Attention to diversity in bilingual education


This is not my first post on this topic. Long ago I highlighted the need to provide educators and people in general with empirical evidence to demonstrate that CLIL programmes work even in disadvantaged contexts. However, I reckon  that we still have a long way to go before CLIL is open to anyone and not only to the socially privileged students.  Needless to say a crucial factor is the process of selection carried out at schools. In this sense, we can see a  rising trend in open CLIL programmes in European countries. 

As Professor Christiane Dalton-Puffer states, "CLIL classrooms are  becoming more inclusive places where subject content needs to be made accessible to a wide variety of learners regardless of their socioeconomic status,  educational background or academic achievement level".

Next Monday she will present the ADiBE project, aimed at making bilingual education a more inclusive reality for all. 

I am sure this will be a unique opportunity to learn about how to tackle attention to diversity in our CLIL settings. The event is for free. You can read more about it and register here

My sincere and heartfelt thanks to Professor Dalton-Puffer for her contribution to this pivotal issue which we are so concerned about. 

CLIL in languages other than English


It is hard to believe that another academic course is coming to an end.  Last  CLIL seminar session took place on May 31st and it was a memorable event due to several reasons: there were  LOCIT presentations that showed students' CLIL outcomes in different subjects, we presented the tools for UDL implementation,   teachers  highlighted the benenefits of professional networking and insisted on  the need to keep on taking part in teacher training sessions throughout their teaching professional life.

If I had to choose one of the many conclusions teachers have drawn regarding CLIL practice, I would say that the most  crucial one is that they have confirmed  there are successful transferences or transitions among languages. In the seminar sessions we have presented plenty of methodological clues for making the subject area comprehensible for students and these clues are valid in languages other than English. This is the reason why Basque and English teachers working together  with the subject teachers will make the most of the CLIL approach. I must say that Basque schools are already paving the way for a true development of a plurilingual competence. Still, there is a long way to go. 

French is the second foreign language in most of our schools and there are some subject teachers who are implementing their subject in French so I will try to contribute by listing some useful resources to facilitate their EMILE practice:

-  A basic resource on EMILE is available here 

This is a powerful blog with practical resources in French. If you wish, enter here to access resources for Secondary students. 

-  A website on plurilingual education in French can be found here

Last but not least, the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe is currently developing a project on CLIL in languages other than English. If you visit their website, you will find the project description and the outcomes in English, French and German. If you enter this link, you will access a great number of resources in different languages. 

From these lines, my heartfelt thanks to the authors of the aforementioned projects, which  are essential to see CLIL as a way to promote excellence in language education.  

International Conference on Bilingual Education 2021


Professor Do Coyle delivered a keynote conference in Decemeber 2021  (Taiwan Bilingual Conference 2021).  

In this session she explored the implications for change and development in pedagogic thinking which are urgently needed in our multilingual classrooms to enable our young people to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to be active, contented global citizens in the ‘here and now’ and the near future. Therefore, both subject teachers and language teachers should be involved in this challenge.

How can we do it? Professor Coyle provides educators with essential clues so as to "teach for deeper learning" across all language and subject areas.

She kindly  agreed to release this keynote speech and make it public for all CLIL practitioners. You can listen to it below these lines:

If you wish to access the slides of her talk, just enter here

Our deepest gratitude to Dr. Do Coyle and to the Center for Research on Bilingual Education at the National Taipei University of Education, which hosted this Conference on December 4th 2021, sponsored by Taiwan's Minsitry of Education.



On May 3rd we will have our second seminar session on Assessment in CLIL.  As you will remember, on April 5th  we focused on the importance of prioritizing formative assessment over summative assessment and the tools to put it into practice, making special emphasis on the need to combine teacher's assessment with self and peer assessment . We also provided  attendees with some examples of learner-friendly CLIL tests, which could be described as tests that include visual support to facilitate students' understanding of the tasks. 

Our next session on this challenging issue, will be a Q and A session in which we will pose a series of essential questions about assessment and we will ask you to answer them by considering  what you have learnt through  your CLIL practice.

Needless to say that we are not thinking of making you suffer by stressing you out. We expect to find the most suitable answers to key issues related to assessment among all participants. The most recent  research and publications on the topic will be of great help to walk on safe ground. 

Therefore, below these lines you can find  the questions  so that you can think them over and be ready to take part in our virtual panel discussion next Tuesday:

- Which types of assessment can you think of? When and what for?

- How can we identify effective assessment?

