4th Bilingual Conference for Science Teachers, Kassel
Friday 11th Sept, 2009
My dear colleague, and fellow Science Across the World team member, Egbert Weisheit invited me to come and visit Kassel, observe his work, offer a workshop and deliver a plenary. I can't say no to Egbert!
First on the agenda was a visit to a school to observe a new teacher give a lesson on Mendel. Egbert is a teacher trainer and part of his work is to give feedback on lessons in preparation for teachers being examined on the road to qualified status. Fascinating fly on the wall opportunity for me to see how this works in practice in Germany.
The Albert Schweitzer Gymnasium, Kassel
The workshop flier and details
The next stop was at Egbert's school the Friedrichsgymnasium in Kassel where Egbert had arranged an open workshop on the theme of content and language integrated learning within the framework of the European Dimension in the curriculum.
It is such a delight to visit a place where you get to meet large groups of teachers all teaching their subjects through the medium of English. It’s great to see them all in one place at the same time. This is just what happened in Kassel, Germany at the 4th Bilingual Conference for Science Teachers.This was the third item on the busy visit agenda.
Conference flier and programme
Many thanks to Dr Mathias Bohn, deputy head of Christian Rauch-Schule, Bad Arolsen (www.christian-rauch-schule.de) for organizing the event and for continuing to work hard to bring more and more teachers together.
onestopclil.com at the conference
Egbert and Nigel Heslop of Association for Science Education in the UK
Colleagues in charge of conference administration report that there were 120 registrations at the event and 20 speakers.
I was invited to give a plenary talk with the inspiring theme of What’s going on in CLIL around the world today?
I know why my dear colleague and conference co-organizer Egbert Weisheit asked me to prepare on this theme.
The reason is simple.
Egbert felt that teachers need to have information about how foreign language-medium education is being delivered in other contexts, have news about approaches to language in FL content teaching, find out about problems and even failures in other countries, hear about other networks of teachers they might like to get in touch with and even join themselves.
There just isn’t very much effective communication or availability of information for teachers in Germany about ‘Bilinguale Unterricht’ or content and language integrated learning. There is little effective collaboration between the worlds of language education and content education in Germany. Surprising when you learn that ‘bilingual education’ is growing in popularity year on year amongst parents and students in Germany and there is strong demand for schools to offer such courses, as well as fierce competition for the places available in these schools among young people and their parents who want to get into them. This situation is all the more surprising when you consider that teachers graduate university with two specialisms and this may be a content subject and a foreign language, ideal material for an up-and-coming CLIL teacher.
Sadly bilingual education in Germany is not as developed as you might expect given the above circumstances. There are huge, possibly insurmountable issues to do with ‘territorial rights’ between the worlds of language education and ‘content’ education.
Thankfully though colleagues like Egbert Weisheit and Mathias Bohn are willing to face up to these problems in the way they do, find independent funding sources, bring teachers together and deal with all the practicalities of organization and manage to realise such important events as this one.
There were many young teachers in attendance
This event is the biggest event of its kind in Germany and the good news is that it’s getting bigger with each event, that more sponsors are showing interest, some sponsors offering continued support from event to event.
Particular thanks to GSK for their continued support (11 events so far).
I have to say thank you too to Macmillan for contributing to my travel expenses to the be able to attend and contribute to the event. Not only that, they also sent along a huge box of freebies which I know are useful for making a splash with groups of colleagues.
Nigel and Mathias Bohn share ideas
My usual approach is to offer a lottery for the prizes. In this case we had 6 Vocabulary Practice Series Books and CDs for Science and Geography. We had 3 free year subscriptions to the onestopclil website and we had 4 flash drives to give away. Colleagues were also offered a voucher for a 50% reduction on the price of subscription to the onestopclil site. I sent around blank sheets of paper for colleagues to give their names and email addresses and I ‘stuck a pin in’ the list to pick out our winners. I usually say to colleagues that they can participate in the lottery if they give permission for me to add them to our e-groups, and this includes the factworld forum in yahoogroups.com as well as registration to the onestopclil website. From 120 participants at the plenary 80 people gave their emails (one or two had written them twice, but we’ll assume they did that in error!). 80 out of 120 is a result!
