Gintarė Ragauskaitė interviews Katarzyna Papaja

1. What advice could you give for young inexperienced teachers?

I would say that they should always follow their dreams and try and reach their teaching aims. Young teachers will experience many difficult situations, but they should never give up.

2. Do children like being taught by the CLIL method? What do they particularly like and dislike?

It really depends on the age. When we talk about young learners in primary school, they usually learn subjects like Art and Music in English. They like learning various subjects in English because it is fun. As long as theteacher treats it as a kind of fun, the children will like it. As for the teenagers, what I’ve noticed is that at the very beginning of the CLIL education they were very enthusiastic and they really liked it but at the end of their school years they were not so enthusiastic because they could see how time consuming it was – you need to study really hard because you learn concepts in a foreign language that may be even difficult in your native language. They had mixed feelings about that. As for university students, they were always enthusiastic. They had a different attitude, because they knew that it was connected to their future – if they study subjects in English, they could also study abroad and so have a better life – earn more money, get a better job etc.

3. Why is CLIL worth the effort?

I believe that nowadays, in the 21st century, when the job market is so competitive, you need to do something more. Learning the content subjects in English gives you a possibility to master both the content and the language. Nowadays it is not enough to know just the language, you need to know something more to be successful in life and especially in your professional career, so I definitely believe CLIL is worth the effort.

4. What is the future of CLIL in Poland and the Baltic region?

I am a person who is always very positive, so I hope the future of CLIL isn’t gloomy, but we need to introduce lots of changes and we also need to start from the very top –the Ministry of Education. We need to have some wise people there who would understand what CLIL is about and who would support it.  For the time being, I cannot see much support. If we had more support from the top, it would be much easier. I believe it will happen.