- What do we assess: content or language or both?

- What tools can be used for assessment?

- How can we assess previous knowledge and progression?

- How can I deal with learning difficulties?

- How can we minimize the effect of the language or lack of it in the content assessment?

- How can we assess the skills/processes/competences? 

- How can we assess group work? 

- Who assesses?

- Do you give students feedback on their language? How?

- Should we provide students with assessment criteria when they present or write in the subject area? If so, how?


 Looking forward to meeting you all on May 3rd and listening to your ideas on the aforementioned questions. 



The new call for Multilingual Projects allows schools to start or continue developing a subject through the medium of English. I have been working on this for 18 years now and I am really pleased to say that school teachers and students have provided me with very positive feedback on the outcomes of the project. In short, students feel more motivated to learn the language because they are actually doing something with it, whereas teachers do not have to struggle to keep students' attention. 

Some  schools in the area where I work are asking for the project for the first time. I have been delivering specific training for them  in order to let them know about the main ingredients each CLIL unit must include. However, I am aware that this powerful dish needs longer cooking time so allow me to share a masterclass by Lola Reeves Garay Abad, teacher and teacher trainer from Trinity College. I am sure she will shed light on what CLIL is about.


 From these lines, my heartfelt thanks to Lola  on her inspiring talk. 

Looking forward to meeting CLIL teachers on our next seminar session on April 5th. We will continue with the LOCIT model (Lesson Observation and  Critical Incident Technique): three schools will show their students' classroom practice and, as usual,  their outcomes will be effective tools on self- reflection and professional growth. 

Apart from this, we will focus on Feedback and Assessment in CLIL. We will be presenting some examples of CLIL-friendly tests and all seminar members will have the opportunity to share what type of  assessment they carry out and its outcomes. 



International Women's Day (IWD) is an annual global campaign marked on 8 March that celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality. Each year the IWD campaign has a new theme, and in 2022 the theme will be #BreakTheBias. The following lines can be read on  every  IWD platform as an introduction to the topic:


Imagine a gender equal world.

A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.

A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

A world where difference is valued and celebrated.

Together we can forge women's equality.

Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.

Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day.

We can break the bias in our communities.

We can break the bias in our workplaces.

We can break the bias in our schools, colleges and universities.

Together, we can all break the bias - on International Women's Day (IWD) and beyond.


How can we collaborate to break the bias? You  and your students can take part in the campaign proposed by IWD 2022 Partners in many different ways.  Have a look at the different options  here


Do you need any downloadable resources for your classroom? I hope these wil be helpful for you:

Resources for the Primary classroom:

  • OXFAM resources : these activities can easily be adapted to suit the needs of younger and older students. 
  • Play with these Classroom Activity cards: use them  to engage children  in activities and conversations that foster an inclusive mindset. Apart from using the ones provided, invite your  students to add their own IWD activity for friends and/or family. Then, share them with students from other classrooms, place them on the school walls and upload them onto the school website.

Resources for both Primary and Secondary classrooms:


 The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts  has  released an  impactful  resource. There are three categories of activities within the pack:

  • Understanding Gender: exploring gender roles and stereotypes.
  • Women’s rights are Human Rights: exploring the concept of rights and why they are important.
  • Gender & Climate Change: exploring how climate change disproportionately affects women and girls.

The pack materials are aimed at children aged:

  • between 6 - 11 years
  • between 12 - 15 years
  • 15 years and above
You can download the pack here. 


Resources for the Secondary classroom: 


Global Dimension platform provides educators with a wide variety of resources on IWD: 

- Global Learning Programme Resources for Science teachers at Secondary level can be downloaded from here

- You will find Gobal Learning Programme Resources to develop Literacy  here.   The proposals will be specially useful if you teach Language, Global Issues, PSHE or Ethical Values. For those of you who are working on the reading plan, the last activity focuses on a proposal which students will carry out in  the library of the school. It can be used in any language. 

-  If you teach History, this is your pack of resources to celebrate IWD. 

- Math teachers will find some ideas here .


   Let's break the bias together! 

Writing in the content areas (ii)


My previous post aimed at highlighting the importance of working with text type models and providing students with frames that scaffold their written production. 

Today I would like to share my "Ten commandments" for writing across the curriculum:

1) Spend the necessary time to make students see that they are going to have a clear purpose for their writing task.  CLIL provides a purpose for language use so this will not be a difficult aim to achieve. 

