At the end of October, ZNU teachers attended a five-day study visit to Estonia as part of the MultiEd international educational project “Foreign Language Teacher Training Capacity Development as a Way to Ukraine’s Multilingual Education and European Integration / MultiEd” under the umbrella of Erasmus+ KA2 project. Associate Professors of the Department of English Philology and Linguistic Didactics Natalia Nadtochii, Maryna Zaluzhna and Senior Lecturer of the Department of Theory and Practice of English Translation Viktoriia Pohonets visited the Estonian cities – Tallinn, Tartu and Narva. The visit was devoted to getting acquainted with the specifics of the application of the methodology of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) in Estonian educational institutions.
It should be mentioned that this was the first face-to-face visit to European partners in the MultiEd project in order to comprehensively study the experience and effective practices of language immersion in the process of learning a foreign language in educational institutions of different levels of education. The organizer and coordinator of all events was the project manager of the University of Tartu Oleksandra Golovko.
During the study visit, guests observed the peculiarities of the organization of teachers' activities, preparation of learning materials and assessment within the CLIL methodology in Estonian universities. They visited the Estonian Center for Language Integration Eesti keele maja and took an active part in a round table discussion on language policy and multilingualism in Estonia. The director of Integration Foundation Irena Käosaar, who has visited ZNU several times as a coach and expert on multilingual education, moderated the round table.
The program provided an opportunity to visit the Tareke kindergarten institution, attend classes on the method of language immersion, analyze and discuss the classes attended, as well as the benefits and problems of CLIL and language immersion with educators and director Elena Konovalova. After preschool education, the participants visited secondary schools: Tallinna Pae Gümnaasium (Tallinn), Tartu Aleksander Puškini school (Tartu), Vanalinna Riigikool (Narva). Visitors participated in round tables with the management of institutions and teachers specializing in the application of CLIL methodology and language immersion Isabella Riitsaar, Alina Braziulene and Tatiana Stepanova. Teachers exchanged views on strategies for implementing language immersion programs and integrated subject and language teaching in Estonia.
In addition, during the visit ZNU teachers met at the University of Tartu with the coordinator of grant programs Egle Rumel da Costa and discussed aspects of international activities and project management of the University of Tartu, as well as the details of implementation of MultiEd project. At Narva College of the University of Tartu educators took part in a seminar on exchange of experience "Teacher training at Narva College and teacher training in Estonia" with Piret Kärtner, Study Director of Narva College, and Denis Larchenko, Programme Manager.
The highlight of the study visit was the participation in a large-scale educational event - VIII International Conference "Trends and problems of CLIL methodology and English language teaching" (Narva), whose speakers were experts from Estonia, Germany, Spain, Great Britain and the United States. We joined the discussion on the most pressing issues and the latest approaches to teaching English in modern realities.
As a result of the visit, the participants learned about the peculiarities of CLIL methodology implementation in Estonian educational institutions, got acquainted with the challenges of using language immersion and successful examples of overcoming them, had the opportunity to observe and analyze the application of CLIL in practice. ways of organizing educational space, which maximally promotes language immersion. The teachers also discussed with Estonian colleagues the assessment strategies within the CLIL methodology, the principle of continuity and the organization of teacher cooperation. Particular attention was paid to the topical issue of the use of CLIL and language immersion during distance learning.
Associate Professor Natalia Nadtochii shared her observations: “Having systematized the experience gained during the study visit, I can say that the introduction of CLIL and language immersion in Estonia is based on the following principles. First, the multilingual education program in Estonia is public, and participation in it is voluntary for parents, children and educational institutions. Secondly, when applying the CLIL methodology, the subject, language and learning skills are equally important, and the amount of foreign language learning in the program is at least 60%. Third, there are different forms of immersion (early, late, partial). Teacher cooperation is an important factor in the success of the program, where the principle works: one teacher, one language.”
Associate Professor Maryna Zaluzhna, analyzing the experience of Estonian colleagues, notes: “The advantages of CLIL and language immersion include: expanding intercultural competencies of students; development of communication skills in a foreign language in a familiar environment; development of cognitive abilities, thinking and disclosure of creative potential of students; increasing the motivation of students, their self-confidence; training of all speech skills simultaneously; does not require additional training hours.”
Viktoriia Pohonets shares the following impressions from the visit: “The high level of cooperation and support of children and parents, as well as teachers, is particularly impressive. CLIL and language immersion positively affect the learning outcomes and personality of each participant in the learning process”.
The participants of the internship believe that the knowledge acquired during the visit can be used in ZNU in the future to update educational programs and curricula. The Faculty of Foreign Philology continues to develop and implement new disciplines in English using the CLIL methodology, in particular the CLIL Methodology, Language. Culture. Society” and so on. In the future it is planned to hold methodological seminars on the implementation of CLIL methodology and language immersion in the framework of professional development of teachers of the city and region, interdepartmental seminars for ZNU teachers who teach non-language subjects in English, preparation of scientific publications and conference reports.
The results of the MultiEd study visit to Estonia prove the viability of the CLIL methodology and language immersion to improve the training programs for bachelor's and master's degrees in Philology and Secondary Education at Zaporizhzhia National University.