Currently two English Bilingual Programmes are offered at our school: one for students in Compulsory Secondary Education (E.S.O.) and the other one for students engaged in vocational training (tourism industry). The first one has now been running for ten years (since 2007), whereas the second one started last school year.
The students who participate in these programmes (currently around three hundred students) learn several subjects of the curriculum in English: three in Secondary Education during each school year (Physics and Chemistry, Biology and Geology, History, Music, Active Music & Movement or P.E) and one in vocational training (Tourist Resources,
Reception & Customer Service, Tourist Products Managment or Housekeeping). That means that English is not only a goal but also a tool through which knowledge about different fields is acquired. Through this Content and Language Integrated Learning approach, learners´skills and understanding are developed and their cognitive processes and communication skills are enhanced.
Being part of the group of teachers who work to develop these bilingual projects implies retraining as well as a commitment to participate actively in the organisation of different events. They attend different training activities - English courses, drama-workshops, teaching periods at other schools abroad and training about Content and Language Integrated Learning approaches (CLIL)- so as to keep not only their linguistic competence
in English up to date but also their teaching skills. Fifteen teachers are involved in these programmes: nine of them teach non-linguistic subjects (seven and two for E.S.O. and vocational training, respectively) and six of them teach English. Teamwork and cooperation make the implementation of the activities which are planned at the beginning of each school year posssible. Tables T.2 and T.3 below show the teachers who take part in the Programmes.
As regards the activities which are carried out throughout the year, English is the language used for communicating, learning and having fun. There are a wide variety of activities which are designed to suit the different levels. Table T.4 shows the activities which have been planned for this year.
We are convinced that bilingual projects are relevant in most learning contexts and can be instrumental in improving the quality of education and expanding educational opportunities for young people. They must be strengthened, but in order to do so more human and material resources are needed.
Mª Antonia Naharro García
Coordinator of the English Bilingual Programmes