“I am klaar”

The new kids have arrived. I start up my first lesson, check with them knowledge of words to indicate features of their face, nose, eyes and so on, they have been taught some basic English at primary school, haven’t they? And I have them do a self-portrait, studying their own features in a mirror. While they are doing the hands-on work, I scoot along them to have a chat. One of my questions: “Did you chose this programme, or did your parents?” All students say it was their choice.

The catchment area

In the fairy tale of yesteryear my school could trust our catchment area to deliver the goods. All the Protestant-Christian primary schools would send all their eligible students. The last decades this has changed.

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Google Analytics GraphGoogle Analytics shows a peak in the number of visitors after a post has been recommended by others.

About a year ago I passed the Cambridge Proficiency Exam. What to do now? Stopping the learning process would result in a fast deterioration of my English. The exposure to English in the sticks of “De Achterhoek” is slim.

I had passed with a meagre C and my writing had been assessed below borderline. In fact my attainment had been based on working doggedly at my vocabulary and grammar on a daily basis for three years. So I decided I should at least work at my writing skills. I started a blog in English.

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My TTO Persona

To be or not to beA couple of years ago a remark by a first former made me realise that I had acquired a new persona, a new interface with my social environment, in the process of learning how to be an effective TTO teacher.

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TTO-Junior School: We Did It!

Ulenhof students throw their caps up in the air
Students at Ulenhofcollege, Doetinchem,  celebrate after having attained the school’s certificate for three years of bilingual education

Five years ago my school‘s management team decided we definitely needed an asset in the intense competition for students within our catchment area: “Tweetalig Onderwijs!”

The idea struck a chord with quite a few colleagues, enough to start with. A couple of teachers had spent months, some even a year, abroad during their studies, they were quite self -assured: it could be done. On top of that the rationale behind the idea was clear given the school’s rich experience with international exchange for students. So I joined the pack, as others did, while feeling not too confident..

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Times Educational Supplement

logo TES connectDeveloping materials for your bilingual class room is a slippery issue.  Having passed the Cambridge Proficiency Exam doesn’t make me feel too confident about my use of language, it merely makes me aware of everything that can go wrong. So I’m happy with every resource that has been produced by a native speaker. The Times Educational Supplement on the Internet offers a plethora of such resources.

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National CLIL Conference March 2nd

The Fourth National CLIL conference held in Ede recently was attended by over 500 colleagues from all subjects and schools involved in Content and Language Integrated Learning.

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Eeny, meeny, miny, moe

Georgie Porgie. This image, the text of the nursery rhyme and the interesting historical background of this seemingly nonsensical poem are to be found at www.nursery-song.com

Teaching in English is a major challenge for a speaker of English as a second language. Five years ago, when I chose to take part in my school’s tto programme, I knew that I would lose a lot of class management tools by changing from Dutch to English. Most jokes, funny comments, appraisals or admonishments just can’t be translated. To my surprise one favourite tool could be transferred directly into English.

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The Invisible Button

The Invisible Button

The Invisible Button is located just below the emergency button.

Recently I found a nice trick to welcome my students to my CLIL-art room. While standing at the doorway I make them pound the wall next to the entrance. “Do not forget to push The Invisible Button!” I have explained the meaning of this silly ritual to them: “It will remember you to change your mode from Dutch into English.”

In theory no Dutch word should be heard in my classroom. When addressing their teacher my students use English only, as they know that I will not even react to Dutch, if there is no life at stake. When they are communicating amongst each other I frequently catch them out at speaking Dutch though. It is a nuisance, and I lambaste them about it to no avail.

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An Observation Tool

A conversation task in de art room

A conversation task in the art room

These students are talking about a landscape. She is describing a landscape that impressed here in the past, but she is not to make any reference to its whereabouts. The boy has to guess where the landscape is located. It could be in a far-flung country or it could be her backyard.

The task fits in my lesson plan which deals with landscapes in art. But the main reason for this task is that it gives the students the opportunity to use a set of English words for landscape features which I gave them.

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