When Learners Become Teachers: a vertical CLIL project based on Peer Teaching

Francesca Ripamonti, University of Milan, Italy:     Recent language curriculum reforms in the Italian education policy have focused on CLIL methodology. However the shortage of qualified subject-area teachers with CLIL prerequisites has frequently impeded the innovation required by the Ministry. Determined to overcome the obstacle we thus oriented towards a CLIL project of peer teaching with students involved in giving lectures on assigned topics and providing support in the form of tutoring.
This study aims at presenting a two years’ vertical project where senior students of a scientific high school became content-instructors of junior mentees who, in turn, taught last-year students from nearby middle schools after some disciplinary topics (Art, History, Science, Technology, Social Studies) had been vertically agreed with the students who played the role of novice educators. Constant monitoring and supervision were assured in the different phases of the project by both language and content teachers who cooperated as facilitators, too. Technology played a complementary role, serving as an additional resource for teachers and students.
By swapping roles our objectives were both linguistic and pedagogical since we wanted to investigate how students’ attitudes towards English communication could improve in this new and reversed CLIL environment. Quantitative analyses and questionnaires all valued the vertical implementation as a powerful way of promoting interaction and motivation.

 

Key words: CLIL, technology, peer teaching, communication

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