The following is the handout I gave for colleagues to follow my presentation (you can download it here or at the foot of the page):
What’s going on in CLIL today?
Keith Kelly (email@example.com)
CLIL - the focus on language for learning (what it is and how to access and activate it)
Europe: more literature and more debate
Uncovering CLIL, Mehisto, Frigols and Marsh (Estonia, Spain, Finland)
Discourse in CLIL, Dalton-Puffer (Austria)
Articles on onestopclil.com, Ball, Clegg, Kelly, accumulative resources and information
More networks (electronic, institutional)
FACTWorld www.factworld.info / firstname.lastname@example.org Cafe CLIL
CLIL Cascade Network www.ccn-clil.eu
Bilingual Education Platform http://bilingualeduc.ning.com (Manuel Lara)
Spain: well organized
Asturias network of 140 schools (Training and Resources Centre Oviedo - training, publications, networking) - http://web.educastur.princast.es/cpr/oviedo/web/
Basque plurilingual education - http://www.gipuztik.net/ingelesa/
Spanish Bilingual Project www.britishcouncil.org/spain-education-bilingual-project
More private provision
IB look at immersion - activate prior knowledge, scaffold, extend, identity www.ibo.org
IB in the state sector (Lithuania) Didzdvario Gymnasium, Siauliai- www.dg.su.lt
Colin Baker on bilingualism - 'Scaffolding'
CLIL is all about the scaffolding learning and supporting language
ZPD - Vygotsky (CLIL is helping learners move from their comfort zone)
Malaysia – scrap EMI (question is, what can replace English?)
Phillipines – officially adopts a 'monoligual' approach to bilingualism (UNESCO)
Singapore – 40 years of plurilingual education
Qatar - Science and Maths through English throughout the system
Oman - scoping survey
UAE - EM Maths and Science http://www.moe.gov.ae/english/pages/default.aspx
'ELLs' - Teaching Mathematics to English Language Learners (on OSC)
Texas - www.tsusmell.org
3rd Brazilian Bilingual Schools conference reports huge growth in private sector in Brazil www.playpen.com.br
There are many grey areas, but there is now a clear foundation of literature and understanding of how language works in learning, that is one which reflects 'all language' (MTs and FL), is additive rather than subtractive and offers a plurilingual approach to language and learning. CLIL has come to be known as an umbrella term for any context where content and language are integrated in learning. This is a big concept to try to deal with, perhaps too big. CLIL is the practice of integrating content and language. It is the 'what' and the 'how' of learning curriculum material in a foreign language.
One of the perks is being able to get together with Nigel and Egbert!
The rest of the programme was packed with a host of science and language related topics.
It is testimony to the great work of Egbert and Mathias that they succeed in bringing so many teachers together despite obstacles and lack of support from the institutions of education in Germany. Bravo!
I, for one, will be back like a shot at the next opportunity.
In terms of follow up Egbert and I have already begun to recruit some of the new and young teachers working in Science in English to record their lessons. These recordings will be transcribed and the language analyzed and the results will be presented at the next conference in two years time. Watch this space!
Cornelsen CLIL materials
I learnt from a colleague in Germany recently that Cornelsen have published new materials for their CLIL series.
If you go to www.cornelsen.de, search for CLIL you'll get a catalogue of resources for different subjects.
It's in German, but easy to navigate.
It would be good to hear from anyone who uses the materials, let us know what you think about them.
CLIL 2010 Conference, Eichstaett, Germany
29th Sept - 2nd Oct, 2010
I arrived in Eichstaett on a damp and misty autumn afternoon and quickly found my bearings around the pretty town to do two things: take a look at the churches; shop for German-medium learning resources.
The registration as usual was a time for catching up with colleagues last met at the previous conference or similar event, a little networking, a little socialising.
I met Oliver Meyer, a man I knew only electronically before, but of whom I’d heard bits and pieces, all very positive, from other colleagues and friends. We met with ‘I’ve heard a lot about you from …’ and we agreed to find a time to talk to see what and how we could collaborate in the future, a great opportunity at events like this.
