Latest news at La Dante in Cambridge

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Learning with creative, audio visual projects: Harry Potter theme

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When a child is immersed into learning a new language with creative, audio visual projects, not only they develop their language skills but that increases their capacity in story telling, make believe, acting and reciting. We did an interesting…

4 Reasons why learning a new language requires full immersion

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If you are anything like me and the millions of students who've gone through the American public school system, learning a foreign language is nothing short of a joke. Despite our education system's best intentions, classroom learning is an…

Celebrating the XV week of the Italian language in the world

La Dante in Cambridge is proud to promote the XV Italian language celebration in the world - under the High Patronage of the President of the Republic with a series ofVertical Readings in Dante’s Comedy The public lectures are at 6…

Enjoy A New Skill – Learn Italian

At La Dante in Cambridge Enjoy a unique experience of language and culture  New classes are starting September 7th  Open Days 3,4 & 5 September, 9.30-17.30 Facts about learning the language of love as it’s…

Supporting the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and Thorpe Hall Hospice

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La Dante is proud to support BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, who are organising an auction to raise money for the county’s hospice Thorpe Hall. The hospice has been BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s chosen charity partner this year, as they are raising…

Partnership with the University of Padua, Erasmus Programme

Partnerships Discover another language and culture … be inspired!Partnership with the Department of Italian, Cambridge University We have established a great partnership with the Department of Italian at Cambridge…

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5 Reasons for Studying Languages Online (vs. Face-to-Face Classroom)

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“Shall I take my next course online or shall I stick with my face-to-face classes?”

If you are reading this post, it is possible that you are toying with the idea of signing up for an online course, but perhaps you don’t have a lot of experience studying online, if at all.

If you have taken face-to-face classes all your life, being a little apprehensive at the beginning is normal, even if you are tech-savvy. However, taking an online course, as opposed to a face-to-face class, definitely has its perks. Here are five advantages to studying languages online.

    1. Enhance your career or study to improve your communication when you are abroad

During lockdown, you may have more time to focus on learning a language and dream of your next trip when all the restrictions with international travel are lifted.

An online live session gives you great interaction with your teacher and your fellow classmates at your own pace through break out rooms in Zoom.

In a survey at Learning House: 44% of online students reported improvements in their employment standing and 45% reported a salary increase. By the time you finish your online course, you will have gained more work experience and learned new skills that will help you advance in your career, or if you study for fun, a great result for your future trips or family and friends reunions in the chosen country where the language is spoken!

2. Maximise your study time at home

By studying online with live native teachers, you choose your own learning environment that works best for your needs: be it your bedroom, your study or when this lockdown ends, the café across the street, or your local gym. Or if you just missed your class, you can listen to your teacher’s class recording as you run on the treadmill. Isn’t that awesome?

Taking an online course also means that you don’t have to commute to class, which means less time spent on the bus or car and more study time learning.

  1. Extra time to read or listen to podcasts
    As we are all in lockdown right now, it’s great to develop our skills and improve our knowledge, be more exposed to the language of our choice by reading more newspapers, apps for languages like com or and if you prefer listening to podcasts, listen to Radio Dante podcasts with programmes in Italian/English and Spanish/English on a variety of cultural topics.
  2. Self-discipline and responsibility

Who says that having to be more self-disciplined is a disadvantage? It is true that studying online requires more self-motivation and time-management skills, because you will spend a lot of time on your own without someone physically close to keep you focused on deadlines. Look at it this way: your online course will not only teach you languages and cultural topics, it will also help you become more self-motivated, a trait that will make you stand out in the workplace and beyond.

  1. More choice of language course topics
    Let’s face it, when thinking about what to study, besides for interest and career opportunities, whereto study is also a deciding factor. By taking an online course, you can really focus on the subject you are interested in and choose from the variety of online courses and programs.

I only listed five benefits to learning online but, having been an online student myself, I know there are many more. Can you think of other advantages or reasons why you prefer to take your next course online? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!

And don’t forget to follow us on FB, Istagram or Twitter and let us know what you think.