2) Deconstruct text models with students, that is, analyze the structure of the text, the use of specific vocabulary and linking words, the way arguments have been used to support the leading statement, etc.  You can see an example here

3) Allow some time for students to generate ideas and organize them in the classroom. I suggest that they should work with online dictionaries to help them face vocabulary issues while you monitor the process and answer their questions related to text structure,  sentence patterns, connectors, paraphrasing and so on.

4) Offer a wide range of writing tasks. The reason is obvious: learners learn by doing. 

5) Do not link all writing to assessment.  Students need to see that they write to learn but they should not feel anxious.  

6) Provide students with scaffolding. Needless to say that when the learner can perform the task independently, the scaffolding  should be gradually taken away. 

7) Integrate writing tasks with different activities they have been doing : write about something they have read or about a video they have seen, a  visit to the Museum, an experiment, etc.

8)  Find an audience or a reader different from the teacher. There are different ways you can do this: they can share their productions with other students in the same class or they can include their pieces of writing int he school magazine, for instance. 

9) Do not limit your feedback to the end of the writing process. Tell students they are progressing while they are writing (if you allow time for writing in the classroom, which I strongly recommend)

10) Do pair work, do peer workthe brainstorming and planning can be done in pairs. This will also be a natural way to integrate skills because students will be talking.   Introduce peer-assessment too, asking students to say something they liked about their peers' written production and something they could improve or is missing. Remind them that they should pay attention to content and not only to accuracy. You can hand out this simple tool to students so that they fill it in after  reading  their classmates' written work. 

Looking forward to knowing  about your  viewpoint on each of the  "commandments" from the list above. 

Writing in the content areas (I)


I am aware that CLIL teachers are very concerned about students' written productions across the  curriculum. Therefore, today I am  going to start by sharing the conclusions of a  research which   was  carried out two years ago in Granada.   The participants were  a total of 112 students who  were in   the fourth year of Secondary Education. All of them came from public schools. 

The groups were organized into: ‘CLIL group’ ,who studied their Secondary educational period following a CLIL pedagogical approach in English,   and ‘Non-CLIL group’,  who studied their Secondary educational period in Spanish, being the subject of English as  a foreign language a part of the official curriculum for Secondary Education.  All participants were Spanish native speakers and learners of English as a L2 ranged in age between 15        and 16 years old, which means that age was  not a factor that influenced the results.

As the analysis of the written productions of the students proved, the  CLIL group outperformed the non-CLIL group in relation to the written competence. 

Hence, it can be stated that the implementation of the CLIL approach has a positive effect on the written competence in a second language. These findings are limited to this particular study but we can claim that  there are  numerous studies that have drawn similar conclusions.

Nevertheless, if we analyze the errors in the CLIL group, we clearly see that we must keep on trying to find the most effective ways to motivate students to write and  ease their  writing process.

(Professor Silvia Corral Robles from the University of Granada has kindly shared her research paper with all of us. You can access it from here).   

In this first post on writing in the content areas,  I would like to highlight the importance of  purpose-driven writing.  Therefore, before considering how to provide students with frames to support their writing, let's begin by analyzing what type of texts our students need to write in specific content areas. Different authors classify  CLIL texts into different types but for the scope of this entry I will just share a couple of  tools that will be enough to foster our personal reflection on the issue:  

  • the first tool is from, a very useful platform that comprises a range of creative, engaging and effective approaches to support Secondary teachers across all subjects. You can click here to see this tool on CLIL text types.      

Once students have understood there are different text types with their different purposes, work with examples: show students good  examples  and ask them to think about the features that make them say it is a good piece of writing. Why not show students weak examples too?  My students loved this mixture and they were able to identify why some texts are effective whereas others are not.

When we host our next  online seminar,  we will see how many of the aforementioned text types your students are producing or have to produce and we will provide you with a variety of writing frames that will make the  task easier.  For those of you who may not be familar with the concept of writing frames, you can have a look at this  example for Geography and History  and this one for Science.

Looking forward to knowing  about your personal experience and  classroom strategies so as to improve students'  writing competence across the school subjects.  



First things first:

Happy New Year to all readers! 

I am sure you will have guessed that this post is going to focus on one of the topics for our  January seminar session, i.e., teacher talk strategies to make content comprehensible for students. Undoubtedly, effective questioning is one of those strategies because it enables the teacher to keep students' attention and increases learners' engagement in the class. I wrote a previous post about this topic a few years ago. You can read it here

Below these lines, I would like to share my personal decalogue on Do's and Don'ts regarding effective questionning in any content area:

1. Provide students with enough time to answer your question: not every learner processes thinking at the same speed. (This was  demonstrated in the early 1970s through deep  research  conducted by  a giant in the field of Education: Mary Budd Rowe. You can access it here. )

2.Try to include "fat" questions as often as possible. They will increase students' thinking skills and  make room for discussion and debate among students. Do you need ideas on how to create them? I hope this list  I have written will be useful. 

