Sunday, 2 May 2021



The TESOL Italy Val d'Adige-Etschtal Local Group invites all of us to the online event The sixth Symposium on CLIL in the Adige Valley "From International to Local" co-organized and hosted by the  Department of Humanities and Philosophy of Trento University . It will take place on Friday May 14th 2021 from 14:00 to 16:00 (CET) via Zoom.

You can access the flyer here. In order to register for the event for free, click here  and choose the promotional memebership option. 

My heartfelt thanks to Jennifer Hill, coordinator of the Local group, for sharing this wonderful event with us. 

Friday, 16 April 2021

SOL'S 30th Anniversary Festival


 Dear CLILers: 

Keith Kelly has sent  Factworld members  this e-mail and I am copying it below these lines so that you can know about a superb initiative related to CLIL: 


I'm going to be doing a talk on CLIL Projects for a fund-raising event on Monday. If you are free and interested, you can register via this link:

It's free, but donations are welcome at the Just Giving page link in the advert

SOL - Share One Language is a tremendous institution which has been offering accessible opportunities to teachers and learners for many years, and the current pandemic circumstances have made things extremely difficult for them to keep things afloat.

Please share if you have friends and colleagues who might be interested to join the rich programme of talks, and / or might contribute.

Thank you very much for sharing this  with us,  Keith.  

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

The Psychological Experience of Integrating Content and Language


Multilingual Matters  has recently published  a  book  which brings together a wide range of empirical chapters on  both the psychological strains and benefits related to teaching and learning a subject through a second or other language.

The studies encompass a range of areas, such as Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), Foreign Language Medium of Instruction (FMI), bilingual education and other related approaches to integrating content and language.

They feature a variety of psychological constructs, including identity, self-confidence, motivation, self-concept, teacher and learner beliefs, affect, anxiety, stress, mindsets, attributions and well-being, from the perspectives of both teachers and learners. 

I reckon you will smile when you see that we have been talking about the aforementioned issues in our CLIL seminar sessions.  For instance, Professor Erwin M. Gierlinger has written a  very clarifying chapter on one of our  main concerns: "L2 Confidence in CLIL Teaching: A Tale of Two Teachers".

Therefore, this  book is essential reading for anyone interested in ensuring that teachers and students are properly supported and that their experiences of integrated content and language settings enable them to come to fruition. 

You may wish to have a look at the contents of the book before buying it and before  we can have the chance to meet again. When we do, I suggest starting with professor Gierlinger's chapter because once again he gives a very clear insight into the issue of L2 confidence in CLIL contexts.  

Saturday, 6 March 2021




Multilingual call 2021-2022 has just been published and this means that there will be new schools joining us in implementing subjects through English. Yesterday I  received  some telephone calls from teachers who are concerned about the most  adequate materials for CLIL lessons.  If I had to describe the key to effective  CLIL materials, I would say something like this: choose those materials that allow students to develop real-world tasks in the target language. 

 Going deeper into the features of CLIL materials without breaking the  scope of  a blog entry, we could say that the following ingredients are a must: 


·    Each unit should include  explicit correlation between  content and language objectives .

 ·   Input- output scaffolding tools (On the one hand,  key language support to enable students reach the content objectives. On the othe hand, visual support such as   illustrations with labels and captions that are closely related to  subject-specific vocabulary and objectives)

 ·   Content-area text types which are carefully chosen and always accompanied by content-area literacy strategies.

 ·   Graphic organisers like Venn diagrams, tables, and flow charts which help all  learners to support both active reading and  written or oral presentation of content  by students.

 ·  ICT applications which result   in a virtual ‘hands on’ format  that increase motivation among students  through active engagement in the learning process.

 ·   Integration of all language skills throughout the CLIL unit.

 ·    Cognition skills are gradually developed 

·    Formative assessment tasks are included.

·  Teachers' notes include everything the teacher needs for a good CLIL approach. 

In my view, the aforementioned  features can be  put into practice  in  any  content area  at Primary and Secondary levels. I am looking forward to letting you know about the "How-To-Do-It" after the Easter break. During March we will chiefly  devote our energy to planting the seeds of multilingual projects for the next  academic years  at our schools.

However, I will not wait till April  to provide you with some more food-for-thought  on the topic  by recommending  an inspiring book on CLIL materials by Amanda McLouglin, CLIL materials writer and teacher trainer : “How to write CLIL materials”, published on February 25th 2021. You can read about it here.

From these lines, I would like to express my congratulations to Amanda on this book for  her   clear and accurate insight into CLIL materials.    

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

International Day of Women and Girls in Science, 11 February


On the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, let's do our best as educators to address and transform the existing gender gap: at present, less than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women. According to UNESCO data , only around 30 per cent of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. Globally, female students’ enrolment is particularly low in ICT (3 per cent), Natural Science, Mathematics and Statistics (5 per cent) and in Engineering, manufacturing and construction (8 per cent).