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The International GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) we held this year was a project to teach English B2 level, Geography and Maths in English for the best students coming from the Lyceum Fardella-Ximenes in Trapani, Sicily.  The thirty-five Italian students aged 14 and 15 came to La Dante in our lovely Cambridge in February for two weeks. Our English CELTA qualified teachers organised interesting and stimulating tasks in and out of the classroom that went far beyond the exam preparation. The students’ commitment and interaction was excellent and so were the tutors who accompanied them, Prof Matteo Peraino and Prof.ssa Lucia Abate who were pivotal for the success of the project. The course programmes were topical and planned accurately, with challenging and stimulating activities. For each course, they had to run interviews and research, presentations and debates.  In the Geography class, they discussed themes based on environmental issues, such as climate change, hurricanes, and weather forecasting. They studied issues related to cities and specific industrialised countries. Teaching and discussions during these themes were both rewarding and newsworthy as the students came from one of the most beautiful places in Sicily where pollution problems are extremely low.  As the IGCSE programme developed into English B2 level they discussed and enriched their vocabulary and enriched their speech. The lessons focused on social media, law and order, and sustainable fashion. They took several tests in preparation for their exam next year.

As for IGCSE Maths we had the professor Alex Datta who helped them consolidate the maths programme in view of their exams: from differentiation questions to understanding quadratic functions, the students responded well and were proactive during the whole course. The teenagers have also been given the opportunity to take advantage of our beautiful city to enjoy British culture. So the teaching was integrated by a social programme, which included a walking tour of Cambridge. The first point of interest was the iconic King’s College, and then they gained a better insight into what Cambridge University life is like by visiting a variety of colleges. Of course, the Cambridge experience would not have been complete without a punting trip under an incredible February sunshine. The group also went to Grantchester to enjoy a walk through its typically British meadows. Along with the cultural experience, we offered them karaoke evenings and the screenings of British films to relax after their hard work. They really enjoyed that and at the weekend they visited the nearby cathedral town of Ely, as well as London.

It’s safe to say the group experienced everything British weather has to offer, from the unseasonal February sunshine and blue skies to gale-force winds and hail. We’re grateful to them for bringing the sunshine!    Our teachers and our team really enjoyed meeting them. We took the opportunity to interview these excellent and motivated students to find out their take on the experience. Here is what they thought about the IGCSE course in English, Maths, and Geography at La Dante in Cambridge:

Alessandro: “This experience is a big opportunity because I think that studying in Cambridge, in England is a big opportunity to improve my skills and my language. I really like La Dante teachers, (Michael Jill, Michael Brown, Rebecca Caute, Alex Datta, Gudrun Hughes) we talked about current affairs, and my English is improving a lot. The best thing is that we always speak in English. In Trapani you study English but here it is a different type of study, much more effective, of course”

Aurelia: “I am enjoying this experience. I haveimproved my pronunciation as well as my understanding. I feel more confident. The thing I like the most is that I am learning about English culture and traditions. Also the family who hosts me helps me in this because they often talk to me, so I feel more confident when I speak in English.

Martina: Professors are really good, they’re nice and gentle and we are practicing writing, speaking, listening and learning a lot of words.

Ruben: The teachers are so well prepared, my objective is improving my English skills, and I can feel more comfortable in communicating. I also love being with my friends and at the same time learning new things. Cambridge is a very nice city, and the people, who live here, such as my house family, are lovely and hospital.

Martina II: This is my first time in England with the school and my classmates. I think that it is something that everyone has to do because we can do so many new experiences, we can learn so many things about the language, culture, and tradition in England. Cambridge is a beautiful city. The best thing about this city is the place itself. I loved the punting tour on the river Cam.

Giuseppe: I am really enjoying this experience at la Dante in Cambridge because the teachers are so good and the atmosphere is very nice. We are lucky because we can practice a lot with high-qualified teachers. The things I like the most are the lessons themselves because they are perfect.

Alberto: La Dante is a happy place, and Cambridge is a really nice city. I am so enjoying this experience. It is very effective because you are in a city where people do not talk your language and so you have to push yourself. I am always with English people. The things I like the most is being with my friends and seeing Cambridge, its parks, cinemas, and colleges. Living with British family is so cool. I am enjoying this because you only talk English with them.

