On Dec. 9th, National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) and the Office of English as the Second Official Language (OEASOL) held the International Conference on Trans Disciplinary Teaching and Translanguaging, inviting scholars to share their experience of bilingual teaching. Since 2017, the OEASOL has worked with NCKU to pioneer the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) program in 8 elementary schools, which expanded to include 5 more in 2018. In these schools, some subject classes such as Science, PE, and Art were taught in English. A research team from NCKU, led by Professor Tsou Wen-li and Professor Kao Shin-mei, conducted year-long research on the effectiveness of the CLIL program. This research team recently published a book titled Exploring CLIL: A Resource Book, which was co-authored by scholars from universities and teachers involved in CLIL classes. The Resource Book was officially presented at the International Conference last Sunday.
Two distinguished scholars in the field of bilingual education were invited to the conference as keynote speakers—Professor Angel M.Y. Lin from Simon Fraser University and Professor Inmaculada Pineda Hernández from the University of Málaga, Spain. Professor Lin has long been devoted to researches on English education. She was commissioned by the Hong Kong Bureau of Education to develop CLIL teaching methods and materials. "Promoting CLIL education in Hong Kong is difficult," she said, "but doing it here in Taiwan is even more challenging." Therefore, she advised policymakers to start from smaller schools and teachers who are passionate about bilingual education. Providing sufficient teacher training courses and reducing teachers' workload can help build a successful CLIL program in Taiwan.
Professor Hernández plans to stay for three weeks to visit schools with CLIL programs in Tainan and other cities. According to Professor Hernández, the Spanish government has been promoting bilingual education for more than 14 years. She noted that the challenges of developing bilingual programs in Tainan are similar to those in Spain. She suggested that CLIL teaching methodology courses should be provided to teachers, in addition to English training, to help them successfully combine content and language in a classroom. She added that some teachers, despite speaking fluent English, was unable to use simple English to facilitate students' understanding, and this was ineffective teaching in her opinion.
In addition to the keynote speeches delivered by the two international scholars, the Conference on Sunday also included presentations by authors of the CLIL Resource Book. They introduced the implementation of CLIL in different subject fields. Speakers also shared their experience of designing CLIL lessons and collaborating with teachers from other disciplinary. Teachers conducting CLIL classes also came to the conference to share the lesson plans they have designed and used in their classrooms.
This International Conference held by NCKU and OEASOL has 250 availabilities, two third of which are open to elementary and high school teachers, and one third to school administrators and scholars. Each participant of the conference will be given a free copy of the resource book. The digital version of the book will also be available for free download on the OEASOL website. (https://goo.gl/BZtm4n )