 02-03.10.06.
This is a follow up meeting to an initial meeting which took place in April 2006.  This meeting focused on materials development for CLIL and had colleagues investigating different areas of teaching their subjects through the medium of English or other language.

The CLIL Materials Development Programme
1          Introduction
                        Materials development for CLIL
2          Investigating textbooks for language and structure
            participants go through textbooks and locate/identify core language and structure
3          Producing written language
            participants choose a textbook topic and prepare a writing frame
4          Producing guidance for listening
            participants identify a listening from the textbook, visual, labeling
5          Producing frames for speaking / presenting
            participants choose a topic for speaking, prepare language support
6          Producing guidance for reading
            participants choose a text, prepare reading task
7         Working with words
8         Round up - planning the way ahead

The PPT slides are linked at the foot of this page.

The teachers were from 8 schools around Estonia and represented a variety of subject areas including English, Biology, geography, Estonian, Literature, Maths, Chemistry, Russian, and French. 

It's interesting to point out that we had a teacher of French who could communicate perfectly well in English and who had come for ideas for French CLIL.  Another aspect of the group of particular interest was the presence of colleagues from the Estonian Immersion project.  The colleagues have a wealth of experience to offer others in producing content and language integrated materials having built up a materials base already for teachers and learners, usually Russian speaking, working in the Estonian language in schools

You can take a look at some of their materials at the following site address:  Don't be afraid that it's the resources are in Estonian, visitors can choose other languages to view the site and see the vast resource on offer, and can use the models, visuals, charts and illustrations there for their own purposes.
It's always a pleasure working with such a mixture of teachers, you can guarantee that the materials produced will be varied and fascinating and this was the case with this group of teachers.

Language and structure

Colleagues were asked to investigate their textbooks for language and structure which could be exploited and supported in CLIL classes.  In terms of language colleagues were looking for language around the core subject language which was nevertheless essential for learners to make sentences in English.  An example of this language is 'sequencing phrases' in the first example here on Charlotte Bronte.  Where structure is concerned, colleagues examined texts in their books for a generic diagrammatical structure.  Frequently textbook texts are given in a linear fashion which could be presented in a more visual fashion, using tree diagrams, flow diagrams, tabular diagrams etc. They were given the question 'What would the text look like as a diagram?'
The results were presented on flipchart paper around the room for colleagues to present to the group.
Literature: Charlotte Bronte (Time line sequenced boxes in flow diagram plus nouns, verbs, sequencers, preposition phrases for making sentences)
Civics: Conflict (Estonian-medium, fishbone diagram juxtaposing aspects of conflict)
Chemistry: Fuels (Table for characteristics of fuels and verbs and consequence phrases for talking/writing about table)
Nature studies: Animals in the wild (Tree diagram plus phrases for classification)
Biology: Drugs and their effect on target cells (Table with three columns and titles: Antibiotics, Effect, Target Cells)
Biology: Aquatic life (Tree diagram and phrases)
Maths: Polygons (Tree diagram and labels)

Flow diagram of Charlotte Bronte's life

Visuals for Maths

Visuals for Biology

Language and structure
Writing support
The teachers worked through their textbooks finding material to produce language support frames for writing in CLIL classes.
Chemistry: Creative writing about fuels (Describe your journey from creation to use + phrases for writing sentences)
French: Une Invitation (Writing frame and question prompts in French for an invitation to a school outing)
Chemistry: Fuels advantages and disadvantages (Table with verb phrases and characteristics)
Biology: From plankton to restaurant (Estonian-medium, substitution table with phrases describing food change journey of plankton to restaurant)
Nature Studies: The Estonian Bear (Questions and prompt phrases for writing about a bear + table and sentence starters)
Biology: Vertebrates (Word order jumbled up sentences on vertebrates)
Literature: Charlotte Bronte (Diary entry for Jane Eyre + sentence starters and diary writing frame)
Guided listening
The materials creation continued with teachers finding good visuals for guiding listening in the CLIL classroom.
Biology: DNA Structure (Visual for following teacher talk)
History: The Victorian age (Table with dates, people, events for listening to teacher talk)
Chemistry: Fuels (Table for listening to characteristics)
Biology: Parts of a cell (Listen and label and then draw cell)
History: Estonian civil war (Flow diagram, listen and note)
Nature Studies: Animals in the house (Picture of a house, listen and label)

Preparing structures for guiding learners

Speaking in groups

Speaking and presentations
Teachers developed frames for supporting speaking.
Literature: William Thackery (matching half sentences as question loop)
Science: Experiments with butter (Visuals and verbs and phrases for reporting back)
Nature studies: Mammals in Estonia (Information search)
Biology: Fish (Question loop on fish characteristics)
Chemistry: Traditional methods of food preservation (Question loop)
Science: Wood in Estonia (Information search)

'Conflict' Fishbone in Estonian Immersion

Literature Language Support

The programme also focused on preparing guided reading tasks
Estonian literature: Kalevipoeg (Structure with prompt lines for reading and filling in notes)
Chemistry: Traditional methods of food preservation (Tree and flow diagrams with titles for note taking)
Nature studies: Animals in the wild (Title/name matching with text)
Literature: Thackery, Vanity Fair (Read and fill in the table and with parts of speech for making sentences)
Biology: Worms and voles (Read and fill in Venn diagram)

Guiding reading

The teachers worked very intensively over the two days and filled the walls with their work!

Outcomes of the meeting
- Materials produced – these will be written up by participants and collated in CD format by the British Council and then distributed to the group.
- Teachers identified needs and content for future similar meetings
- Follow up: options discussed between coordinators included a meeting for investigating teacher training for CLIL in Estonia, and also a meeting for trainer training for CLIL.

Shapes in Maths

The group photo

It's great to work with groups of colleagues like this. It's a combination of identified needs, subject diversity, good working groups and though these colleagues didn't all know each other before the meeting, they certainly did at the end!  Rebel Reet, Anonymous Anu, Positive Peter ... and many more.It will be interesting to hear how the colleagues make use of these resources which will be collated by the Kaarin at the British Council. After all, that's the main aim, providing input and products which can be practically implemented back in the hubbub of school.

Attached files