Serena: I am learning a lot about the English culture and habits. I really like the city with it monuments and the colleges and also the people who are very kind. Here they eat very early in the evening and this is strange for us because we have dinner at 8 pm and they from 5 to 7 pm. On a typical day, in the morning we go on trips, we visit the city with a guide or the teachers, and on the afternoon we have the lessons on Geography, Maths and English teacher. My favourite subjects are English and Latin. I am a very curios person, I want to discover this culture because I think it is important for my future to use a good English. It is the first language in the world, so the first tool to find a good job and to learn more about other people habits. I really like La Dante teachers, they are very kind and they make us feel at home. Thank you so much La Dante in Cambridge!

  We welcome more IGCSE projects in English, Maths, and Geography, and of course for other subjects. Our European Cultural Centre, La Dante in Cambridge attracts the best qualified trained native teachers and we have been developing exclusive projects in Europe since 2011.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us at:

The benefits of learning a new language and playing tennis

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In Cambridge the special partnership between the sport organisation Cambridge Tennis Academy and the European language school La Dante in Cambridge

Whatever your age, the health benefits of playing sports and learning a foreign language dramatically improves your quality of life and slows any age-related cognitive decline.

This is an established fact and is what inspired the special partnership between the Cambridge Tennis Academy and the European Cultural Centre La Dante in Cambridge.

The CTA run by Rob Ellis since 2015 delivers tennis for everyone: quality groups and individual coaching, tennis camps and fun competitions all year round.  The organisation is mainly based at Chesterton Sports Centre and delivers coaching at many more venues across Cambridge, working in partnership with Cambridge City Council, Head UK and park-tennis too. Its main aim is to help children and adults play and enjoy their tennis through a fun and inclusive programme for all ages and abilities which also includes free Fridays and Saturdays Social tennis for children (for more info visit the website The very special benefit of playing tennis is that this sport challenges your mind and your body at the same time: the game keeps the players’ mind occupied while the entire body gets an excellent workout. As a matter of fact, tennis can be as effective as jogging or an aerobic class (just consider that playing tennis for one hour burns about 600 calories.) Here are some of the benefits you might not know. It lowers blood pressure and body fat, improves metabolic functions, and increases bone density. It also improves muscle tone, strength and flexibility. It helps reduce stress and keeps your mind attentive. Other than its great physical advantages, tennis is also a good way to meet people and to spend time together, and being a non-impact sport makes it suitable for every age.  Do you know that physical activities improve learning a second language tooRecent studies* have shown that working-out enhances learning a completely unfamiliar L2 vocabulary. It is well known that according to the research learning a new language is very beneficial for brain health regardless of when you start. This might be one of the reasons why the partnership between the Cambridge Tennis Academy and the European Cultural Centre La Dante in Cambridge works so successfully.

 Learning a foreign language, in fact, boots brainpower because it makes your brain absorb new complex patterns, it improves your thinking and decision-making skills, and it also increases networking skills. One of the most positive aspects is that it keeps the mind sharp for longer preventing dementia and Alzheimer (according to many studies for monolingual adults, the mean age for the first signs of dementia is 71.4, for adults who speak two or more languages, the mean age for those first signs is 75.5). Your memory and your first language improve as well.

As well as the CTA, La Dante in Cambridge offers services for the good of the community and its members (more info at The European centre, a cultural association not-for-profit, runs languages courses with native teachers (English, Italian, and Spanish) for every level and for every age (the youngest student is 4 years old and the oldest one, Margaret, at the age of 90 has never missed a lesson at school). Founded by Giulia Portuese-Williams 12 years ago, La Dante shares with Rob Ellis’s organisation the same philosophy offering to its members free side business activities, such as seminars, bilingual lunch, and language contests. From the partnership, an interesting project focused on this winning combination has arisen. The English language courses at La Dante in Cambridge will be accompanied by tennis courses at the Cambridge Tennis Academy to permit the students to immerse themselves in the true British culture and socialise with native speakers while playing.  Learning a new language in Cambridge and playing tennis have never been more enjoyable and effective. So why do not invest in yourself and get started with sport and a new language?

