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CLIL in Catalonia: An Overview

Francesca Vidal Santallusia of the Department of Education, Generalitat de Catalunya takes us through how CLIL is implemented in Catalonia, teacher training provision and further information available on the CIREL website.

Context
Drawing on small CLIL initiatives and on the experience and expertise gained through long-standing immersion programmes for Catalan as an additional language, the Department of Education of the Generalitat de Catalunya has been fostering CLIL implementation since 1999 with the launch of projects designed to improve the quality of the teaching and learning of foreign languages. Within this framework, public announcements addressing state schools in Catalonia have been made to call for bids for innovative projects on specific issues. CLIL has been one of the innovation lines.

In Catalan public secondary schools with CLIL experiences, the content is taught by the teacher of the non-language subject matter, and in the time allocated for the subject matter using the foreign language as the medium of instruction. In primary schools the subject matter is taught mainly by the teacher of English, but also in the time devoted to the non-language subject matter.

Professional development
Teachers participating in innovation projects take part in decentralised compulsory teacher training courses throughout the first year of the project, offered by The In-service Teacher Training Unit of the Department of Education. The course focuses on methodology issues and offers guidelines for CLIL lesson planning and CLIL material design. During the second and third year of the project, teachers design the materials required for thirty-five CLIL lessons and go through the implementation process.
There have been two other professional development activities under the framework of the paid-study leaves yearly announcement addressed to CLIL teachers. Taking part in these activities implies that the teachers stay in UK or France, and that they design teaching materials that include the activities or worksheets addressed to students, the lesson plans and the teachers’ guidelines covering from 12-35 teaching hours, depending on the length of the stay.

Professional development at home
Since CLIL started, in 1999, until last school year, we had been most dependent on foreign university experts for CLIL teacher training. The increasing number of teachers participating in teacher training activities exceeded what centralised actions could bear, and a strategy was designed to count on CLIL trainers from our system.

The Train the CLIL Trainer programme, addressed to English CLIL practitioners, started in July 2008 with a group composed by 20 expert CLIL teachers from primary and secondary education. The programme consisted of a 4-day face-to-face course in July and 4 full-day sessions from September to December 2008. In this period the trainers worked in pairs or groups designing their training Portfolios to be used in the CLIL teacher training courses that started in January and will end in June.

CLIL methodology
As for the methodology used, either in CLIL teacher/trainer training or in CLIL implementation in mainstream education, we have adopted Do Coyle’s 4 C’s framework because of its consistency, but also because it fits with the new curriculum requirements. Since one of the main new issues of our curriculum is the focus given to the development of basic competences, we have added a fifth 'C' for competences when planning CLIL tasks.

Alongside the training on CLIL methodology, The In-service Teacher Training Unit of the Department of Education started a programme to ensure that subject teachers have the linguistic requirements needed for the implementation of CLIL within the Innovation Programmes.

Teaching and Learning 
The main provision of interesting practice and materials for English CLIL implementation comes from the experiences of teachers and students participating in innovation projects, mainly in English, and also from the outcomes of specific teacher training actions addressed to teachers within the programmes.

As for French CLIL implementation, a new action plan started in 2006-2007, coordinated by the Servei de Llengües of the Department of Education. Groups of subject teachers, French teachers and educational advisors have been working together to develop CLIL materials.

The work done by practitioners during these years has been collected and uploaded on the Centre of support to Language Innovation and Research in Education (CIREL) website, and constitutes now quite a bulky valuable collection of material that serves two purposes: to motivate other teachers to take the CLIL approach and to fill in teacher development actions with practical content and examples that ease the understanding of CLIL concepts and make teachers feel they belong to a community that is continuously contributing with materials and experiences.

The materials can be found under the menu items: Llicències C or Llicències D; the former correspond to blocks of subject content that cover 35 teaching hours, and the latter from 12 to 15 teaching hours.
Besides, general catalogues for English and French CLIL can be found under the menu item Links (Enllaços). These contain links to the abovementioned materials as well as to publications, CLIL-oriented sites and more specific Delicious catalogues, French and English, which have mainly been built with resources referenced and/or used by teachers when designing materials. 

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