Podcast episode 1: Introducing the podcast

January 9, 2023


I just launched a podcast!

From now on, I will publish a weekly podcast and share the highlist here as a blog post. Or at least, that's the plan. We'll see how things go ;).

Below you can listen to the first episode as well as read some highlights and the transcripts. Let me know your thoughts and don't forget to subscribe 😉

Highlights of this episode

About this podcast

I talk fast, you will have to get used to that I am afraid. 

This podcast focuses primarily on the situation of CLIL and bilingual education in the Netherlands, as that is where I live.
I will share practical lesson ideas as well as thoughts regarding the organisation of bilingual education within Dutch schools to support both CLIL teachers and coordinators.
With my experience as a maths teacher, CLIL trainer and CLIL coordinator I hope I can serve you well and you recognise some of the situations I mention.

Despite me talking from the Dutch perspective, I still think you will recognise a lot of the things I talk about if you don't live in The Netherlands, because a lot of CLIL teachers from around the world face the same challenges and have the same questions.

About CLIL

In my opinion, CLIL consists of two elements: making sure students are engaged and are working with a language in some form or another. 

It also has a lot of things in common with other educational approaches like EDI, which is not focused on bilingual education but does include both making sure students are engaged and focus on concepts.

Lastly, CLIL is not just a trick or a one-time thing for a lesson. You don't go about 'doing some CLIL' for 5 minutes and then go back to your lesson.
It should be part of your lesson, of your way of teaching.
I know, easier said than done. That is why you should start with small and CLIL teachers should be sufficiently supported. 

But more on that in other episodes of the podcast :).

Transcription (click to show)

All right, here we go!

 The very first podcast of me.  This is the first. I've never done this before. I'm curious where things will go, but this is something that I've wanted to do for a while, and I think that I can serve you very well.

My name is Patrick De Boer. I'm a CLIL teacher, trainer, and maths teacher from the Netherlands. And in this podcast, I want to serve you. I want to help you out with your lessons, but also with your team.

I will be talking about things that I run into while working with teachers and students alike and share with you my thoughts, my ideas, and hopefully serve you with inspiration and both practical ideas, as well as well, concepts, if you will, to use in your lesson.

Now, you might notice I speak rather fast. I'm afraid that's my mode.  I can't talk slowly. So if you find,  that this is going too fast, it's probably a setting on your player that says slow down. I've recently figured out when I was doing some online coaching through Zoom that there was actually a setting in Zoom which also says: Slow down. That setting does not work on me I am afraid.

I want this podcast to be something that you want to listen to every once in a while, maybe go back and relisten some things.  There will be topics throughout, maybe an interview here and there. I've got no clue how long this is going to last,  but I'm really looking forward to this being something worthwhile of your time.

So whenever next time you go to your school in your car or bike, and you just pop this into your ears and you listen to some ideas that you can use in your lesson or maybe that you can use as inspiration for your bilingual team, for your CLIL team.

Now, for the records, as I said, I'm from the Netherlands, so I will be speaking from the Dutch perspective. And that does mean that things might not be the same for you if you listen to this while you live in a different country.  So I thought: maybe it's a good idea to well, describe the setting in the Netherlands as it is, so you know a bit about me and know what way I can help you.  I've been teaching maths for 15 years in bilingual education, meaning I've been teaching this in English. And I've also gone through bilingual education myself as a student. So I know what it's like to both be a student and to be a teacher.

And now in my role as teacher, trainer and coach, I also help out fellow teachers to implement CLIL in their lessons in bilingual education, secondary education.

There are about 1 30 bilingual secondary schools in the Netherlands where students choose to do bilingual education, which is different from other countries, where some schools,  have an obligation to, to use CLIL or other countries where only a few students in class follow CLIL education. In the Netherlands, when a student chooses to go to a Bilingual school or chooses to do the Bilingual track on a school, that means they follow CLIL education. There's always a choice, there's never an obligation there. So that makes motivation to work in the second language slightly less of an issue.

It doesn't mean that they never speak Dutch, of course, but there is a difference to classes where students are kind of forced to speak English, which is always, well, let's just call it interesting. 

So that's my background. I've been teaching twelve to 15 year olds in English and I encounter a lot of things whenever we talk about CLIL.

My approach to CLIL always is making sure the students are engaged with a second language.

In other words, making sure that all students are always active or always doing something.  and that there's always some attention to language.

That means that, for example, in my lessons, there is a variation of activities and there's just a change every 10 to 15 minutes. Meaning they can't, you know, sit back and enjoy the show the entire lesson. They just can't because something else will happen and they will have to be brought up to your attention. I will spend one podcast on that, on variation in your lesson and also to make sure that all students are engaged. 

Another element of that is, of course, formative assessment, making sure that you know where the students are at without having to micromanage anything.  I've got some ideas on that. It will also be the topic of another podcast.

I wrote a list of about seven or eight topics that I want to discuss over the course of these podcasts.

And if you have any ideas or things that you'd like me to talk about or that you want my opinion on, or if you have questions about something, just let me know. Either in the show notes or send me an email or contact me through my website, and I'd be happy to talk to you about that.

As I said, this whole podcast thing is new to me, so I'll just see how things will go. Well, I'm not going to edit anything. For the record, this is an unedited version.  There might be a fancy intro or outro,  but there will not be any editing within the podcast. So whenever you hear me stutter or go silent because I forgot my words again, you know why. I want this to have some kind of a live vibe, if you will. So making sure that,  it feels as if you're talking to me and that it's not some added show where every 3 seconds my ‘uuhs’ are cut out. That just doesn't work for me.  If you listen to this, this is the way I am.