For more info  01223315191 – –

Advantages of learning English via Skype – Great for professionals

by Alexis Loizou for La Dante in Cambridge

Most business English students want to learn English because it is the most common language spoken in business. It is the main language of the Internet, Conference call meetings and Skype calls … and many technical manuals are written in English too. Other students want to learn the vocabulary that is specific to their industry (Ai, future technology) or their department (accounting, finance or marketing).

Whatever your reason, learning English via Skype is a great way to increase your vocabulary, improve your fluency and listening ability and create better conversation.

Skype lessons have a number of advantages:

  • They are highly convenient, just one hour during the day (no travel time involved)
  • They are one-to-one, not big classes: just you and a teacher!
  • You focus on the subjects that improve your English most
  • You spend the whole lesson engaged in conversation
  • The topics of conversation can be about work/projects, news or world events

Lessons tend to be based on a mixture of topics that include: work related vocabulary, speaking skills, grammar focus, subjects of personal interest and discussion. Students learn as much from lessons about sports and cooking as they do about writing business emails. The emphasis is on keeping the lessons interesting and engaging while working on speaking issues like syntax and pronunciation.

What previous students have said about Skype learning with La Dante:  

“This particular approach has noticeably improved my comprehension of spoken English as well as my fluency in speaking. Particularly I’d like to mention the stress put on the coverage of phrasal verbs: for a foreign learner to be able to use a high amount of phrases that vary their meaning according to context, it is perhaps the greatest challenge and most successful achievement.”

CLIL: consigli pratici per insegnanti

Esiste una ricetta per il CLIL?

Molto è stato scritto su cosa sia la metodologia CLIL e perché utilizzarla ma esistono poche guide pratiche su come pianificare e impartire lezioni basate sul CLIL. Se sei un insegnante di materie non linguistiche a cui è stato chiesto di tenere le proprie lezioni in inglese o se sei un insegnante di lingua straniera a cui è stato chiesto di aiutare i propri colleghi ad insegnare le altre materie in lingua straniera, forse sarai alla ricerca del modo migliore per farlo. Secondo noi CLIL non significa solo trovare la ricetta perfetta ma piuttosto un viaggio avventuroso per cui partire  – ma non senza alcune essenziali linee guida.

CLIL: da dove iniziare?

Ci sono alcune cose che devi assolutamente tenere in considerazione quando inizi a pianificare lezioni fondate ulla metodologia CLIL. Prima di tutto, pensa a chi sono i tuoi studenti – al loro livello di inglese (o qualunque altra lingua seconda utilizzerai per trasmettere i contenuti), alle loro conoscenze pregresse riguardo la materie che insegnerai loro, e cosa essi si aspettano dalla classe. Una volta stabilito questo, puoi iniziare ad abbozzare il programma da seguire, facendo in modo che il livello di conoscenza della lingua dei tuoi studenti sia compatibile con il contenuto e i materiali che vuoi utilizzare. 

Ecco due esempi per far risaltare l’impatto che il livello di conoscenza linguistica dei tuoi studenti può avere sulle tue lezioni. Durante un corso basato sul CLIL che abbiamo tenuto in una scuola superiore italiana abbiamo avuto la possibilità di insegnare a studenti con un livello abbastanza alto di inglese. Questo ci ha permesso di focalizarci sull’aspetto del contenuto (in quel caso arte e scienze) mentre l’inglese era solo il mezzo utilizzato per tenere le lezioni. Con questi studenti abbiamo potuto adattare il materiale progettato per alunni inglesi. Abbiamo in seguito avuto un’altra esperienza in una scuola in cui il livello di inglese degli studenti era più carente. Questo ci ha obbligato a scegliere un approccio maggiormente focalizzato sugli aspetti linguistici, concentrandoci in particolare sul vocabolario relativo alle materie in questione (in tal caso educazione fisica e musica). Per questi alunni, i libri di testo destinati a madrelingua inglesi erano troppo difficili da un punto di vista linguistico, così abbiamo adattato e creato il il materiale preesistente in modo da a) insegnare concetti chiave e vocabolario riguardante educazione fisica e musica e b) sviluppare le loro abilità linguistiche, con l’obiettivo di renderli capaci di utilizzare veri libri di testo inglese durante l’ultimo anno di scuola.

