In the Spotlight: Schule Buchrain's Language Odyssey
Hello there fellow wanders of the educational realm! Welcome back to my little teaching journal where I can write absolutely anything I like and post it on the school website, fun! So, stick around, dear reader. Thisain't your typical teacher's diary – it's a front-row seat to the unexpected joys, the linguistic chaos, and the triumphs of education in the vibrant world of Schule Buchrain.
Every day feels like a brush with celeb status at my school. Now I’m teaching six different classes, I know a lot of kids, and their friends know me too. Yesterday, I was in a fellow teacher’s classroom just to have a chat (and distract her from anything important on the teacher’s never-ending to-do-list) and the children were delighted to see me there. These 2nd Class children were desperate to communicate the little English that they had picked up from bilingual friends or eavesdropping on teacher’s conversations. “Hello Miss Carter!” they say as they all started to offer me food from their snack boxes like I’m the queen of the Znüni kingdom.
I’m going to be controversial (but honest) here and say I actually LOVE my break duty (Pausenaufsicht) because I get to communicate with kids from every background who are excited to see me and talk to me in English. The conversations here are wild. They really love spilling the tea. I’ve been back and forth on which animal is my favourite, there’s too many options. But I know that Livio’s cousin’s mum’s friend’s favourite colour is dark blue and that Lina’s brother’s friend’s sister is just two years younger than me. There's always plenty of gossip.
Yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with children from the 3rd Class about their feelings and opinions about wearing a school uniform. They were inquisitive, asking me about my school experience and what I thought was best. The conversation was mostly in a special language we have that I like to call Genglish (pronounced J-i-nglish), a mash-up of English and German spoken at increasing speeds and with much passion and modulation. This way of communication is actually great to get them speaking more English, as they start to pick up more words as they speak and I try to repeat their Genglish sentences back to them in English every time.
I have not made a plan for this one, but I guess my pointfrom above is that Schule Buchrain are nourished with opportunities to speak English and are not missing them! Even children as young as 7 are intrigued to communicate in another language.
So, what am I learning now I’ve been here for 1 and a half years? I’ve learned that a well-executed school project is beneficial for not only the classes involved, but for the whole school and wider community. Enter Content and Language IntegratedLearning (CLIL), a game-changer that has everyone from little learners toseasoned teachers embracing English with newfound enthusiasm. In this particular example it’s beneficial because children in other classes and across the school are curious and interested, therefore, they are subconsciously learning another language. The teachers are communicating with me in English,therefore, their vocabulary and grammatical knowledge is broadening. There wa salso positive feedback from the wider community during the ‘Monster Virus’ celebrations last Saturday that the teachers were participating and that some children were speaking English with me.
I guess my main point with this is that implementing Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) is much more impactful than we expected. It is something that affects the school, teachers andwider-community. Apart from this, our research is suggesting that the classes that are participating have a high average in the English grades and that the children are communicating more frequently with confidence and motivation inCLIL subjects.
Asthe curtain falls on my daily exploits at Schule Buchrain, the unexpected joys of language-rich encounters echo. Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) emerged as a game-changer, not just for classes but the entire school. Here's to the ongoing linguistic adventure!