Since 2006, I have been organising Summer Courses related to Bilingual Education and CLIL. It is my belief that teachers need to find time and places to share experiences and find out new resources and ideas for their lessons, and we, as teacher trainers, should provide them with these opportunities. As school schedules are too tight, we need to wait for the Summer holidays to offer this courses which are targeted to Infant, Primary and Secondary teachers.
In 2011 I decided to give a major shift to the Summer course format, and invented what I called “Bilingual Campus”. My main idea was to have a practical course, full with workshops and hands-on activities, and with a specific section on language improvement, carried out in the afternoons. In 2013 we are proud to host the third edition, this time directed and organised by my colleagues Prof. Matthew Johnson and Prof. Josué Llull, and in collaboration with the publishing house Edelvives.
The 3rd edition will be running from 1st July to 4th July. The person in charge of the plenary was prof. Linda Gerena (York University, NYC). She has presented the findings from a research carried out thanks to a Fulbright scholarship, and in collaboration with the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Even though hers is a small-scale research, it was interesting to know
that the secondary students participating found that Bilingual Education was worth the effort, and asserted that they were not afraid of using English. This is a significant gap if we compare it with previous generations, which will run away just on thinking about how to answer a simple question in English.
Prof. Gerena has also talked about the main ‘ingredients’ of the CLIL salad. She has gone through Multiple Intelligences, Thinking Skills, Scaffolding and Resourceful materials, to name such a few. These are items we can put inside our teaching ‘toolbox’ and use in our classes, but we need to provide teachers with them first. In my opinion, it is also necessary to have the tools to know when and where to apply one or another, which is not always easy.
Next session was run by Prof. Jesús Aguado, one of my colleagues at the University. He is a Doctor in Theoretical Physics, and it is always a pleasure to see him work. In an entertaining session full of resources
and good humour, he has put forward the idea of ‘every place is a lab’ and ‘every person is a scientist’. Following a CLIL scheme, he has put Science down from the pedestal, and has given us many ideas to teach Science with hands-on experiences we can all bring to our lessons.
The afternoon session was a mystery tour around our town, Alcalá de Henares, a historical place full of hidden places. My colleagues Josué Llull, Ana Reina, James Crichlow and Matt Johnson had prepared a wonderful itinerary to discover the most beautiful places in our town. Participants have had the chance to meet historical characters 🙂 and
had to solve riddles to know where the next stop was, until they finally reached the famous façade of the historical Universidad de Alcalá. The tour has been really nice and enjoyable, and I’m sure the participants have learnt a lot about Alcalá, its places and famous people.
Let’s see what happens tomorrow!