 From these lines, I will try to help teachers who read me by offering several  classroom proposals:


  •  In the Autumn of 2019, The Hastings Academy and Robsack Wood Academy worked on songs about Women Scientists. Songwriter Anna Page worked together with students and they created some inspiring  compositions.  Among them, there is a song that has touched my heart. It is  called "Women who were scientists" and I would say that it  conveys a very powerful message. If you want to know why, listen to the audio file and analyze   the lyrics  . I suggest that  students should  listen to the song and get familiar with the rhythm pattern.  Then,  you could  ask students   to work in pairs and  write a stanza about another famous woman who was forgotten till now.  


  • The play "Women scientists: past, present and future" was premiered in March 2016 at the University of Seville.  Although it is in Spanish, they have kindly provided us with a comica  didactical guide  and a quiz.           


  • Last but not least, making women visible site  is a collaborative project in four languages which offers a wide variety of activities in order to help teachers to foster women's visibility at our schools. Among the inspiring proposals they offer, I would highlight  a video game and  a card game. 


Once again, thank you very much for the great effort you make in order to let  our students  be aware of the need to bridge the gender gap. Please,  write to me through the comment section on this blog so that I can know about your students' reactions to the proposal you choose to celebrate February 11th. 

Friday, 22 January 2021

LFEE CLIL resources

LFEE team, Languages for Education inEurope, has  shown their expertise in the field of education  through the development of several key programmes which include Developing International Projects for Schools (DIPS).   Regarding recent projects, I would like to congratulate them on ELAPSE: Embedding Languages Across Primary and Secondary Education (2018-2020). 

The resources you  will  find  by clicking the link above put into practice the CLIL principles we have been analyzing in our seminar sessions and they include some features which are usually not available on free platforms, such as  short scripts for the target language that the teacher might want to use as well as  sound files which provide models of those scripted items.  

The lesson plans  have been designed and collated by native speaker teachers for learners in upper Primary and lower Secondary schools. The recommended age and stage is indicated in the Lesson Plans. Some are for a sequence of lessons, whereas others are just for single lessons, and all the  resources can be adapted to fit your individual teaching context.

If you want to know about ELAPSE, there is a recording of the webinar which took place in November 2020. You can follow it below these lines:

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

The CLIL Wheel


Before starting our Christmas break, I would like to  let you know about a new visual representation of CLIL. It has been developed  by Alexandra Zaparucha, a Polish teacher and teacher trainer.   It is called the CLIL Wheel.  Alexandra  has tried to combine the more traditional understanding of CLIL (4Cs) with the 10 CLIL Parameters. 

The CLIL Wheel does not favour one approach at the expense of the other. On the contrary, it combines the two in full harmony by matching the individual Cs of CLIL with the appropriate parameters. In the end, both the 4Cs and the 10 parameters describe what is going on during a CLIL lesson, but from a slightly different angle.

 Alexandra has kindly shared these  A-3 posters with us:

Here you can download the CLIL wheel

This is the poster that shows the 10 parameters. 

 If you follow this link, you will find the recording of her talk on her approach   for the 39th TESOL France International Colloquium, which took place last November 22nd. It is a showcase of the CLIL Wheel and its 10 Parameters, supported by examples. I am sure that you will find it both clarifying and inspiring.

This year is coming to an end so I would like to thank you for reading and making this forum a wonderful meeting point for CLIL-ing together for another year and I would also like to wish you all: 



Thursday, 3 December 2020

Building rapport in the remote classroom



Cambridge University Press organized Global Schools festival from November 24th till November 26th. The talks focused on trying to give an answer to the big questions about the future of teaching and learning in schools around the world.  If you missed the sessions you can now watch them on Global Schools festival YouTube playlist. 

 I would higly recommend you to watch Nik Peachey's session on "Building rapport in the remopte classroom".

 The session covers a number of issues related to building rapport with and among remote students. This includes:

  • Setting up the webcam and working with the visible space effectively.
  • Being aware of how you use your voice
  • Building remote teams so that students work collaboratively
  • Building positive classroom dynamics
  • The importance of socialisation
  • Empathising with students

·        Nik Peachey provides teachers with practical tips and advice as well as some suggestions for activities that help promote a stronger interpersonal connection in the remote classroom.


  You can watch his session here.



Tuesday, 24 November 2020

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25th. Raising awareness through a photo-story contest


In order to support the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, as part of the activities within  the shiftingwalls EU project, the University of Valladolid has organized an International Photo-story contest to raise awareness on gender-based violence within society. 

Students can send  a short original text (minimum 10 and maximum 300 words) plus an original creative picture which illustrates the idea of the text no later than 11th December.

Everybody can participate, as long as you are at least 14 years old. 