I was talking about CLIL. The second thing, of course, is the language element. So, the engagement element I just discussed, and the second thing is the language element. I always make sure my students know they're also talking about a second language. Phil Ball calls it making language salient, and I really like that approach. So whenever there is math going on, I always also put some emphasis on that language.

For example, I did a small digital escape room the other day, which goes entirely against my policy of having tasks that take more time to prepare than they actually last in class.  That's something I really do not like doing. But for this one, I made an exception, because I do like to do something completely different once in a while.

A in that escape room, there was actually one language question. There was one moment where I asked, okay, so what is this word in English?  It which was a tricky word. It wasn't in the book. It's something that I mentioned, and only the students that paid attention would have known that. But they were working in groups, so together they could have figured it out.  Of course, I would have preferred them to describe that in their own words or come up with that, but then the Google form that I used would not be able to check their answer. So,  I had to use an answer where there was only one correct answer. 

But  that's what I'd like to do, to have language be a part of that education.

And in my opinion, CLIL doesn't necessarily work in a second language setting. A lot of ideas or concepts of CLIL also work in the first language setting.  Maybe you've heard about EDI explicit direct instruction. I find that it overlaps a lot with CLIL.  There's also extra emphasis on language. There is also room for some engagement. There's a lot of check for understanding in small ways, like with those mini white boards. 

I haven't read the most recent version of the book. I heard there's scaffolding in there as well, which is, of course, a very important element of CLIL, because scaffolding is all about providing support and making sure the students can go to that next step in their learning, which is slightly harder if there is a second language in the forward, especially when your own level of that language isn't that high yet. You need a bit more structure and scaffold. So that's something I will obviously be talking about as well, in other podcasts, because it's so vital to a clear lesson.

So, I already mentioned, like, three topics just now, and I have to listen back to which those three are,  because I already forgot.

But this is something that I want to do from now on more regularly. I've got no clue how often I will post, I'm thinking weekly, but,  I don't know yet.  And of course,  not all of them will just be rumbling about me. It will all be more focused on the topic.  I've also been thinking about doing some interviews, maybe with some people from the CLIL world and seeing what they like.  and for the record, my focus will be slightly on the teacher and give you some ideas, but I will also be talking a lot about how to organize CLIL within your school. And my perspective is the Dutch perspective.

So whenever I talk about CLIL within your school, I'm talking about CLIL within your Dutch school. And if you think it works in your lesson, in your school, in your country as well, well, that's great.  and I hope that I give you some ideas and inspiration for that. But,  obviously, it's very hard for me to know exactly what your school situation looks like in every different country in the world, because the American system, the Italian system, the Singaporean system, I don't know, they're all very different, vastly different. So I can't possibly share with you, well, this is the one  trick that works in every one of them. Or this is the one size fits all solution to these challenges.

What I do find, and that's something that I most profoundly noticed during the coaching sessions and the Q and A during the online CLIL summits that I organized, was that every CLIL teacher throughout the world has the same challenges. They encounter the same things.

They all find it challenging to, for example, get the students to talk English,  when you walk away and they think you can't hear them anymore 2 meters away.

Or all teachers find it,  slightly tricky to implement those higher ordered thinking skills. It's easier to ask the easy questions than the more difficult ones.

I've also often heard teachers who said they find it challenging to find,  authentic resources. It's something that I have less of a problem with, because we simply have a book that we use, which is a translated Dutch version, which I'm not a big fan of, but at least I've got a resource and I can just go from there. But there's also a lot of teachers I know that will have to constantly develop their own materials.

And what I find is that every teacher, every CLIL teacher, but I also think every teacher is often reinventing the wheel. And that's something that I hope with this podcast to, well, if only a few of you will take ideas from this and implement them, instead of having to come up with them your own, I find that a win. And that's something that I want to do with this podcast, because I feel that a lot of teachers are struggling, are figuring things out, taking a lot of time to prepare lessons, to prepare activities where if they could just observe another one's lesson or have some ideas from someone else, they might do this a lot quicker. 

An online training that I used to do a lot was called how to Prepare my CLIL Lesson in 15 Minutes. And that's something a lot of teachers really liked because there was a lot of practical ideas that they could use.

But I also found that it's almost like a trick if you don't understand what's the reasoning behind it. And I don't mind sharing those tricks, but there's more to it that's actually, definitely going to be a topic for another time. 

When is it okay to put on that quick fix, when is it time to sit down and think about where do we, as a team of teachers want to go? Why do we have CLIL in our school? What do we want our students to be able to do at the end of so many years of education? That's something I really want to talk about as well.

I'm really passionate about that. 

I think that's it for now.  This was the very first introduction podcast, if you will, and I will share,  all my ideas on different topics throughout this podcast. Let me know what you think of this, share your thoughts,  your ideas, your questions, anything.

I'm curious to hear what you think of this. And of course, if you listen to this in podcast software like Spotify or itunes or, I don't know,  where you found this, can you please give it a rating,  so other people can find it as well? 

The more people rat it, the higher it raises in the rating lists and more people will appreciate it and find it. And of course, if you like it, I'd really prefer those five star reviews instead of the ones.

That's it for now, looking forward to the next one. And we'll definitely have a single topic that I will talk about. And it also is also very likely I will deviate from that anyway,  because I can determine when to stop talking now, which is great.  I normally don't have that if I stand in front of the students.

All right, see you around. See you next time!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}