Three inspiring ideas from the Online CLIL Summit 2021

October 13, 2021


It has been quite an eventful week for me, with a minimum of 3 sessions per day with speakers from all over the world. Interesting discussions, provocative statements and inspiring talks made this second summit a success! Allow me to share three ideas from the Online CLIL summit that I thought were very inspiring!

Estimated time to read this article: 3 minutes

1. The advantages of bilingual education

David Marsh talked about research linking neuroscience to language learning.

Important fact: these advantages only apply to people who USE the language. Not people who KNOW the language.

The important conclusion according to me?

You should motivate students to produce language output.

Another eye-opener during this session for me was about the different ways of language teaching.

The two ways are:

  1. 1
    Teaching about language: The unnatural way, just like traditional language teaching
  2. 2
    Teaching through language: The natural way, just like learning our first language

The conclusion?

“Learning about language is the most common way of teaching. And the most ineffective one”

David Marsh

There were a lot more ideas on the application of CLIL discussed in the session of David Marsh, including a more detailed description of the six advantages bilingual learners have, but that would make this post a bit too long.

Moving on!

2. Teaching learners how to explain

Oliver Meyer shared his ideas and conclusions based on years of developing the pluriliteracies model, published recently in his book together with Do Coyle.

One of the my personal takeaways from this session was the focus on student explanation. Oliver frequently shared that if students cannot adequately explain themselves, something might have gone wrong.

The question then is of course, how do you make sure students are capable of explaining things adequately?

Part of the answer lies in engagement. To generating and sustain commitment & achievement, Oliver shared four steps: Affect, Engagement, Mastery and Reflection.

I always say CLIL is all about making sure students are engaged with the content and the language, otherwise learning might be less effective.

Oliver could not have said this better himself:

“Without engagement they cannot ever approach mastery”

Oliver Meyer

Obviously this statement was part of larger explanation, be sure to have a look at the book "Beyond CLIL" if you want to explore more on this topic!

3. Bloom’s Taxonomy can be used as a scaffold

During the session of Michele C. Guerini on scaffolding I took many notes. Again.

She first defined scaffolding as follows:

“Scaffolding is anything that helps learners achieve lesson goals”

Michele C. Guerini

Which I think is a nice, practical way of putting it.

After that, she mentioned three different types of scaffolding.

To make scaffolding something more practical, I think making it clearer like this is the way to go.

  • Verbal scaffolding: support language development
  • Procedural scaffolding: guides how learners work
  • Instructional scaffolding: refers to tools that support learning

But this was not even the most important thing I took away from this session.

My aha-moment was when it was mentioned Bloom’s taxonomy can actually be used as a scaffolding technique for teachers’ lesson preparation!

This might be very obvious to you already, but I had never approached Bloom’s taxonomy that way.

Interestingly, I do link the two in my CLIL Roadmap as they share a module, but this specific link was a way of thinking I had not realized.


These were just a few of the ideas I picked up during the Online CLIL Summit 2021.

Curious to know: what were your main learning points? Do share them below!

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