My Techno-Clil EVO 2017 a new challenge, a great opportunity

My name is Manuela Basurto and I teach French in Naples in upper secondary school. I have always been fascinated by Clil project but, being a language teacher, I have never had the concrete opportunity to subscribe a course so when I heard about this Techno-Clil online course open to every teacher, I thought this was an opportunity I couldn't miss... Moreover I am fond of technologies applied to teaching. I think it is usefull and necessary to integrate them in our lessons. As teachers we cannot underestimate the infinite possibilities our times give us and even though at the beginning they could confuse us it is only because new things can destabilize .

After enrolling the course I was ready to start (actually I couldn't wait to). The first week has been like discovering a new world. Everything from the platform to the materials proposed and to the tasks given was so new and sometimes disorienting and the facebook community has been a great and comforting support to solve big little problems and even to feel less stupid if I didn't manage to do something due to a technical problem rather than to my little experience.

In my opinion, one of the many strengths this course has is to "force" to use technologies ... it is a real learning by doing strategy. In fact I had to to many things I had never done before and I was still not concious this was only the beginning :-)

I used for the first time in my life Padlet, falling in love with it. I read all the materials about Clil and I followed with great interest the webinairs.

We arrived in week 2 with its materials and tasks. We were asked to talk about our favurite webtool.

It was hard to choose one among so many but finally I decided that Audacity could be considered if not my favourite at all the one I mostly use... But this week has also been inspirating for its reflections on team teaching, teacher collaboration in CLIL and, most of all, for the illustration of Meyer's Clil pyramid. This pyramid shows the stages in planning a CLIL lesson.

Week two was also about reflecting on the power of technologies in teaching . In my opinion technologies and CLIL can be strictly interconnected. Even though, of course, it is possible to plan a good lesson without the use of modern technologies such as webtools and similar, it is highly recommendable to use them in order to offer the students a motivating lesson.

Technologies offer a wide range of opportunities. For exemple, both students and teachers could download or upload videos, share pictures and documents, interact in blogs, start partnerships with students from the other side of the world, record lessons or discussions etc. The range of opportunities is really big and it is up to the learning community to make the most of this chance.

Honestly I cannot imagine elements who could be considered as “cons”. Without doubts everything depends on the use we do of the tools we have.

In my personal experience I have often used and encouraged the use of technologies, both in secondary lower and higher school and also in adult teaching. I have given hints, ideas and I have been given, in many cases, much more than I had. One immediate result is the enthousiastic involvement of students in lessons and the idea of co-operation with the teacher and with the schoolmates.

What I found most useful in week three were the exemples given of clil lessons for various subjecs (history, philosopphy, art ...). This time the assigment was to create a lesson plan on Learning Designer, a webtool projected by London Knowledge Lab. I worked on a lesson plan about the Victorian Age. We were not only asked to create a lesson plan but also to evaluate a colleague's work. Moreover we had to reflect on the activity we had chosen by completing a grid.

Week four has been definitely the most demanding one. It was entirely dedicated to Er, Extensive Reading. The assignment was to plan a lesson according to ER approach. I choose Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

My idea of Extensive Reading is really positive. As everybody knows learning is possible and gives the best results when the student is involved in what he/she is doing and if he/she finds some interest in it. Especially in terms of motivation. If a student reads a book not to collect notions but because he/she likes the book, motivation will be high and he/she will almost forget that the learning process is in course. I have never tried extensive reading with my students but I think that all the activities I could plan and propose would be a subsequent step. First of all I would recommend the students to enjoy reading for the pleasure reading can give. Then make the most of what they’ve learnt. In the project I have worked on this fourth week, in fact, the focus is on the pleasure a good book could give according to the age, to the interests and to the individual appreciation of the activity proposed. Reading cannot be an imposition or a task to be completed, you as a reader have to be involved in the activity. If you enjoy the plot you go on reading page after page without even realizing you are: enriching your vocabulary (you even learn words you don’t understand as the understanding of them will magically appear days after), improving your fluency, acquiring linguistic structures and transforming them into “habits”. As a teacher I know my role should seem marginal but it actually is fundamental. A teacher is not asked to “ invade” the time and space students dedicate to reading, he/she can be seen as a guide and as a motivator. The centrality of the student has to be preserved in order not to waste an opportunity.

When a journey begins you are conscious the end will come but you also know that every journey is an opportunity and, at its conclusion, you'll be different.

One of the most interesting materials is on Flipped Classroom, an innovative teaching strategy which I am sure will have great developpement in the next future.

And finally there is this work I am preparing right now, a reflection on my experience in Techno-Clil. It has not been easy, the moments of discouragement have been so many (even starting this last assignement has been time consuming) but I am proud of myself for not giving up and for my determination in going on. I have learnt a lot, met new "friends", changed my perspective...

Thanks Letizia and Daniela for this opportunity.

Thanks to the community for mutual help and support.

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Manuela Basurto

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