Basque Country

Spain - A week's inservice training for the BHINEBI project

A week's inservice training for the BHINEBI project, Durango, Basque Country
30th Nov - 4th December, 2009

Basque Primary and Secondary CLIL Project
I arrived around lunchtime on Sunday to a blustery Basque country.
Rosa Aliaga who coordinates language teacher training for the Basque government invited me to do a week's work with her project...
I took a look at rock formations on the coast.

... drove me slowly back to San Sebastian with a coffee and nibbles stop along the way.

Well, what a view ...

... great welcome to San Sebastien!

Day 1 - Monday
Rosa kicks us off with some inspiration about the INEBHI-BHINEBI project. I've always thought it was an inspiring project, truly amazing what they've achieved. There are multilingual curriculum materials for the whole age range from year 1 primary to year 4 secondary.

Day 1 of the course 20 people came together from a variety of contexts, but all either English teachers or subject teachers or BHINEBI teachers.

They came for practice in the use of the materials of the BHINEBI project as well as ideas, a refresher, the chance to meet up with like-minded colleagues...

I’d been looking forward to this week for the simple reason that the project is really good and one I use myself in my own classes in Bulgaria from time to time.


Day 2 - Tuesday

Worked on reading. I presented a number of tasks which created interaction within the reading activity. This means that the students have to talk about the text and the content with each other while reading the actual text.

We quickly realised that my programme needed to be flexible as I jumped in head first into CLIL – Identifying language demands of content when the teachers simply wanted to talk with the experienced colleagues about practical issues, how long does a unit take? How do you deal with the copying of the resources? Some of teachers had used the programme, some had never used it and because there is so much to take in, the best way to get the teachers to know the resources was to have them work in small groups dealing with individual units, focusing on specific aspects.

Wine and cheese! Please!


Then I went to the Conservatorio in Bilbao to talk to 120 hipi teachers about supporting language in the curriculum for 3 hours with Basque and Spanish translation.

They have witches in the Basque countrya bit like Baba Yaga in Bulgaria.

Then we investigated the BHINEBI resources for reading activities and the teachers were asked to identify what is asked of the students, how they should do the reading, if they thought it was a good reading task, why, if not, why.
They presented their findings back to the group.

The sun came out for a group photograph.


Day 3 Time Content
Wed   2nd Dec
14.309.30-9.45Homework focus9.45-11.15CLIL Assessment11.15-11.45Break11.45-13.15Assessment in BHINEBI13.15-14.30Preparation for internet session Homework: YLST SIG DiscussionEach unit of work leads up to a product and so each item and activity contributes in some way to a final outcome.

It was a very intensive week. I found it very hard. I think I'm getting old but doing a 5 hour session with a short break in the middle is just a bit beyond me these days, even though the coffee and pinchos were first class.


We had a half way feedback session with a post-its pros and cons activity.

I went back to work with the Hipi teachers. It was quite a challenging set up. I don't speak much Spanish, no Basque and the colleagues had come wanting ideas about supporting language in the curriculum.


Apparently the second day was better as I ran around the audience trying to get them to do a Question Loop in Spanish. There is a comic side to this. I think the audience were pleased though not to have to sit and just listen for three hours.

Day 4

Mila, Geography and English teacher, gave a presentation on how she used the BHINEBI resources in her school.

The colleagues were all ears!



... where you can hear the silence ...


It gets windy!

Day 5


Closing activities
Macmillan sent us some freebies including VPS Science and Geography! Thanks Macmillan!

Kakun! Thank you once again for the lovely DVD, my daughter loves the clowns!

Durango had a book fair on while we were there.


Outcomes included:- a googlegroup ( for the BHINEBI participants and the plan is to include more practicing teachers to the group.- a wikispace ( for Hipi teachers, I've promised to contribute where I can but I'll have to do something about my Spanish and Basque! I've already made contact with colleagues in the UK working with 'new arrivals'. Let's hope they can share good practice with Hipis in the Basque country.



Two things strike me about this experience:- the huge achievement the BHINEBI project actually is. It's a complete curriculum which gets the teacher away from the textbook, focuses on content topics, skills and concepts to teach language, and it's been written for the entire primary and lower secondary curriculum.- the draw CLIL has for teachers (Hipi teachers) working with children from none native speaker backgrounds, supporting their language in the curriculum

I'll be going back!
May - Gextelingua, June/July - Teacher Training for Hipis and Science teachers.

There are three documents linked below with examples of text, language and task from this project.