Isabel Peres Torres gave a keynote speech on IT in education and the best way to summarise her extremely informative and busy talk is by giving you the tag words I noted down on my mobile phone: lingro.com, tradukka, delicious, bookmarking, twiducate, Tim Berners-Lee, open data, iphone + iSchool, Web 3.0, beware big brother - behave, glogster posters, prezi.com, vimeo, ‘Hold your Horses’, conclusion: we have to embrace the technology in learning / a lot of the answers are already out there.
The one thing I wanted to report back about the conference in particular is that there was much discussion in the corridors about the sky-high issues being dealt with throughout the conference and yet what a significant group spoke of wanting to see are actual examples of classroom practice, actual resources in use, reports of student work. I hope the coordinators will get this on the agenda
My talk was Supporting Communication in CLIL Classrooms. The presentation is linked at the foot of this page. There are examples of identifying language, mapping language in the curriculum, which is where I think CLIL should start, though interestingly these examples come from EAL and Literacy contexts, not CLIL and numerous examples of language identification and tasks where language is supported for practising content.
The materials and tasks embedded in the PPT follow (and they are zipped in a folder at the foot of the page):
Bio Q Loop.doc
Picasso Biography text.doc
trivia search blueprint.doc
I wanted to upload the presentation so colleagues could access it quickly.
Let me know your thoughts, send us your materials if you have them, I'll upload them here.
PS - there was a blog set up around the conference: https://clil2010.wordpress.com/
- The Reuterschule, Kassel, Germany
I spent a two-day visit with the teachers from this school, working with students already at work in apprenticeships, but who return for further study, through the medium of English largely with a business and economics focus but including other subjects too.
More on this initiative - CLIL for Teaching Professional and Vocational Students
CLIL in Hessen, Germany
The ‘Staatliches Schulamt’ in the city of Kassel (www.schulamt-kassel.bildung.hessen.de) organised a two day meeting for teachers of content and language integrated subjects, May 1-2, 2006.
My contribution to the two days was only for the first day, but if the intensive first day and the enthusiasm of the teachers is anything to go by it will turn out to be a very fruitful event.
and Egbert get the ball rolling…
The day began with an open lesson on Genetics with 11th grade Biology students from the Friedrichsgymnasium hosted by colleague Egbert Weisheit and observed by 20 teachers from around Hessen.
The students were hesitant to say the least, who wouldn’t be with so many teachers and a camera to film the event? After the initial introduction they warmed up nicely to the occasion and I was pleasantly surprised with the way they performed in English dealing with the topic ‘How do we make use of our knowledge of the cell?’
The students were asked to consider the advantages and disadvantages of genetic Science for humankind in the form of a ‘post its’ debate and in which all of the students contributed to the discussion.
The lesson was followed with an open forum for the teachers to discuss the lesson. Two of the students from the lesson stayed for this. The lesson itself was a tool for focusing the teachers on the issue of integrating language and content for their work in schools in Hessen. It’s an approach that the Staatliches Schulamt in Kassel has adopted and uses to great effect in its training services for teachers.
… colleagues discussing the lesson…
After lunch we moved to the Seminar building itself to look more closely at the issues related to integrating content and language. Alf Gutenberg and Hagen Riedemann as well as Egbert in their roles as training providers were keen to see that the teachers were made to actively participate in the process of the workshops.
We looked at getting students to talk in the class. We asked 'What constitutes a good listening activity?'
Colleagues investigated reading tasks.
… and we also looked at activating new vocabulary
Egbert brought along a large collection of resource and textbooks as well as CD materials for the colleagues to browse and in the computer room at the institute we gave colleagues the opportunity to browse websites where resources are available to download. We also presented colleagues with the Science Across the World programme to whet their appetites for a follow-up workshop which Egbert will offer specifically on the programme of Science Across.