3. Do plan your questions in advance. Needless to say that you will always have to improvise some of your questions depending on the students' responses  but you know that one crucial ingredient of effective teaching is planning. 

4. Avoid the "hands-up" approach as much as possible. What can you do instead? At least, I can think of the following : 

- Ask students to prepare their answers in pairs or small groups after having given  the question some thought.

- Ask a question, pause for some seconds for  all students to think of  an answer and then call a student's name at random.

5. Encourage students' questions and replies to each other's questions and responses.

6. Give positive feedback even if students' answers are not on the right track. Try giving some clues or examples  so that the student realizes his answer was not accurate and starts a self-correcting process. 

7. Avoid excessive praise since this may discourage other students who are not so skillful at answering. 

8. Focus on one question at a time. Thus, you will be able to offer the  specific language support they need for their responses.

9. Create a trustworthy learning environment so that students  do not feel anxiety if they do not provide you with the right answer.

10. Show that you are interested in students' responses. Your facial expressions and non-verbal language in general are bound to be helpful for learners to gain trust and improve their reponse while they keep on talking. 

I said  I would offer my personal decalogue so my post should finish here. 

Looking forward to knowing about your questioning strategies  in our seminar session on January 18th.

Further reading:

CLILSTORE: A store of copyleft CLIL materials


Next Tuesday we will meet for our last CLIL seminar session in 2021 and we will focus on preparing students across the curriculum for their final term oral presentations. As in every online session, we will peep into the most useful ICT resources to help your students with their oral outcomes. Besides, we will also talk about new CLIL units which you can access for free from different sources. One of these sources deserves special attention due to its  wide range of units for different language levels and topics: Clilstore.

The project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and partners from several countries, including Spain (Valencia) have  worked hard  to offer all CLIL teachers  this amazing platform where you are bound to find motivational resources for your classrooms.  

Clilstore uses Wordlink, a tool  which links arbitrary webpages automatically, word by word with online dictionaries. And Wordlink in turn uses Multidict, a multiple dictionary lookup facility which makes use of freely available online dictionaries. Both Wordlink and Multidict were developed as part of the European funded POOLS-T project (2008-2010) and their development is continuing as part of the present COOL project.

This video shows how both students and teachers can enjoy the full range of resources provided by Clilstore: 


My heartfelt congratulations to all participants in Clilstore project. There is no doubt that their hard work has clearly paid off. 


Is this the first time your students hear about this date? Ask them and if this is the case, start from here. Let   students read the introductory passage to the lesson plan  and after reading it, ask them to answer the following question in pairs:

"Why is November the 25th the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women?" 

Once students know about the ultimate goal of the international campaign to end  gender-based violence, tell them that you are going to focus on "Teen Dating Violence"Below these lines, I will be providing you with different activities for you to choose  depending on the number of sessions you wish to spend

One of the many ways to work on this topic is through interactive resources. A very powerful website is "That's not cool": it is dedicated to decreasing teen dating violence due to technology, and  increasing awareness for healthy teen relationships online. The same as in the previous stage, you can start with a question: "What is the difference between a healthy and an  unhealthy relationship?"  Ask them to brainstorm  ideas in pairs and represent them in a visual  way they choose. For example:

After sharing their concepts of healthy versus unhealthy relationships, tell them that they are going to play an interactive game called "Coolnotcool". This interactive  quiz engages teens in a dialogue about teen dating abuse by putting the power in their hands. By doing the quizz, students will review  some  fictional dating scenarios and  decide for themselves whether those interactions are ‘cool’ or ‘not cool.’ 

If you are into  Q & A, you can explore the Speak Up section from "That's not cool" and let students spend some time reading the questions and answers. Encourage them to take a stand on the issues and add a question to the list on the page. 

For those  of you who are ready to develop  some more sessions on this topic, which would be well worthwhile, this pdf contains several activities which will enable students to gain an insight into healthy relationships - the ultimate prevention against abuse. 



