Countries :: Qatar

Qatar - CLIL Fact Finding
Qatar - CLIL Fact Finding

Content and Language Integrated Learning in Qatar

The British Council organised a CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) fact-finding mission to Qatar, Wednesday 28th February to Thursday March 1st 2007.   The visit was part of the regional project for improving the teaching of English and building networks of English language teachers.  Within this remit there is a lot of interest in the region in CLIL and in certain areas some very substantial activities going on which are very much worth sharing.  Anne Saldanha (, Senior Teacher Adults and Teacher Training at the British Council, set up the meetings, talks and workshop of my visit to Qatar.
An interactive talk was organised to be hosted by CNAQ - College of North Atlantic campus in their lecture hall for 150 participants.  The audience here was teachers from Supreme Education Council Independent Schools, Universities, and those Ministry schools where teaching is mostly in Arabic.  The University is one of a number of English-medium Universities opening up in the country.  This sector is likely to grow here.
The talk focused on CLIL Issues and covered a range of imporant questions on integrating content subjects with a foreign language.  The interaction with the group was good and perhaps indicative of the relevance and need for this discussion on CLIL.  Some of the teachers from CNAQ were from a Canadian background and made reference to the work of Bernard Mohan - ‘the father of content and language integration’.  It’s a good idea to do a search on Mohan, there are many useful references to his work on the Net.  These colleagues are now being asked to write curriculum guidelines for their work in providing language support to the content faculties at the University.
There were representatives from managers of Independent schools, now teaching curricula through the media of English.  There was also a number of Science teachers from government schools.  This is an area of particular interest for me in Qatar since these schools are now recruiting English-medium content teachers, their teachers are working through the English language and having to deal with all the issues this raises.  I’m told that there are 60 such schools in Qatar with another 20 expected to join them with independent status and an English medium curriculum in the autumn.

What is the language of Maths?  If schools are going to be teaching their Maths curriculum through a foreign language, the systems may need to carry out broad investigations of the language demands of the subjects and prepare learning resources based on this discourse.
Top heavy or improper fractions
'This is a (fraction) in which the (numerator) is (greater than) the (denominator).'
'This indicates that the (fraction) is (greater) than (one).'
Two one-hour sessions were also organised for British Council Teaching Centre Teachers at British Council Qatar.  The focus for these meetings was similar to the aim of the visit in general – CLIL, issues, resources, networks.  There was a lot of interest in both groups in Science Across the World, and the Making the News project ( especially the Drinking Water topic which could be a good exchange to carry out in preparation for World Water Day on March 22nd, 2007.

An interesting second stop on the Middle East tour.

Am already organising a return visit to work with Independent Schools integrating Science, Maths and English.

Watch this space!

Qatar - Training for Teaching Science, Maths and IT in English
Qatar - Training for Teaching Science, Maths and IT in English

Training for Teaching Science, Maths and IT in English

The Mohammed Bin Abdul Wahab Independent High School for Boys - Doha - Qatar, Nov 3-4, 2007

Trevor Drury invited me and Dr Lida Schoen to run two days of in-service training for teachers of Maths, Science and IT.  The training took place on Saturday and Sunday November 3rd and 4th, 2007 with 30 teachers at the school.  


The former MoE school has been working as an Independent school for just a year now.  As part of the preparation for Independent status the school has had a programme of continuous training over this first year.  This has now come to an end and to all intents and purposes the school is now left to get on with the job of delivering its curriculum to its learners.  School deputy principal Trevor identified the need for input on integrating content and language within the teaching of the school.

The majority of the teachers in this school are recruited from contexts such as Egypt, Algeria, Lebanon, and Jordan and they come with a diverse range of levels of competence in English.  Though most of the teaching so far has been delivered in Arabic, the aim in the long term is that most of the curriculum be delivered through the medium of English.  In Qatar nationally 80 of the MoE schools have now been approved Independent status with more being approved each year.
Trevor Drury, Deputy Principal

What the training involved

- Introduction to Content and Language Integrated Learning

Teachers considered the role of 'guidance' of input language in reading and listening 'texts' and were asked to create a guidance instrument with a given content text.
Processing language in Science, Maths and IT

- Investigating language of Maths, Science and IT

The colleagues were presented with a number of Science and Maths materials and asked to identify the 'core' language within the materials.  The language was then taken as the basis for creating instruments to support the 'production' of language in the form of language support sheets, writing frames and others.
Identifying language for specific purposes in secondary Science

- Cross-curricular project work

The teachers were given an introduction to the Science Across the World programme.  They got their hands on a sample pack of the materials and tried out some of the tasks.  They were also invited to join the programme which is still free at the time of writing.
Lida introduces the Science Across the World programme

- A practical chemistry workshop - the role of 'communication' in education

The last part of the workshop was dedicated to a practical workshop where the colleagues had to work in multi-disciplinary teams to produce a line of their own cosmetics.  They prepared a one minute commercial for their products and then presented this to the group.  There were prizes for the best.
Presenting certificates to the teachers

Follow up

Trevor has already talked about a follow up meeting in the future which will look at materials production for specific subjects in English.  In a market where there are so few resources for teachers to work in a foreign language, they will need skills to cope with producing their own.

In addition, classroom observation with a specific focus on how language is dealt with could feed in to further training.  This could be in the form of small-scale action research for the teachers collaborating amongst themselves to support each other and give each other a mirror for their teaching.
Lida and Hani from the Lebanon

Language development for teachers

There is a clear need for language training for teachers in this context.  The provision of such language development will need to be placed within the context of teaching a specific subject if it is to be most effective and useful for the teachers.  Imagine language service providers offering courses for subject teachers who want to learn English where the language training is placed in the context of a curriculum subject.  This could be similar to the on-line course ETEMS in Malaysia (English for Teaching Maths and Science).