It’s worth pointing out that there is a ‘bilingual’ network for teachers in Hessen which colleagues might like to look into http://www.lernen.bildung.hessen.de/faecher/bilingual/index_portal. There is also a mailing list on bilingual education for those interested, which functions in both English and German. Alf and Hagen, and two other colleagues are talking about following up in other ways, namely materials design workshops for these teachers to get them to put into practice the skills that they are developing in these initial workshops. The aim is also to fill the enormous gap in the market of materials provision for CLIL. Teachers have to do it themselves! The teachers were keen to join up to the factworld group and also inject some life into the CLIL Germany group as well.
I am looking forward to coming back to help out. On to Bulgaria!
Content and Language Integrated Learning in Germany - A Teacher Training Tour
British Council, Germany carried out a series of workshops for practicing teachers of subjects taught through the medium of English in the period 1-21 November 2003.
This is part of an initiative to support CLIL in Germany and promote Science and ELT.The Audience:500 Teachers, trainers, pre-service teachers, and pupils in ‘bilingual education’ participated in the 13 days of workshops, seminars and presentations in 8 towns and cities around Germany.
They were, in chronological order: Bad Berka, Greifswald, Berlin, Spaichingen, Kassel, Hermsdorf, Magdeburg and Ludwigsfelde.
The series of seminars presented the programme of projects offered by Science Across the World (www.scienceacross.org) as well as opportunities for networking in groups such as FACTWorld (www.factworld.info), the Forum for Across the Curriculum Teaching and discussed major issues in content and language integrated learning.
CLIL seminar themes included ‘ideas for integrating content and language’ and were advertised in a variety of ways by local hosts (‘Bilingual Modules for Cross-curricular Learning’, in Bad Berka), and this reflected the need to shape the workshops to local needs and tastes. I was extremely impressed with the work of colleagues in Bad Berka who had written five years of the History curriculum already in the English language and who were able to focus very specifically on their real needs.Other colleagues though, less experienced, were nevertheless curious about SAW.
In Greifswald pre-service colleagues have already begun to plan their practicum using the SAW materials and programme of exchange.Needs were very different in the various contexts as you might expect.
Perhaps the most varied and one of the largest over the two days was the Berlin group. Here colleagues succeeded in identifying a great need to keep on meeting and developing networks in order to ease their workload. They have already begun this process.
Much smaller though no less dynamic was the group of colleagues who met in the Spaichingen Grammar School. A young staff from two schools, this group related quickly with the issues of developing language and content methods in their teaching and expressed interest in following up on the day workshop.
The two days in Kassel were the most intensive of the whole visit with two Chemistry lessons, a Biology lesson, a ‘think tank’ discussion with colleagues in one school, and two workshops for pre-service teachers along with their mentor-trainers. It was also hugely satisfying to be involved with such a dynamic crowd and in such prestigious schools as Friedrichsgymnasium and Wilhelmsgymnasium. A host of ideas came from the two days including communicating at a regional level with Kassel’s education authorities to investigate formalised recognition for SAW in teacher training.
Colleagues in Hermsdorf met in an ‘Inn’ and this reflected the very friendly atmosphere of the whole day’s workshop. Despite difficult circumstances in education in this part of Germany (falling population of children) colleagues were optimistic and pleased to be getting involved in the SAW educational exchange programme.
Magdeburg brought together teachers seriously looking into what CLIL has to offer. A number of schools in the region have already introduced some form of CLIL or are about to so the workshop was a timely introduction to SAW, CLIL networks and materials.
The three weeks came to an end at a foreign language weekend conference in Ludwigsfelde just to the south of Berlin. And like many other places along the way colleagues were very interested in SAW materials and methods for exchange. This was clear from the 50 people who packed the small seminar room for the final presentation on SAW.
British Council Germany are keen to support CLIL and Science education in Germany and this trip has gone a long way to provide fresh ideas and also much needed opportunities for networking with other colleagues not only in other countries but also within Germany itself. I personally signed up 150 teachers to the FACTWorld group, as well as 30 schools to Science Across the World (at last count!). This networking will lead to future initiatives and provide a voice for the good work being carried out in Germany in CLIL, as well as providing opportunities for CLIL teachers to share ideas materials, get involved in more educational initiatives and develop further as a professional in often difficult circumstances.
