En una de las sesiones del seminario de nuevos centros bilingües, le pedimos a Alberto Garrido, profesor del CEIP Rosales del Canal, que nos respondiera, desde su punto de vista y la experiencia de su centro, a las “preguntas frecuentes” sobre los programas bilingües (las “Frequently Asked Questions”). Aunque en principio las respuestas se refieren al contexto de los centros de infantil y primaria, algunas de ellas también se podrían aplicar a los centros de secundaria.


How do you involve parents and colleagues in a bilingual project? How can we motivate and involve the teachers at school?

  • Every school is different, don’t compare it to other schools (there’s a different context, there are different students, teaching staff…)
  • Try to get all the teachers at school involved: with your work,  try and show them that it’s possible.
  • All of the teachers are in a bilingual school!!  (not just the project teachers) [It takes time, though]
  • All the school take part in the celebrations, in the same way that project teachers take part in carnival, or other school celebrations.

Is it better to teach Social Sciences or Science through English?

  • There’s no difference. The important thing, how students get contents and skills through a communicative approach

For example,

  • Explain a poster
  • Create a leaflet
  • Write a story

Which is the best way of organising the staff in the first stages of a bilingual project?

  • Try to establish a linguistic referent: the teacher is a model, so the teacher must speak English all the time: in the classroom, in the corridors, in the street…

(He never speaks Spanish to students- to build up their confidence)


  • Every time a project is finished, parents are invited to come.
  • Sometimes, parents are invited to come to lessons (for example, on Friday afternoons). If they can speak English, some of them join in. Then the teacher doesn’t have to convince parents any more, because they know what’s going on.
  • You can also invite other teachers, to involve them as well.

How can you involve parents that do not speak English?

  • Parents, don’t panic: parents don’t need to teach them English (or anything). Rather, teach them values- leave the teaching to the teacher (trust us)
  • Also: Social networking sites ( Facebook page, blog…) to share what they do in class with parents. Parents find it useful. Kids’ faces are never shown


  • Essential: project teacher and class teacher must be planning together
  • infants’ coordinator and primary coordinator have weekly meetings to plan ahead
  • When the teacher asks the question, they give the answer to their partner…then, whole class (that’s an established routine).
  • The classroom teacher, involved in the project as well (for ex. shooting the video). She did some related project as well in Spanish.


How to involve kids who can’t really speak English?

  • Example: Show and tell: they have to prepare it at home
  • They have to think of how to prepare the speech
  • Think of the questions their classmates might ask
  • Lower ability students can prepare a 5- sentence show and tell (instead of the longer speech other students might prepare, so you can reach all sorts of students
  • Students have to ask relevant questions- fostering critical thinking
  • Parents are invited to the class
  • There’s no pressure on the students- Show and tell is done once a term, but students do it whenever they’re ready
  • You get to know the students…you learn about their interests
  • Students explain  to younger students from other classes: everyone loves it—whole school project
  • Integrating the content from different areas…

How to assess contents / language? What is more important?

  • It depends on what you’re assessing…if students can understand and apply the contents from Science / History, etc….then the content is the important thing- focus on that
  • If you’re doing literacy…then language is the important thing…but beware: they are bound to make mistakes
  • Assessment through writing? In curricular areas? There are lots of other ways to assess children…nothing to do with writing (ex.projects)
  • Assessment of learning…summative…I’ m going to teach 1,2,3… At then end, you will repeat what I said
  • Assessment for learning…every student will know where they stand in their learning…where they need to go…and how they’re going to get there…so teacher can help them where they are…give lots of feedback
  • Assessment techniques…ongoing assessment tools…students’ confidence is boosted

LOW-ABILITY CHILDREN…learning difficulties

  • Promote a “partnering pedagogy”= teacher as a helper
  • (Vs. Bullimic pedagogy…I want you to learn this)
  • Class arranged into mixed ability- groups / pairs, depending on the activity / purpose of learning
  • Differentiating…same activity, but different levels of attainment
  • Flexibility (small groups), independent learners
  • Effective coordination with teachers
  • Kids with learning difficulties…both in English and Spanish
  • Late comers to the project: it’s just a matter of time. They can start working with a “good” student.



If you’re not ready to do something big, then do something you feel confident with