Problem Solving

Patrizia Corradini, Language 1 class teacher (Italian)
Veronica Tiziani, Language 2 class teacher (German)

IC Bassa Atesina
Scuola primaria “G: Segantini”, Bronzolo (Bolzano), Italy
Grundschule in ital. Sprache “G. Segantini”, Branzoll (Bozen), Italy
14.47 minutes
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In this film we see a Maths lesson in 2nd form of primary school in South Tyrol, where the L1 language is Italian and L2 language is German. The children have a total of six hours a week with mathematics: four hours in Italian language and two hours in the German language with the presence of both teachers (L1 and L2).

The lessons in German are a total of nine hours per week. In addition to the two Maths lessons there are further five lessons of German language, one lesson of Science and one lesson of Gym. In the filmed lesson both class teachers are present and the language used to convey content is German, used by both teachers.

The role of the L1 (Italian) teacher is to support the colleague in the lesson activities concerning the development of mathematical skills in problem solving.

The two teachers have been working together for two years and this is their second year in a Math CLIL class. There is a CLIL meeting once a week where the teachers discuss strategies, objectives and tasks for the coming activities.

Like every lesson in L2 this lesson opens with a brief daily ritual of greetings. Then children are invited to recognize three problem situations. Given a comic strip they decode the problem represented in plenum (either a plus story or a minus story). They observe a sequence of drawings including beginning and end of the situation and make hypothesis about the missing information (operator). Pupils formulate a pertinent and resolvable question and report orally.

A drama session takes place in order to show the problem and its solution: with this technique teachers can check how much pupils have understood and it also helps the classmates to understand the situation better. Due to the pupils’ age, by acting the kids grasp the concept better and fix the content deeply.

Finally the pupils are divided into two groups and they represent other problematic situations through drawing (working on superficial level or deeper level by using different contexts and data). Starting from the reading of a problematic situation divided into three parts, pupils highlight and record the data in a chart to answer the given question. Finally there is always a self-evaluation moment where children, either in plenary or individually, give teachers their feedback about what they have experienced.


Questions to discuss

  1. What are the quality elements in a CLIL lesson?
  2. What kind of CLIL lesson would you carry out with your students?
  3. What would you have done differently in this lesson? And why?


Home page of school district Bassa Atesina:

A short description about CLIL on Europees platform and related videos:


Literature sources
Cummins, J. 2000. Language, Power and Pedagoy: Bilingual Children in the Crossfire. Clevendon: Multilingual Matters

Breitbach S., Wolff D., Bach G., 2002. Bilingualer Sachfachunterricht: Didaktik, Lehrer-/ Lernerforschung Und Bildungspolitik Zwischen Theorie Und Empirie (Mehrsprachigkeit in Schule Und Unterricht), Peter Lang