I must say that support and organisation from the British Council Germany office has been first rate. Around 20 different train journeys, 2500 km, about 50 train hours, around 500 teachers from, my estimate, 8 subject areas not including English, all coordinated by regional trainers or teacher development coordinators and the whole thing coordinated perfectly by British Council staff (thanks Nadine!)
PS - There are plenty of other pages on FACTWorld about CLIL in Germany, take a look. There's also an interview with Egbert Weisheit in Kassel about his perspective on CLIL in Germany on Macmillan's onestopenglish.com website.
Exporing the Solar System Germany, Part II
May 14th 2004, Content and Language Workshop, Tuebingen
16 teachers came together in the Pedagogy Seminar of Tuebingen for a day’s workshop on content and language integrated learning.
The programme included Project Work – here the teachers were presented with the Science Across the World (www.scienceacross.org) programme of exchange projects, and Networking and professional development – teachers visited useful websites for resources. The teachers also joined up to the FACTWorld network of teachers (www.factworld.info).
There is already a good number of teachers in the region working through the medium of English and it was a pleasure to work with colleagues enthusiastic to join up to networks available and begin to share the good work they are doing with colleagues around the world. Katja Krey, the coordinator for CLIL in the region at the institute has suggested future initiatives and these include the possibility of repeat workshops for the teachers focussing on materials development, as well as making contacts with colleagues in other German states also working in CLIL. This will go some way to developing common curricula and standards in CLIL teaching and training.
It was also a treat to be in the beautiful university town of Tuebingen!
17 – 19th May – Staatliche Akademie fuer Lehrerfortbildung, Realschule, Donaueschingen
The British Council Germany exhibition Exploring the Solar System landed in Baden Wurtenburg, in Donaueschingen, where it was hosted in the local Realschule for three days.
Alongside the exhibition the Akademie for teacher training organised workshops for teachers and students based on the space theme. The children aged 13-15 came from the Hector Seminar initiatives for ‘gifted and talented’ children (www.hector-seminar.de).
Dr Dieter Hausamann, from the German Aerospace Centre and the School_Lab project (www.dlr.de) brought his Asuro robot for the children to build over the course of a day. At the same time a group worked with me on the British Council robot kits from Middlesex University (www.mutr.ac.uk) and we built and launched rockets. Georg and Matthias, the teachers from the Hector Seminar built a simple instrument for measuring the height of the flight of the rockets and added an extra aspect to the activity.
Finally, the students presented their constructions and observations in English to the whole group. It was admirable how they managed not only with the technical side of the workshop but also functioning and communicating in a foreign language in a group with adults, and teachers at that!
Coincidentally there was a workshop for 30 geography teachers who work through the medium of English with a regional coordinator for Geography education through English, Herr Weil. I was invited to talk to the group and they were very interested in getting involved in Science Across the World exchange projects (www.scienceacross.org) and signing up to the FACTWorld network of teachers (www.factworld.info).
Visitors to the exhibition were excited about the chance of winning a trip to London and a visit to the National Science Museum and over 250 people came along. Many thanks to Henning Seifart of the Akademie for organising the event locally and providing us with 3 days of wonderful sunshine! These two events as well as the interest of Herr Weil and Katja Krey will lead to further development in integrating content and language in Baden-Wuertemberg, Germany.
It’s astonishing how many teachers are involved in foreign language content teaching in Germany and yet how each State works very independently from the others. Initiatives like these which bring teachers, and trainers together from different German contexts is a natural step for colleagues here looking to agree common standards, discuss common problems and share materials.
I look forward to coming back to Baden-Wuerttemberg and being involved in the process.
Thuringia teacher training institute - In-service course on CLIL
The Thuringian state government has introduced legislation which makes it compulsory for Technical Vocational Schools and Grammar Schools in the state of Thuringia to offer some form of bilingual education (50 lessons in a school year). This applies to the current year 7 students, for when they reach year 9.
Colleagues inform me that the composition of these 50 lessons is at the discretion of the schools where there may be a 25 - 25 split between year 9 and 10, or 30 - 20.