You can find prizes and competition lines here


I would like to encourage those of you who follow this blog and implement English, ICT, Arts, Literature and Ethical values to let your students know about this  competition on November 25th and talk  them into  writing their stories and creating  their  picture.

From these lines, my heartfelt congratulations to the University of Valladolid on this initiative, which is bound to be enthusiastically welcome by Secondary students.

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Universal Design for learning and CLIL (4)


Learners  are very different  in the ways in which they can be engaged or motivated to learn. Some students  are highly engaged by spontaneity and novelty while others prefer strict routine. Some learners might like to work alone, while others prefer to work with their peers. In reality, there is not one means of engagement that will be optimal for all learners in all contexts; providing multiple options for engagement is essential.

How can we do it? 

Well,  it is a difficult endeavour but we can  start by  asking students to analyze what makes their classes more or less motivating. This is a very good article on how to motivate students.

I would also recommend reading the strategies related to this principle in depth and check the different checkpoints here

I would like to give a very simple example of  checkpoint 7.1, i.e.,  optimize individual choice and autonomy by providing choices regarding the type of rewards od recognition available. My two practical examples for  this post are the following ones: 

The first one is  a tool for Geography teachers : Geoguessr. This  is a web-based geographic discovery game designed by Anton Wallén, a Swedish IT consultant, released on 9 May 2013. The game uses a semi-randomized Google Street View location for paying members and Mapillary  for non-members. The game requires players to guess their location in the world using only the clues visible. The free version is obviously not so interesting as the paid version. 

The second  suggestion  I would like to present today is a strategy called  Scientific Sensory Station, a play-based learning center in which students use their senses to explore scientific concepts.

You can sign up for a trial and see an example here.

To sum up, as you very well know, there is no magical wand to reach every student but  remember the key to approaching our goal: "if they do not learn the way you teach, teach the way they learn". 

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Universal Design for Learning and CLIL (3)


UDL Principle II: Multiple Means of Expression

All educators know that there is not only one  means of action and expression that will be suitable for all learners; therefore, we should  do our best  to provide students  with a variety of alternatives for demonstrating what they have learned.

For those of you familiar with the Guidelines within UDL,  first I would like to focus on Guideline 5 and, specifically, checkpoint 5.2, i.e. "use multiple tools for construction and composition". 

In other words, how can we provide students with tools that match their abilities and the demand of the task regarding creation, construction or composition?  Let me give you some examples:

  • Language tool offers spell and grammar checking. Very useful for students who need help with their pieces of writing in any content area.

  • BookBuilder is the perfect tool to help students to create, share and publish their digital stories.  It also contains models which are ready to use.

  • Scratch is available in many different languages, Basque included. Students will be able to create their interactive stories, games and animations. 
  •  Canva   is the world’s easiest design tool that allows you to design anything and publish anywhere. 

Principle 2  also highlights the need educators have to provide options for executive functions (Guideline 6).  How can we help our students?   Let's consider a couple of tools:

  • Worksheets to set goals  : this site offers  worksheets , teaching ideas and lessons for Math, Language, Science, social skills, behavioral, social emotional learning and media literacy.  Besides all this, it contains  a variety of worksheets for setting goals, which will be really useful to set personal goals which are challenging and realistic. 
  • The learning Toolbox home enables students with several difficulties to be better learners.  Students have a menu that covers organization, note taking, reading, writing, test taking and Maths. 

Willing to know about how to make the most of  principle 3 ? Keep on reading this blog  because my next entry will focus on it. 

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Universal Design for Learning and CLIL (2)

My last entry focused on  Principle 1 of  Universal Design for Learning (UDL),  which  allows all students to access information by  providing  flexibility in the ways  this information is presented.

The current post aims at providing  teachers who implement their subject through English with  some specific tools that can help to put this first principle into practice.  As in my previous post, I will list my personal selection of  tools for the following purposes: 


 To provide options for perception: 


This sign dictionary is available in 40 different languages and teachers will  manage to access students with auditory processing disorders. 


This free convertor will allow you to convert any English passage into MP 3   files .  

To provide options for language and symbols:


Students can visualize concepts which  they find difficulty with. The word list is a very interesting section for CLIL teachers but take into account that Wordsift does not  work well with compound nouns because it operates at individual word level. 


This interactive dictionary represents language visually.  Choose a word, write it in the box at the top and see the way it represents it. For example,  imagine a student wants to visualize  "bacteria".   After writing the word in the box, a mind map in different colours  is presented .  Tell students to touch a node to see the definition of that word group and click and drag individual nodes to move them around to help clarify connections.  Model the process yourself with a couple of words and then let students continue on their own.


This multisensory dictionary  is a powerful framework for understanding  STEM concepts. It fulfills its goal to assist the student throughout  the learning process.

