As you may have observed this community is moribund. Your community manager retired from education. Without a sound bedrock of daily practice in the classroom no interesting new information can be expected. So far Digischool did not come up with a new community manager. If you feel up to it you are invited to contact Digischool. For the time being I suggest you start communicating in Europlatform's facebook group at
May the sun shine on your path!

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General Academic Language

Keith Kelly

Keith Kelly

A crowd of 600 tto-teachers bustled at “De Reehorst”, 1 November.  As always the Dutch annual meeting, organised by the European Platform, was an inspiring event. I was most impressed by a key note speaker, Keith Kelly.

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New kids in the dock

refereeThis year I am not going to show any mercy. I slammed it into them straight away.
The art lesson in my first form group consists of two hours, with a break in between. In the the first hour I managed to instruct them for their first task. Apparently they understood my English well enough to start working on a self portrait while “paying attention to proportions”, which is a difficult concept for spunky young artists. No Dutch was needed. And I listened to them. Once in a while I feigned being baffled when someone asked something in Dutch. I guess they felt ill at ease. I didn’t console them.

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cdJust before the last school week I found a mail in my inbox from some colleague, Peter, who works at a school that will start with a tto-programme as of August. I remember being desperate when discovering that a text book for my subject was not available. Art teachers like to devise their own very special curriculum, and I always had enjoyed doing so, but when it comes to teaching art in a foreign language, oh well, that’s a wholly different kettle of fish.
Even subject meetings organised by the European Platform turned out to be not very useful. I remember a fellow teacher who cavilled that he was not willing to share his work as “you never get anything in return.”

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The bilingual mindset

Yesterday my newspaper drew my attention to a symposium to be held on Friday, 20 May 2011. The meeting will address recent developments on multilingualism and multilingual language acquisition. Unfortunately this news came too late for me to change my schedule for the week to come, but you may be interested in attending this event.

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The dustpan

As a subject teacher I focus on developing vocabulary within my subject, Art. Basically this is not different from teaching in the Dutch spoken classroom. I need the word “value” to describe how surfaces differ in reflecting light, just as I need “helderheid” for the same phenomenon in Dutch. The word is a gateway into experiencing the visual world. It is one of many words that build up a systematic word bank, “Visual Elements and Visual Principles.”

The Word Bank

Each subject comes with its own specialized words. 

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Punch and Judy

Students can be quite skittish about speaking in front of the class in English. I discovered that performing a hand puppet play is a great shot in the arm. First formers are vacillating between the magical world of early childhood and their budding rational mind. Having their puppet speaking instead of themselves somehow pushes them over the threshold.

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Kickoff GLOBE meetcampagnes

Leraren en leerlingen leren op deze dag van de GLOBE wetenschappers hoe ze kunnen helpen met het doen van wetenschappelijk onderzoek naar  Natuurkalender, Water en Bodem.

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The Inet/SSAT Study Tour

Art Room

A young man fetches his eleven years old boy from school. He is dressed in a nylon anorak from under which a long frock falls low on his calves. He is bearded and wears an Arabic cap. His right hand clutches his son’s left hand. The young one is wearing the attire of the western male, a suit, white shirt and tie. It is the boy’s school uniform.
To me those two clutched hands bridge Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of civilizations”. I made a one week visit to schools at Small Heath, one of the most depraved urban districts of the UK in terms of employment, crime rate, health conditions and housing. Not so in terms of schooling, I learnt.

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The brain and the second language

MRI-scan of the brain

If someone makes a snide comment on tto you could answer with this quote:

Plas­tic­ity can also be observed in the brains of bilin­guals (Mechelli et al., 2004). It looks like learn­ing a sec­ond lan­guage is pos­si­ble through func­tional changes in the brain: the left infe­rior pari­etal cor­tex is larger in bilin­gual brains than in mono­lin­gual brains.

Find the complete article here.