The English Monster: CLIL Lesson Study

Lesson study is a collaborative professional development approach where teachers design, teach, and analyze lessons together. Originating in Japan, it focuses on refining teaching practices through observation, reflection, and iterative improvement, fostering a culture of continuous learning and enhancing student outcomes by honing instructional strategies.

The CLIL teachers at Buchrain, with the assistance of Silvia Frank (from the Pädagogische Hochschule Luzern), came together this year on several occasions to conduct a Lesson Study. Our main theme and question were: “How can we get children speaking more English in the CLIL lessons?”

Throughout our observed lessons, we noticed something intriguing: when multiple teachers observed, the children seemed eager to flaunt their English skills and confidence. They learned to use English in CLIL lessons by substituting unfamiliar words with their German equivalents and constructing sentences. These observations were very positive, illustrating the progression of the CLIL project.

However, we also observed that the children were still speaking to each other in German. Naturally, they gravitated towards their native language, which they're accustomed to. We understood this inclination, recognizing that if we conversed more in German with our friends, we'd probably be fluent by now.

We have yet to review the outcomes of our study, but a "lightbulb" moment occurred during a lesson when a fellow teacher introduced us to a tool to encourage children to speak more English: The English Monster. This soft toy roamed the classroom, monitoring conversations. If it heard German being spoken, it would sit on the speaker's desk and be passed around the class. The person holding the English Monster at the end had to complete a special task or homework.

Simple, yet effective. The kids embraced it as a game, sparking a flurry of English chatter. It served as a reminder: with a little creativity, language barriers can crumble, unveiling boundless potential.

In conclusion, our CLIL Lesson Study journey at Buchrain has been both insightful and rewarding. We've witnessed the power of collaboration in refining teaching practices and observed the enthusiasm of children in showcasing their English skills. While challenges persist, the introduction of "The English Monster" demonstrates that innovative approaches can ignite a passion for language learning. As we continue to explore ways to foster English language development, we're reminded that with creativity and determination, the possibilities for student growth are endless.

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