Come selezionare il materiale corretto?

Un importante fattore da considerare quando si seleziona il materiale è evitare di sovraccaricare gli studenti con troppe informazioni che non sarebbero in grado di elaborare. Per farlo si può selezionare un contenuto relativamente semplice o scegliere qualcosa di cui si è già parlato nella lingua madre e utilizzare il corso fondato sul CLIL come modo per ripassare e approfondire i contenuti.

Gli insegnanti potrebbero trovare utile lavorare sui libri di testo inglesi progettati per studenti madrelingua delle scuole primarie. Ciò può avere vantaggi sia per l’insegnante che per gli studenti: dal punto di vista contenutistico, il livello di questi libri non è molto difficile ma fornisce un contesto autentico per il vocabolario di cui gli studenti avranno bisogno in seguito. Per quanto riguarda gli insegnanti, possono utilizzare esercizi già fatti per testare le conoscenze degli studenti a livello di contenuto e nel frattempo concentrarsi sullo sviluppo di ulteriori attività utili per consolidare le abilità linguistiche in lingua straniera dei loro studenti.

Risorse online per il CLIL

Internet offre numerose risorse per gli insegnanti: per esempio, il British Council e editori come Pearson hanno numerosi contenuti gratuiti online. Puoi anche dare un’occhiata al modello di una lezione sull’Induismo tenuta seguendo la metodologia CLIL qui. Potrai trovare ulteriori idee su questa pagina.

È molto importante per gli insegnanti di lingua straniera e non lavorare insieme come in un gruppo. Condividere idee e osservarsi l’un l’altro durante la lezione può davvero dare una grande spinta alle tue abilità e conoscenze riguardo al CLIL.

Per esempio, gli insegnanti di materie diverse da quelle di lingua straniera hanno una grande quantità di materiale di cui probabilmente potrai trovare equivalenti in inglese, e gli insegnanti di lingua straniera probabilmente hanno idee e suggerimenti su come sfruttare questi materiali per fini linguistici.

Analisi dei materiale e come usarli al meglio 

Il vocabolario è uno dei primi aspetti da considerare  –ci sono termini tecnici o specialistici che i tuoi studenti avranno bisogno di conoscere per il corso o per comprendere i testi? Se questo è il caso, assicurati di spiegarlo loro per tempo sottoponendo agli studenti esercizi in cui devono abbinare la parola a definizioni o immagini, utilizzando esercizi di completamento o aiutando gli studenti a dedurre il significato a partire dal contesto.

Idee pratiche: la tua lezione probabilmente si concentrerà sulla comprensione generale di un testo principale – rendilo più interessante utilizzando esercizi di comprensione come information gapsjigsaw reading tasks e jumble tasks. Le attività di rinforzo possono focalizzarsi sul potenziamento del vocabolario insegnato in precedenza agli studenti e sullo sviluppo sia delle abilità linguistiche che della comprensione dell’argomento. QUeste attività possono includere discussioni di gruppo, presentazioni individuali, creazione di poster e redazione di testi sull’argomento.

Per maggiori informazioni riguardo ai nostri corsi CLIL non esitare a contattarci:

CLIL: consejos prácticos para profesores

¿Hay alguna receta para CLIL?

Mucho se ha escrito sobre qué es CLIL y por qué hacerlo, pero hay muy pocas guías prácticas sobre cómo planificar y enseñar CLIL. Si eres un profesor de materias al que se le ha pedido que enseñe en inglés o un profesor de idiomas al que se le ha pedido que ayude a enseñar contenido, probablemente estás buscando la mejor manera de hacerlo. En nuestra opinión, CLIL no solo trata de encontrar la receta perfecta, sino más bien un viaje de aventura en el que puede embarcarse, pero no sin algunas pautas esenciales.

CLIL: ¿por dónde empezar?

