Latvia - CLIL Project

The British Council in Latvia organized a two-day introductory workshop on content and language integrated learning for 27 teachers from Dugavpils on April 20-21st 2006.

Teachers attended the workshop in twos and threes mixed subjects including English, Maths, Sciences, Business studies, German, Culture and History with the aim of preparing participants with a basic understanding of what CLIL involves and get them started in the field back in school
… Inta Baranovska gets us started …
The plan is to carry out follow-up workshops in Latvia focusing on materials design for specific subjects in the Autumn and bring in teachers from other towns and cities around Latvia.
Inta Baranovska from BC Latvia booked us in to the Baltic Beach Hotel in Jurmala on the Baltic coast. The teachers were offered a programme presenting tasks for language skills development through content subjects including examples of Geography, Biology, History, Chemistry and others.
On day one the teachers investigated language demands of specific subject texts and set about designing visuals for information transfer and in doing so provide learners with instruments for highlighting core knowledge within text.

… identifying structure in texts …
We also considered what makes a good listening activity drawing up a check list for evaluating listening tasks and conclusions focused on ‘semi-scripts’ as a tool for teachers to offer good models of language for listening in their subjects. Semi-scripts play a central role in content and language integrated learning for learners to be guided during listening tasks.
… reading and discussion …
Colleagues practiced a number of speaking activities including a Biology Question Loop and tested their knowledge of the vocabulary of the digestive system through word activating tasks.
… group food presentations …
We looked at presentation work in the classroom… 
… the group had the homework of preparing a one-minute presentation on a new food product with a Latvian theme
Inventions were very creative and the winning team developed a Latvian Laima Chocolate ice cream cone.
Day two focused on Science Across the World as a manageable project for getting started in CLIL.
… debating and discussion work …

Teachers were offered background information on the Science Across programme as well as several example materials from the 20+ topics including Road Safety, Talking about Genetics, Climate Change, Eating and Drinking and many others. 
… investigating speed reactions in the group …
Colleagues were then taken through sample activities which represent the focus on survey work and investigation in the classroom which make up the core of the Science Across programme.
We spent the afternoon at a nearby school to make use of their computer room and internet facilities so that colleagues could sign up to the Science Across programme (currently free for teachers in Latvia).
… signing up to Science Across …
A CLIL Latvia yahoogroup was set up to facilitate communication among teachers in the network in Latvia and participants were given the opportunity to browse the Science Across site, check out the materials and also begin to make some decisions about getting started on the programme back in their schools. 
It was a very positive feeling at the end of the two days, there is a lot of experience in bilingual (Latvian-Russian) education in Latvia and the teachers were pleasantly surprised by their own success in the English language at the workshop, despite my Manchester accent!
There was time set aside to action planning for a return visit and workshop in the autumn which will focus on materials, language development for teachers and networking. 
We are already in discussion about this visit and an autumn visit has been penciled in the calendar to coincide with a similar visit to Estonia.