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European CLil in Development: A Primary Phase Consortium

Research into second language learning indicates the benefits of introducing languagesto children at an early age. Adopting a CLIL (Content Language Integrated Learning)approach has the potential to deepen children’s cultural understanding and offer themauthentic language learning opportunities.An initial needs assessment in five countries identified support for teacher educatorsworking with colleagues developing CLIL-based approaches within the secondary phasebut little existing support for those involved in the primary phase. The consortium,comprising members from six institutions concerned with initial teacher education, hasformed to support primary teacher educators in introducing and developing CLILpedagogies with their student teachers. The main products include: a profile of aprimary CLIL teacher (a development of the European Foreign Language TeacherProfile); an online portfolio (a monitoring/assessment tool) enabling student teachers torecord their achievements and areas for development, and the tutor to monitor thestudent teacher’s progress and identify where support is required; a series of trainingpackages, on predetermined CLIL areas enabling teacher educators to address a rangeof primary CLIL issues with student teachers. These will include commentaries onusage of video footage of student or experienced teachers trialling and exemplifyingCLIL strategies within primary classrooms.Training materials will be produced in each of the five main languages of the consortium(namely Spanish, German, Polish, Italian and English). There is potential to adapt theproducts for direct use by speakers of other languages.The impact envisaged for this project is substantial. Teacher educators are ideallyplaced within their own institutions to influence the teaching practices of several cohortsof student teachers, and therefore subsequent generations of future teachers.Moreover, existing interest in the potential of this project and support at local andnational levels, to assist in the dissemination process is forthcoming from such bodiesas the TDA, CILT and UCET in England, local authorities (aside from Berlin) in Germanyand similar institutions within Spain, Italy and Poland which are responsible foreducational matters including the in-service training of teachers.

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