Students just  click on any glossary word, or enter the term in the search bar and they will find images, videos, key characteristics, visual activities,  examples and non-examples that will clarify the concept they  need to understand. 


To provide options for comprehension:

Presenting information through videos can be very useful to activate students' previous knowledge and foster interaction.  You can find my previous  posts on  resources  on the pedagogical use of video viewing  here   but  for the current entry   I will just  highlight 3  powerful platforms: 


Easy to use and  for free.  Learners record and share short videos so as to foster debate on any topic you are interested in. 

This platform  offers a huge collection of educational videos, games, quizzes and puzzles on a variety of topics for all grades. 

Who does not know about Khan Academy? Probably you  also know that it is now  available in Spanish too.


As I pointed out  in the previous post, by no means  can  a blog post exploit the enormous number of tools that  facilitate learning for all students but I hope the selection I have made will be useful for the readers of this blog. As you always do, please keep on writing  to me if you need any further  guidance or just to  give me some feedback on the usefulness of the tools I have described.    

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Universal Design for Learning and CLIL (1)


One of our challenges across the curriculum is to reach students who struggle to understand reading passages in different content areas.  This goal is closely related to UDL Principle 2, which involves offering multiple ways of representation. How can we engage our students into reading if they face texts which are written, by far, at comprehension levels higher than their own? 

There is a considerable number of  tools  which are a must  for students who need them but they are available for all students and can be  beneficial to gain a deeper insight  into a text.    

This post will be the first one of a series on UDL across the curriculum so I intend to write short posts with specific tips to put UDL into practice in effective ways without having to spend long hours preparing your classes. Therefore,  today I will just  list my 3 top tools to facilitate reading in any content area :


This is powerful free software that simplifies difficult English for faster comprehension.  Try the Rewordify Engine , the brain behind this tool.  Students will understand texts much better and build their vocabulary much faster. Teachers will save time and prepare much more engaging lessons. 

 -  Readworks 

 It is driven by cognitive Science and it responds to the practical diversity of your classrooms.  It provides educators with a variety of question sets which range from simple multiple choices to inferential questions that build a deeper understanding of the important elements of a text. Vocabulary is carefully selected and exemplified through  authentic sentence examples.  A feature I like a lot is the inclusion of paired texts, which  arise students' critical thinking skills by  asking them  to draw connections and make comparisons.

Readworks contains many other features, such as audio versions of reading content or lesson plans with guided practice. 


CommonLit is a nonprofit education technology organization dedicated to ensuring that all students reach the necessary competences regarding reading, writing, communication, and problem-solving skills.

Would you like to know how to  develop CommonLit's  Google Classroom Integration? The following video will allow you to see how to use it in 8 minutes. 


These are my 3 top tools today. I will keep on writing on assisted technology tools  to  make UDL a reality for all students.  In other words, to ensure that all learners can access and participate in meaningful, challenging learning opportunities.

Thursday, 10 September 2020



After a really different summer break, all of us started work on September 1st. For educators, the COVID-19 Pandemic is a  unique challenge which must be targeted at students' emotional welfare and academic progress.

As a teacher trainer, I am trying to find the best way to provide CLIL  teachers with everything they need for  both their face-to-face classes and remote teaching environment. That is why I have decided to offer specific training sessions at schools  and Meet sessions whenever necessary.

Regarding this blog, I will keep updating it in the hope that you will find it useful for your classroom purposes.


 This first post aims at letting you know about a great book which focuses on essential issues for the readers of this blog, i.e., teachers who integrate content and language at Secondary level: "CLIL Essentials for Secondary School Teachers", by Cambridge University Press. Why is it a must-read? I would say that it outlines the driving principles of CLIL from both the content and language teacher’s perspective in an insightful way and it provides over 60 practical strategies for using formative assessment to support CLIL. 

My readers know how many seminar sessions I have spent on developing one of the key ingredients in CLIL:  scaffolding. This is precisely another reason why this book is indeed vital for CLIL practitioners: the book offers an extensive number of techniques for the simultaneous scaffolding of both content and language.  

Last but not least, the core characteristics and elements of academic language are described alongside multiple techniques to help students understand and use this language.

Peeter Mehisto with Y.L.Teresa Ting have written  a book that draws on learning theory and research, and applies their outcomes to practical teaching. My heartfelt congratulations on their superb contribution from these lines. 

The online appendices  are available here.

Welcome aboard this CLIL-ing cruise and remember Roger Crawford's book title: "challenges are inevitable, defeat is optional".   

Thursday, 11 June 2020


This was a panel event, with speakers from around the world, followed by questions from the audience.

Organized by the British Council,  the event focused on "The challenges of remote learning through online classrooms and resource hubs".

Watch the recording to learn about how teachers from all over the world are responding to this challenge in different contetxs.  I am sure you  will find some inspiring ideas  for your remote teaching context.