I had a lovely stroll from my hotel to the centre
Sleepy Bad Berka
Rest and recuperation is it's logo
We'd negotiated a collection of language and skills focused tasks
... and it turned out to be a good idea as many of the teachers were unsure where to start
You can see lots of problems and challenges in the feedback postits below
We looked at subject - specific terminology
If there is no bilingual teacher, two teachers (one English, the other Subject) are expected to collaborate and the English teacher delivers the content lesson in English with the subject teacher's support.
Another aspect of this project is that the law insists that the bilingual teaching take place in year 9 and 10, but that the students return to German in year 11 and 12.
Maths isn't allowed to be taught through English as a foreign language, not is any examined subject.
(NB - if any of the above is inaccurate, let me know and it will be changed asap!)
I try my best to learn names (thanks for your help!)
Anka Fehling of Thillm gets us started
The technical school teachers was a large group and very diverse
I presented ideas about organizing subject-specific vocabulary into 'unit maps' like this one with all the core vocabulary and with common academic language embedded within the tree.
We discussed 'scaffolding' listening and watching and so colleagues looked at animation, like this one on secondary economic activity from onestopenglish.com, and then considered how to produce frames and tasks based on the animation.
I summarised reading task types moving from word level through to reading outside the classroom and reading for research.
Technical Vocational School Teachers from around Thuringia
We also looked at cross-curricular academic language, what it is, how to find it, and what to do with it. I used a lot of examples from the Your CLIL section of onestopenglish. My message was 'use the lists as examples, give two or three for your students to base their output on'.
... and we produced substitution tables like this to support writing ...
I always refer to this wonderful website for producing concept maps - Cmap (incidentally, if you register you get access to the thousands of maps on the site, and you can play around with embedding multiple languages into your maps.)
... in supporting students giving presentations in class, we looked at how to make handouts where the cross-curricular language is embedded within slideshow templates.
and the teachers got up, walked around and talked to each other and then we discussed creating information searches for their own subject areas. There is a nice planets info search on the onestopenglish site.
There were a lot of challenges...
and a lot of pluses
The second group was a group of bilingual grammar school teachers.
Their problems and challenges were very similar to those from the technical school teachers' group.
In short, they feel that their is little support to the bilingual project in Thuringia, they don't have books, they don't have language, nor do their students, the government isn't investing in on-going training and where there is only one teacher in a school who can do it, they are expected to get on and do it.
Quite a challenging situation. I was told that the current year 7 students will be expected to go bilingual in year 9. So, we wait and see what happens in 2013-2014 in Thuringia!
Science Across partners meet in Kassel, Germany
Fri, Nov 16th 2007
from Lyubov Dombeva, English-medium Biology teacher in Bulgaria
Here’s another event happening under the Science Across the World flag.
Last week I spent several days in the town of Kassel, Germany. I was invited there by Mr. Egbert Weisheit (a senior biology teacher and trainer, coordinator for SAW-Germany and last but not least, he’s also a FACTor!) to contribute to a teacher training seminar. It was organized by the In-service teacher training institution in the province of Hessen and supported by GlaxoSmithKline.
The event gathered teachers and trainers from Germany, Sweden and Bulgaria to discuss the European Dimensions of Teaching. Naturally SAW (www.scienceacross.org) was at the core of the talks when it comes to international exchange and collaboration and participants found out ways it can be used in both science and language classes as well as for cross-curricular teaching.
I myself showed examples of SAW projects on a number of topics done by students aged 11 to 18 years old over the past seven years, as well as how I integrated the SAW topic of Renewable Energy in the Roerich School participation in the Solar Schools Forum project. Just to remind you that the SSF website holds a huge collection of teaching materials and examples of implementation of renewables from 16 European countries, in 11 languages that are free to access at https://ises.org/what-we-do/projects/completed-projects/solar-schools-forum/.
During my stay in Kassel I also had the chance to meet Mr. Weisheit’s teacher trainee students and find out more about the two years of thorough practical work and research that prepares them for the teaching profession. They meet every fortnight to share insights, experience and teaching materials they had tried out.
I was also very happy to be warmly welcomed in the Friedrichsgymnasium Kassel that had been an exchange partner for my students for many years. For the first time students from the two schools exchanged in 2003 discussing GMO, and the last exchanges were in May and June 2007 on Climate change and Biodiversity.
