How to deal with CLIL challenges (and snow!)

February 8, 2021


This weekend we experienced a lot of snowfall in The Netherlands. Unlike many other countries with more regular snowfall, the entire infrastructure failed.
No more public transport, advice not to drive to work and cancelled activities.

The question that jumped to mind: How do other countries deal with these challenges?

And what can CLIL teachers learn from this?

Estimated time to read this article: 3 minutes

Finally things go back to normal(-ish)

Because of the lockdown, primary schools were closed for 7 weeks.

My son was overjoyed when he heard schools were going to re-open again.

He was really looking forward to seeing all of his friends again.

(quite different from the response I used to get from teenage students when it came to 'wanting to go to school' pre-corona, but anyway..).

Of course the extreme snowfall of this weekend made his day even more:
he wanted to play outside all the time, experiencing what is like to play in the snow around our own house (does not quite happen that often in The Netherlands…)

...Or not

And then we received an email saying the school would stay closed for another day.....

Because of the snow, ice and possible safety issues.

To be fair: I completely understand the decision, but I immediately wondered:
Do countries that have snowfall every year close schools when there is snow?

Although I am not 100% sure, I do not think this is the case.

Which means people in other countries deal with this situation in a different way.

With different results.

Namely: the infrastructure of those countries do not collapse entirely after one snowy day.
(I know I am exaggerating. I do that sometimes..;))

The link to CLIL education?

Sometimes you might see fellow teachers pull of something you think is quite hard to do:

  • Organising an activity with kids running around, without it becoming a total mess
  • Running an effective online lessons with engaged students
  • Talking English fluently with the students in a way you can only dream of
  • Coming up with all kinds of original ideas to energise students

But these are all the result of different situations. Different experiences. Different preparations.

Just like different countries deal with the snow situation differently.

Instead of thinking: “How am I going to be like them?

Try thinking: “How do I make the most of this situation?

Or, to keep the parable going, how can we get our regular life back on track as much as possible, despite all of the snow and ice?

Or maybe even better: How can we implement this new situation in a way that makes life fun again?
In this case, the example is easy: Build a snowman and have a snowball fight with the neighbours.

What is your ‘Do you want to build a snowman?’ moment?

How do you deal with possible challenges in teaching CLIL?

Let me know by replying in the comments below!

Ow and for the record: my son obviously was disappointed when he heard he could not go back to school just yet.

But building a snowman quickly distracted him 😉

Key Take Away

Do not feel down when you see fellow CLIL teachers do amazing things. 

You probably do things others find amazing!

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