We are living in a world where content knowledge, communication, cognitive skills, and culture are key for every citizen. Therefore, all students are in need of opportunities that help them develop the aforementioned.   Why am I starting this blog entry like this? Well, I would like to do my bit and contribute to debunk the idea that CLIL is elitist. As a matter of fact,  CLIL seems to  curb the influence of students’ SES (Socioeconomic status)  on their language learning and motivation, thus creating a more inclusive learning context.

I am aware that the only way to shed some light into the question of whether CLIL  is at odds with inclusion or not is through empirical evidence so I have decided to share the latest research on the issue with the readers of this blog. That is why today I would like to recommend this article by  Professor María Luisa Pérez Cañado: "CLIL and elitism: myth or reality?", in The Language Learning Journal. No doubt her thorough research will toss  most common fears aside. 

Apart from latest research on the topic, experts on the field of CLIL and inclusive education are offering webinars to let teachers know about the way to develop good  CLIL practice for all learners. This is the case  with  a  webinar  organized by Pearson: "the 4 C's of CLIL with Inclusion in Mind ". On November 24th and 25th Jennifer Schmidt will provide participants with suggestions on how ALL students can improve language and cognitive skills through CLIL. You can read the objectives of the webinar and register here.

From these lines, my most heartfelt thanks to Maria Luisa Pérez Cañado and Jennifer Schmidt  for their invaluable contribution to such a crucial matter  as Inclusive Education is . 



Our second seminar session will take place on November 16th and we will try to  give a clear insight into the most useful ways to make students acquire subject-specific vocabulary. Right now,  I would like to share this list of online dictionaries with all CLIL teachers and I would also like to let you know about the  fourth edition of  Oxford Student's Dictionary.  This dictionary is aimed at intermediate to advanced learners of English. It has a particular focus on curricular vocabulary and includes the words you need to study other subjects such as Art, Computing, Science, Geography, History, Literature, Maths, Sport and much more.

You can access the curricular videos and 360-degree interactive images that accompany the dictionary on this page.

Using dictionaries is an essential part of the process when we talk about vocabulary instructional strategies. However, providing a description or an explanation of the term is only the first step of the process. It goes beyond the scope of a blog entry to analyze such a process so we can  recap by saying that  reading and instruction on subject-specific vocabulary are the key to overcoming students' difficulties with academic content.   This is easy to say but how can it be done? Fortunately, there is  what could be called  "a toolbox of vocabulary strategies " that work and you will be provided with them throughout  our  seminar sessions.  

Looking forward to meeting you online on November 16th.



Dear CLIL lovers

It is a true pleasure to let you know about an important new feature of the CLIL Seminar at Secondary level: it will be held online on a monthly basis  so that teachers from Bizkaia, Araba and Gipuzkoa  can take part in it.  Thus, we will create a poweful network that enables all of us to improve our teaching practice. 

Please, follow this link to register as soon as possible because the first session will be starting on October 26th. 

You can read about the objectives of the seminar sessions  and calendar below these lines:


 - To help teachers with their daily practice by facilitating materials and  ICT tools for the different subjects they are teaching in English

- To work on academic language and subject specific vocabulary

- To pave the way for the development of pluriliteracies across the curriculum

- To give teachers useful information about conferences, different types of events and webinars related to their classroom practice and professional development

- To provide teachers with a network so that they can share classroom practice and materials with other teachers


MARCH 15th
MAY 24th


From 15:00 to 17:00 p.m. on Tuesday afternoons



Today I would like to focus my post on critical thinking skills in any content area. By now all of you know that I am a firm believer in the importance of  appropriate classroom  questions. Following critical thinking essentials,  I will try to show you some powerful evidence to support my belief. In order to do this, I will  share the outcomes of a recent research entitled " Effective questioning in CLIL classrooms: empowering thinking".  

The research was conducted by  Professor Rebecca Valverde.  I would like to congratulate her on this powerful research  and I highly recommend that should read it by entering this link. In short, the research aimed at determining whether stimulating higher-order thinking in CLIL classrooms  would result in a significant improvement in student outcomes. The results showed that this methodological intervention succeeded in its aim, as a marked improvement in student responses was achieved. These findings highlight the value of optimizing the use of questions to foster critical thinking and empower students for the knowledge economy in which we live.

Rebecca's reader-friendly paper includes a wide range of examples for  students aged 9 and 10 years old. I reckon that you will be able to adapt them to fit your Secondary classroom contexts  but I have written this worksheet with some examples for different content areas at Secondary level. I hope you will find it useful. 

Last but not least, keep in mind what the greatest critical thinker said: