Cafe CLIL Discussion 02: The ideal CLIL teacher profile

Discussion_02: The ideal CLIL teacher profile
Jan 22nd, 2009

You can listen to the entire recording of our discussion here at this YouTube link
The colleagues who joined me for discussion are Bernd Morlock, Lauretta D'Angelo and Peach Richmond.
Introductory text from colleagues new to the discussion follows here as well as a contact email.

My name is Mr Peach Richmond and I live and work as an English teacher and teacher trainer in Switzerland. I have taught English at lower secondary level for 17 years and at commercial college for 10 years. I hold a masters degree in ELT from Exeter University. I am currently working 50% as the Project Manager for the introduction of English at primary schools in Canton Lucerne and 50% teaching English methodology at the Pädagogische Hochschule Zentralschweiz in Lucerne. I do not work in CLIL (yet) but CLIL will be an important part at primary and secondary levels and my special area of interest is content-based teaching and learning. (

There was some discussion beforehand that we could usefully discuss what the ideal CLIL teacher is, what would a profile be for the CLIL teacher, what skills do they need, should they have?  Also, what would a training course be like which would try to offer the skills and knowledge teachers need to reach the profile being described?
Based on this suggestion, Lauretta and I prepared texts with ideas on this topic.  Lauretta sent in the document below - subject teacher competencies.  It describes what kind of training the CLIL approach should offer.  I sent in a document with the table of ideal CLIL teacher descriptors and then themes for training to meet the profile descriptors.
In actual fact, in discussion, we only dealt with the issue of language levels of teachers.  That's perfectly fine as it gives us a lot more to discuss at later dates!!!!

The topics we covered in brief were:
1 First of all you can hear a brief introduction from Peach as well as an outline of the needs as he sees it of his trainee teachers, and also the perspective of the teachers themselves.
2 There is consensus that CLIL teaching should start with the content rather than the language and that the language should come from the content.
3 There are some interesting comments about multilingualism in Switzerland and how this relates to (and if it actually influences) CLIL.
4 A lot of the discussion revolves around the issue of what the minimum level of English should be for CLIL teachers.
5 A conclusion to this discussion suggests that CLIL training should ideally be modular for the very reason that there is such a great diversity of context and teacher in the CLIL world and a modular appraoch would not only respect that, but also be more realistic given the circumstances teachers have to live and work in.  It may be that CLIL training needs a portfolio approach where teachers can collect evidence of achievement as and when they can get it during their professional lives.
6 There was some discussion about where teachers can actually get language proficiency from while working full time, living, raising families and that the best way may be living for a period in the country of the target language.
Suggestions for further discussion included:
- How are subject CLIL teachers (i.e., Biology, Maths) trained?
- What actually is hard CLIL, what actually is soft CLIL?
- Bring in a subject teachers' perspective.

So, if you're a subject specialist teaching students through English as a foreign language, why not join us for the next discussion.  Send me an email if interested
1) There was a reference to levels of language exams and the CEF and this site compares exams and levels.
2) There was a question as to whether Swiss teachers can apply for EU funding?
I did some considerable searching, but couldn't find any evidence that teachers are receiving EU funding for training.  If you know different, let us know.

I'm using a piece of software called 'Call Burner' which enables me to record the audio input of all participants into one audio file.  This is much tidier than the first attempt!

It looks like we are moving towards choosing Fri 27th at 1 or 2pm (Central European time) for our next discussion as two colleagues have already said that it's convenient.
The other times and dates are included here, do get in touch if you'd like to join us.  I claimed that we'd be flexible about time and dates, and offered to do repeat discussions, but this is proving difficult!  All I can say is that the earlier we sort out dates and times the better.
Cafe CLIL 03 - One day of Wed to Thurs 25-27 Feb (13.00 - 18.00 Bulgarian time for up to one hour)
Cafe CLIL 04 - One day of Wed to Thurs 15-17 Apr (13.00 - 18.00 Bulgarian time for up to one hour)
If you'd like to get involved in these discussions, just drop me a line ( with an indication of preferred date, time and topic(s) in order of preference.  Please also include a short text about your work background and interest in CLIL to be published on this site.  Please note also that all discussion will be recorded and published here after the meeting.  Skype offers a maximum conference number of 24, so there's room for more, though I'm not sure we'll practically manage so many colleagues talking at once!