Hay algunas cosas que debes tener en cuenta cuando comiences a planear una clase CLIL. Antes que nada, piensa en quiénes son sus alumnos: su nivel de inglés (o lo que sea que sea el segundo idioma), su conocimiento previo del contenido que les va a enseñar y lo que esperan de la clase. Una vez que lo sepa, puede comenzar a delinear el programa que desea seguir, haciendo coincidir el nivel de idioma de sus estudiantes con el contenido y seleccionando los materiales para usar.

Aquí hay dos ejemplos para subrayar el impacto que el nivel de idioma de sus estudiantes podría tener en su curso. Durante un curso CLIL, nos postulábamos en Italia en una escuela secundaria, enseñamos a estudiantes que tenían un nivel bastante alto de inglés. Esto nos permitió enfocarnos más en el lado del contenido (en ese caso, Artes y Ciencia) y el idioma inglés fue solo el medio que utilizamos para impartir las clases. Con estos estudiantes, pudimos adaptar material diseñado para alumnos nativos de inglés. Luego tuvimos otra experiencia en una escuela donde el nivel de inglés de los estudiantes era bastante débil. Esto nos obligó a elegir un enfoque más orientado al lenguaje, centrándonos en el vocabulario particular relacionado con las áreas de contenido (en este caso PE y Música). Con estos alumnos, los libros de texto nativos de inglés eran demasiado difíciles desde el punto de vista lingüístico, así que adaptamos y creamos nuestros propios materiales a) para enseñar conceptos clave y vocabulario sobre PE y música y b) desarrollar sus habilidades lingüísticas, con el objetivo de permitirles utilizar libros de texto con contenido real en inglés en su último año de escuela.

¿Cómo seleccionar el material correcto?

Un factor importante a considerar al seleccionar materiales es evitar sobrecargar a los estudiantes con demasiada información que no podrán procesar. Esto se puede hacer eligiendo un área de contenido relativamente simple o usando un área que ya ha cubierto en L1 y haciendo el curso CLIL como revisión y extensión.

Los maestros podrían encontrar útil trabajar en libros de texto en inglés diseñados para escuelas primarias de inglés nativas. Esto tiene ventajas tanto para el docente como para los estudiantes: el nivel de contenido de estos libros no es demasiado difícil, pero proporciona un contexto auténtico para el vocabulario que los alumnos necesitarán más adelante. En cuanto a los profesores, pueden usar los ejercicios ya preparados para evaluar el conocimiento del contenido, mientras se enfocan en el desarrollo de actividades adicionales para consolidar las habilidades del segundo idioma de sus alumnos.

Recursos en línea para CLIL

Internet tiene muchos recursos para los docentes: por ejemplo, el British Council y editores como Pearson ofrecen contenido gratuito en línea. También puedes echar un vistazo a una muestra de una clase CLIL sobre el Induismo aquí. También encontrará más ideas en esta página.

Es muy importante que los profesores de idiomas y los profesores de contenido trabajen juntos como un equipo. Compartir ideas y observar las lecciones de los demás realmente mejorará sus habilidades CLIL.

Por ejemplo, los profesores de contenido tienen una gran cantidad de materiales en los que es posible que encuentres equivalentes en inglés, y los profesores de idiomas probablemente tengan ideas sobre cómo explotar esos materiales para fines lingüísticos.

Análisis de materiales y cómo usarlo en su mejor momento

El vocabulario es definitivamente uno de los primeros aspectos a considerar: ¿hay algún vocabulario técnico o especializado que tus estudiantes necesiten saber para el curso o para entender el texto? Si ese es el caso, asegúrese de explicarlo de antemano haciendo que los alumnos relacionen las palabras con las definiciones o imágenes, a través de ejercicios de relleno de espacio o ayudándoles a adivinar el significado del contexto.

Ideas prácticas: Su clase probablemente se enfocará en la comprensión general de un texto principal, haga que sea más interesante mediante el uso de actividades de comprensión como lagunas de información, tareas de lectura de rompecabezas y tareas confusas. Las actividades de seguimiento pueden ayudar a reforzar el vocabulario enseñado anteriormente y desarrollar tanto las habilidades del lenguaje como la comprensión del tema. Estas actividades pueden incluir discusiones en grupo, presentaciones individuales, hacer afiches y escribir sobre el tema.

Para obtener más información sobre nuestros cursos CLIL, consulte: