Where there is a will there’s a way (Cuando hay voluntad, hay un camino).

Where there is a will there’s a way (Cuando hay voluntad, hay un camino).

We hear constantly that children are the future- they are innately advanced in technological use, they are wildly creative, and they are quick to pick up certain routines/ skills, and even make it better.

While in some subjects during confinement there was a strict order to follow, a subject like CLIL was fluidly able to adapt to the times. Quarantine was challenging for many, but for my CLIL students in 1º ESO, lockdown made them see a glimpse of what could be their possible future.

CLIL is an enriching subject because it breaks the traditional grammar based English classes and allows students to learn concepts and content by using the language. There is so much that can be done with it as it opens doors to creativity, problem solving, and critical thinking. CLIL in that sense gives students the confidence to know that regardless of level they have potential to effectively use the language.

I had originally tailored CLIL in 1º ESO to public speaking speeches. From September of last year we went through the motion of how to write different types of speeches and then how to deliver in front of the audience. We worked on coherent and cohesive writing skills, active listening skills, fluent speaking skills, and reading and researching skills. We covered informal speeches such as introduction speeches about a family member to personal pet peeves. We learned how to investigate credible websites to write formal informative speeches and include bibliographies.

As we were about to start our sales speech the national state of alarm was out into effect, thus I had to change the dynamic. We still continued to use hamburger writing graphic organizers to organize our ideas, and we included the five writing parts (introduction, three body paragraphs, conclusion), but what changed was rather than working with them in class, we worked together via other digital platforms.

The Sales Speech allowed them to pick ANY product, giving it the creative spin to make it as futuristic or simple as they pleased. They became skilled in describing the product, giving background information about the product, and introducing skills such as pathos, ethos and logos to persuade the audience. Everything that was being done in class was based on the content and language they had. Some were able to advance relying on sentence starters if they needed a push, others were challenged to find new energetic synonyms so they didn’t sound monotonous. Each speech was unique because each student showcased the content based on their previous knowledge, thus making it inclusive to all students, regardless of level.

Technology was my backbone during quarantine. My students quickly learned how to jump on a MEET video conference call, they were accustomed to working on a shared Google document with me to give them continuous feedback. In each class I would give them comments to improve their speech and make sure they were on track. When it came time to present, my students found a way to present their speeches using different recording apps that allowed them to also present with their visual aid. Some students took it so seriously that they even dressed up for the occasion to give it more professional touch. Lastly, as a teacher, the platform which helped me when it came to marking was Google Classroom as I was able to include a digital rubric. As I watched the presentations, I graded in the moment being able to share the final mark when I finished marking. It was all simultaneous and students were able to get their numerical mark instantly. 

When it was time to reflect on the speeches, my students expressed how they enjoyed the sales speech because they felt like they were part of a marketing firm, or were a famous influencer. The sales speech greased their wheels towards a business mentality, one where technology plays an instrumental role.

I am always incorporating technology and educational apps in CLIL, and during quarantine I learned just how useful technology is, especially in a subject like CLIL, where there is tremendous educational freedom. We were able to enrich our content and language in a creative, critical way, and most importantly my students felt challenged, not daunted.

CLIL plus technology is forcing our students to adapt to a new future, a future where the professional market will value someone who has energetic and engaging public speaking skills, be it in person or online, who has experience in a variety of cloud sharing platforms for collaborative and innovative projects, and who is a creative problem solver when it comes to using different apps.

Sure quarantine was hard, but in a subject like CLIL, it made me realize that where there is a will, there is always a way and this unique experience allowed students to see their English potential in an authentic, fun setting.

Alyssa Rizavi