I visited two Biology lessons in grade 10 – revising for a test and grade 13 – working in groups and presenting their findings to the class. I was also a special guest in an English language lesson and answered all sorts of questions from students that were curious about school life in Bulgaria.
At the end, dear FACTors, I would like to wish to you all to have the chance to meet your SAW exchange partners in person as I did. It was a rewarding experience that is to bring more collaboration in the future. If you’re still not involved in any SAW project, hurry up and join us for free by the end of the year!
Science Across the World in Heidelberg
21-22 May, 2004
Science Across the World had a stand, activities and three team members, Stefka Kitanova, Egbert Weisheit and Keith Kelly, at the EMBO 3rd International Workshop for Science Teachers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany.
41 colleagues from the 120 participants at the conference gave us their contact details to be included in our network and to be kept informed about future Science Across events. A couple of colleagues even signed up to the programme on the spot!
Up and running – the brightest stand!
There was a number of colleagues working in significant positions who were particularly interested in the programme…
Colleagues from schools in Cumbria, Rotheram, London and Ireland were interested in making links with each other and in the possibility of spreading the word of Science Across among their colleagues and local schools. Keith will look into visiting their schools himself at the nearest opportunity to help them to do this especially in Cumbria where Steve Smith at Sedbergh School is head of Biology and who will be back at the school from his sabbatical in September and who would like to get his colleagues in both science and language interested in Science Across.
There was a substantial group of colleagues at the conference from Italy and they were keen to find out about Science Across work already going on in Italy. The same was true for the largest group of colleagues from Germany of whom many saw the Science Across project as one way of meeting the growing demands of State ministries in Germany for an increase in the teaching of subject matter through a foreign language. They also included Dr Brigitte Kern-Veits (Referentin fuer Biologie, Chemie, Geographie) – supervisor ‘Oberschulamt’ for bilingual education in Tuebingen region. Brigitte was very glad to hear about Science Across and other Content and Language work in Germany and suggested that we could work together on future projects.
Another colleague, Armin Konrad, a Biology teacher from a town near to Heidelberg and who coordinates a newsletter for a network of 160-190 Biology teachers in the region suggested he could post information about Science Across in his newsletter at www.ginkgo-web.de.
Colleagues signing up
Stefka painted tongues while she investigated Supertasters among the participants at the workshop and Egbert suggested the idea of a paper for next year’s workshop focusing on the language of science. We’ll work on it and keep you posted! It was a great event in terms of feedback from colleagues about Science Across.Welcome to them all to our programme and network!
Egbert, Stefka, Keith
Science Across the World in Saxony
20-24th September 2004
I have just spent a week running teacher training workshops in Saxony. It was a really good visit, not least because I worked with near over 200 teachers over the five days from 20th to the 24th September 2004. The week of workshops was organised by the British Council (www.britishcouncil.de) in Germany and in collaboration with Science Across the World (www.scienceacross.org) - recently awarded with a European Award for Languages).
In the afternoon we ran a workshop for primary teachers on using storybooks in language education and they were offered information on signing up to Science Across.
In Dessau, home of Bauhaus, hosted by Heike Piornak, regional teacher trainer at the education authority I worked with a group of 18 year olds from the Gymnasium Philantropinum and we looked at urban life in Britain.
Dr Petra Leihe regional trainer for English in the Leipzig region had arranged two workshops to get the message out to more colleagues. Around 75 teachers came to work on Science Across materials and sign up to the programme of exchange projects. Incidentally, while we were in Leipzig we noticed that the 100th country had joined up to the Science Across programme!
Colleagues from Leipzig discuss their daily eating and drinking habits…
Our host venue was the Sports Gymnasium in Leipzig, home to a number of junior athletics world champions and a great location for a workshop.
In Chemnitz, regional trainer Petra Boden had invited a large group of colleagues from around the region and the entire group were keen to sign up to the Science Across programme.
I also spent two days in Dresden working with regional trainers Angela Schott and Jörg Schulze.
Our first venue was the 150 year old Zeignerschule...
