CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) is becoming an increasingly widespread approach and more often than not, students benefit from it and seem to become confident and better at managing their learning skills. Danish teacher Kim Bjerringgaard signed up for our first CLIL course in September in the hope of learning more about the methodology behind the practices he has used in his lessons for many years. He works in a bilingual school in southern Denmark, teaching Danish, English, History, Religious Education and Civics to students of German origin.
We spoke to Kim about globalised education, CLIL techniques and the joy of speaking English. His answers were full of the enthusiasm and determination one can acquire from a trip abroad.
What signifies a good teacher?
A good teacher is someone who’s able to capture the interest of the students and who can inspire learning. It’s also a person who’s able to see the needs of his students and adapt lessons accordingly.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of a global approach to education?
The benefits are very clear. We live in an increasingly globalised world, so in order for the school to be a mirror of the surrounding society and educate students on how to live and act within it, it’s only natural for education to have a global approach.
Some people believe there’s a risk of losing one’s own unique cultural identity. In my opinion, there are no drawbacks. I work for a bilingual school that has had an international profile for the last 40 years and believe this is a very poor and one-sighted view on education and culture.
What expectations did you have before you started the course?
I looked forward to attending an educational methodology course and I must say my expectations were met. The classes in CLIL were very intense, fun and relevant. The instructors, especially Giulia Revelli, were tremendously competent, knowledgeable and helpful. It has been a pleasure and privilege to attend the classes.
How did the different backgrounds and teaching techniques of the course participants affect the discussions?
The big cultural and academic differences only added to the experience and brought us together as a group. The only difficulty was the gap between the English language skills of the participants, as it sometimes inhibited the communication in the classroom. But with that said, we all got over it quite quickly and noticed dramatic improvement in some of the participants’ language skills.
Have you implemented any of the CLIL tools in your lessons?
Indeed. Due to the bilingual structure and profile of our school, we have been using CLIL methods for a long time without having been introduced to the underlying theory. It’s so reassuring to discover what we do is actually methodology and that we have been doing it properly all along. I also picked up a few techniques, which have proven to be quite fun and helpful in my lessons back home.
What was your favourite moment in London?
My absolute favourite moment, since it was completely new to me, was a visit to Harrow on the Hill. The students and teachers in their uniforms and gowns at Harrow School was quite a sight! We also enjoyed the view of London from the top of the hill and finally had a true English cream tea in a very nice café on the High Street.
But one of the best things was speaking English on an entirely different level than I do on a daily basis. It was liberating.
Are you interested in Teacher Development? Click here to read more about our CLIL course.