Cafe CLIL Discussion 03: CLIL TT

Discussion 03_Content_TT
What goes into a training course for content CLIL teachers?

We were joined by Peach Richmond, Lauretta D'Angelo, Lida Schoen and Egbert Weisheit.  Introductory text from colleagues new to the discussion follows here as well as a contact email.

The recording of the discussion can be found at this YouTube link.

New visitors to Café CLIL:

Dr. Lida Schoen received a doctorate in (analytical) Chemistry from the University of Amsterdam in 1972. Since then she has been involved in education in chemistry and Teacher Training (Amsterdam).  In 1996 she started her own educational consultancy, with mainly governmental commissions. Examples are experimental materials for a new chemistry curriculum (A-level), e.g on spectrometry and biochemistry and for general science on the male pill. A last commission came from the Social Security to write a curriculum and teaching materials to reintegrate unemployed people by means of computer work.  Lida is co-creator with Keith Kelly of the YAC (Young Ambassadors for Chemistry) project and is an active team member and promoter of Science Across the World programme.  In 2007, Lida was made a Knight of the Order of Orange Nassau by her Majesty the Queen for her contributions to Science education in and raising public understanding of chemistry. (

Egbert Weisheit teaches Biology and Chemistry in Kassel, Germany and is a teacher trainer offering in-service teacher development in the region. His foreign languages include English and French and he is particularly interested in communication in Science and developing cross-curricular activities in his teaching and training.  Egbert focuses his work on practical activities, experiments and outdoor work in Science.  An area Egbert specialises in is teaching Science in English.  Egbert has been a team member of Science Across the World for a number of years and is the programme's representative in Germany. ( 

The topic for this discussion has grown out of a previous discussion on what the ideal CLIL teacher is.  Here we talk about the contents of training programmes for Content teachers of CLIL subjects.  The stress on content teachers is deliberate.  In preparation for discussion I put together the contents or a number of courses I know personally for CLIL teachers.  This document can be downloaded from the link below.

There is also mention of the European Portfolio for new teachers as a starting point for discussion about competences for CLIL teachers and that can be found here: or from the link below.

Topics discussed:
As usual we had some teething problems with the technology, but the participants got on and introduced themselves and the recording starts with Egbert talking about who he is and what he does.

- There is a summary of pre-service training for subject teachers in each of the participant country.  There is no pre-service training for CLIL.  Only in Switzerland is there any CLIL component in pre-service teacher training.  Luzerne is given as the example of Swiss pre-service CLIL training where at Primary teachers do a module on CLIL.

- Holland has no formal requirements for bilingual schools regarding content and language integration.  In Germany, schools use CLIL to promote themselves, and there is still a lack of official recognition for teachers, and a lack of CLIL teachers generally.  In Italy, language teachers are trained in post-graduate courses to prepare CLIL modules.  There is a recent law which stipulates that within two years all students will have some subject teaching through the medium of a foreign language.

- Peach suggests that the push for more collaboration between language and content teaching in secondary may actually come from primary (where it is more common) into lower secondary and then secondary and it may come from the children themselves as they progress through the years bringing their own CLIL needs with them.  Peach also explains that Luzerne CLIL has developed out of a need for new ideas for teaching language at an early age and CLIL was one of those ideas.

- We touch on what the contents of a programme of training should be for CLIL teachers, and Lauretta highlights the need in training for 'strategies' such as 'scaffolding' - what it is, and how to provide it - as key to training for CLIL teachers and also the function of questioning in the classroom, higher order questioning.  Egbert suggests that what his teachers need are more ideas for teaching communication through Science, more interactive tasks.  Egbert and Lida, both Scientists, both stress the need for developing school curriculum links to give a foundation for language and content integration in the school.  There is agreement that teachers need to develop an awareness of the language of their subjects and techniques and skills for making this language accessible to students in their classrooms.

- There is also interesting discussion about how in some contexts L1 policies are driving discussion about language across the curriculum.  In Switzerland this is the case where High German in the classroom versus Swiss German has brought about guidelines for use of language across the curriculum.  EAL (English as an Additional Language) policy in the UK is mentioned, this is a policy for language throughout the whole of the curriculum in the UK.

- We also discuss the IATEFL CLIL debate question - CLIL: Is it compromising or complementing English language teaching?  The whole group was in agreement that CLIL only compromises language teaching where the language teaching is old fashioned otherwise it can only complement it.  Lauretta states that it's a chance to reinforce the language.