… colleagues from Chemnitz get to grips with health statistics in Europe…
… colleagues in Dresden discuss injury deaths in young people in Europe…
One of the key points about this visit is that most of the teachers were heads of English in their respective schools, mainly grammar schools and so we're talking about hundreds of schools where other teachers are likely to be introduced to Science Across by these returning heads of section. Most of them were very interested in Science Across projects. The other thing is that they have all been asked to take on a small amount of cross-curricular work in their language teaching by the local education authorities in the state of Saxony in recent curriculum changes and I think this is perhaps the main reason for their interest in Science Across - we are offering them something which meets needs they suddenly see themselves as having.
There is bound to be a useful amount of follow up work with these teachers building on the foundations of this past week.
I think this is one of the most satisfying weeks of work I've done and the reason is that everybody there was actually there because they wanted something, and they needed something rather than because they had been invited and they could. In short, it was needs driven. Many thanks to the colleagues who looked after me so well and showed some incredible places in Saxony.
I look forward to coming back!
Space UK in Germany
Düsseldorf – 10th – 14th May 2004
The Space UK exhibition and events were formally opened by Mr Tessel, director of the Medienzentrum, Mr Folland, Deputy British Consul for the region and Mr Grishop, Head of Education at the British Council in Germany.Over 200 secondary school students from 7 schools in the region came to experience and discover the solar system at the British Council Space UK exhibition and workshops at the Medienzentrum Rheinland in Duesseldorf.
(The schools were the Gymnasium Wuelfrath, the Duisberg Laufermann Gymnasium, the Duisberg Abtei Gymnasium, Hildergardis Gymnasium in Bochum, the Humboldt Gymnasium, the Hulda Pankok Gesamtschule and the Alfred Adler Schule in Duesseldorf.)The students watched the Nick Parks classic ‘A Grand Day Out’ and then, warmed up to the idea of space travel, came to a robot building workshop where they worked in groups to construct robots from kits produced by Middlesex University Teaching Resources (www.mutr.co.uk).
The ‘Moon Wanderer'
The ‘Moon Walker’
These kits included ‘IQ’ – a programmable robot, a ‘Moon Walker’, a ‘Wandering Robot’, a ‘Moon Rover’ and several ‘Jitterbug Robots’. The students were asked to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their robots and present their robot to the whole group. Worksheets written for this activity to support students in giving their presentations.
Each of the schools was presented with Exhibition CD materials and pens as well as a robot to take away with them. Finally, students were given the chance to enter the British Council ‘Unlock the secrets of the solar system’ exhibition quiz where the winner will take their family on an all-expenses-paid trip London to visit the National Science Museum.
The ‘Moon Rover’
Students also worked on paper rocket design and launching. They were asked to consider the size, shape and structure of their rockets and how this will effect flight and they had to think up an impressive design. Prizes of CDs and pens were offered to the best rockets.The afternoon was open to teachers interested in discussing the issues in integrating language and content.
Teachers were offered an insight into the Science Across the World programme of exchanges, offered free subscription to the Science Across the World (www.scienceacross.org) programme and were introduced to the topic ‘Science Across Space’ where they were asked to investigate the cultural and social implications of space exploration and science for Germany.They were also presented with information on networks of teachers working in the teaching of EMI - English as a Medium for Instruction. This included visiting the FACTWorld website (Forum for Across the Curriculum Teaching) where teachers can find information on EMI as well as download EMI materials such as those used at this workshop.
Other sites visited were the PPARC (The Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council) website where teachers can download wonderful wall posters and teachers’ notes dedicated to the theme of Space (http://www.pparc.ac.uk/Ed/pubs.asp (go to ‘public and schools’ and ‘free publications’).
Website presentations also included the website of ASE – the Association for Science Education at www.ase.org.uk (go to ‘resources’) where teachers can find valuable materials on 6 CDs written to celebrate Science year in the UK. These CDs include the CD ‘Is there life?’ which is dedicated to the topic of space exploration, the solar system, and where students can create their own planet, create its biology, chemistry and physics and then launch their planet into the solar system to see how might get on in reality.
It sounds corny to say it, but, ‘We have lift off!’