Guidance to building a successful CLIL based project

by Christin Müller | EuropaBeratung Berlin

You’re thinking that CLIL is a great approach to language learning, you did a lot of research and you are excited to implement CLIL in YOUR school!

You also have a team of colleagues supporting you and even your boss is fine with a new project. But how to start? What will you have to do first and what are the next steps? How can you make sure that your idea will be accepted by all your fellow colleagues?

Communicate your project!

For a new project in a school to be successful it needs to be clearly communicated during the entire process. Therefore, please make sure from the start that:

Everyone knows WHAT happens WHEN and WHERE

and especially WHY and with WHICH goal!

Remember - when you are trying to enlist support and for people to join a common cause they need to have the benefits outlined clearly. Benefits personally, professionally, for the school and the wider community. Even the persons not directly involved need this information. Clear communication is needed, the availability of the basic information about the project must be guaranteed, the added value for your school AND the students should be easily understood. For example: Will there be teacher trainings or school events and how much time do the people involved with the project have to spend on the various tasks?

Know the tasks ahead of you - towards an implementation concept!

In order to communicate clearly you must understand the tasks of your project yourself!

For this, the formulation of your goals is an important step. To formulate your goals in a meaningful way, that helps you to identify the necessary tasks, please consider the SMART-formula.

This way your goals should be formulated to be:

o Specific (simple, sensible, significant).

o Measurable (meaningful, motivating).

o Achievable (agreed, attainable).

o Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).

o Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

The next step will be the identification and planning of the necessary tasks. For this every milestone/work package (milestone planning, “Gant Chart”) must be considered and written down. Perhaps a search for funding possibilities and deadlines. Looking for support from colleagues who have done it before or local advisors from the Educational Authority.

And finally, you will have to define a framework for working with the project. For example, how much money is available, who is responsible for certain tasks, how do we measure our success?

All these points: goal-definition, milestone/work-package planning and definition of the general framework come together in your implementation concept.

It describes the framework of tasks, conditions and necessary processes for all those, who are involved in the project.

1. Responsibility of the management and leadership

2. Responsibilities for all partners involved

3. Background / as-is analysis

4. Goals to be achieved

5. Milestones/work packages

6. Instruments and methods and their value for the process

7. Resources (Time and money)

8. Qualification, training

9. Knowledge management / Evaluation / Controlling

The success in implementing a project or a new working method depends on many different factors, which can vary greatly from organization to organization and school to school. Think of different organizational cultures, different work processes, existing or sometimes non-existing support from the management, the commitment of the staff or the current situation regarding language teaching at your school.

In any case, the advantages of a strategic overall planning are that the further strategic procedure is determined, the implementation is concretized by individual operative work steps and additionally it acts as a binding work planning for all involved.

So - go for it!