The 6th Biennial CLIL Symposium, hosted by Universidad de La Sabana, Pearson Colombia and University del Norte took place on the picturesque campus of UniNorte in Barranquilla the weekend of September 9th, 2016. The event kicked off with an opening speech from Pía Osorio, Director of the Instituto de Idiomas at UniNorte, followed by a keynote session from consultant and trainer Phil Ball. Following Ball’s impressive lecture on the three dimensions of content for assessment in CLIL, the day continued with informative presentations, which symposium participants selected from and attended at their leisure.
An inspiring presentation from Yudis Contreras Martínez, a Language Professor teaching English, Literature and Hispanic Culture at the University of Cartagena, highlighted her project from SUNY-Oneonta, where students interacted virtually to develop relationships with students in Colombia, as part of the international project with Kansai University utilizing communication and cultural connections through COIL (Collaborative, Online, International Program) blended activities.
Next, a lively CLIL Question and Answer Session from symposium keynote speaker and author David Marsh, involved many curiosities and inquiries from event participants, as well as dashes of humor about global learning procedures and practices. Despite the overall sense of joviality in the session, Marsh was able to convey several meaningful and focused aspects on the importance of understanding and applying CLIL for both trainers and learners.
After a lengthy lunch break and second keynote session from Mary Schleppegrell on language and meaning across disciplinary cultures, an excellent presentation from UniNorte professor Trey Erwin about using CLIL as a method to teach international business students in Colombia how to write online business content, was rich with current trends in hashtags, keywords and phrases. Offering helpful information on to boost social media connections and get content noticed, as well as educating adult learners as part of the ongoing process, Erwin delivered some excellent, original ideas.
The first day of the symposium wrapped up nicely with cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres at Restaurante 1966, as slightly exhausted but clearly inspired educators and speakers mingled together, snapping photos and exchanging contact information.
On day two of the 6th Biennial CLIL Symposium, participants were treated to more keynote speakers and breakout sessions, again selecting from a list of informative lectures on a variety of topics.
While attendance on day two seemed a bit lower, with a shorter break for lunch and a typical coastal rainstorm drenching the UniNorte campus, the CLIL Symposium continued to deliver exceptional ideas for learning and teaching throughout the afternoon.
A final presentation from Deborah Short addressed the question “What Can CLIL Learn from Sheltered Instruction Research?” while closing ceremony attendees listened intently, adding ideas to their notepads. As the event ended with final photos and goodbyes, the overall consensus showed most of those participating were grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the 2016 CLIL Symposium which, as overhead by one individual, was an innovative and inspirational success.