Rovaniemi is a small city (62,000 inhabitants), located in the northernmost province of Finland (Lapland), that grew due to the exploitation of its natural resources in the 1800s. Extensive logging sites and gold fever attracted thousands of people to Lapland.

This development came to an end during World War II, since the German army received orders to destroy all the buildings in Rovaniemi and an ammunition train was blown. Not only did it cost many casualties in the German troops, but it also set fire to the wooden houses of the town. A Finnish commando unit claimed to have caused the blast and may well have been the primary cause of the town's ruin, considering that 90% of all the buildings in Rovaniemi were destroyed.


The rebuilding process started quickly after that, and was led by Alvar Aalto (1898-1976), who is widely regarded as one of Finland’s national architects. He conceived that the new town must be shaped like a reindeer, the iconic animal of the area hence, central Rovaniemi is wrapped inside the reindeer’s head and roads leading north, west and south make up the antlers. In fact, this city is worldwide known as Santa Claus´s town and it actually hosts Santa´s village, just in the very same location where the Polar Artic Circle goes through its province.

However, the most symbolic heritage in Rovaniemi is neither architectural, nor cultural or artistic. The real, as well as, breathtaking patrimony of the area is its stunning nature. Located about 6 km south of the Arctic Circle at the confluence of two rivers (Kemijoki and Ounasioki), Rovaniemi is surrounded by water, dense forests and white mountains… that host a vivid wildlife, totally different from we are accustomed to. Moreover, this area is recognized as one of the best spots to live two of the experiences of a lifetime: the Midnight Sun during summer time and the Northern Lights in fall and winter.


-   ES

The course was hosted in “Santa Sport College” on August, 20th-24th. This facility is a link between a hotel, a sport venue and a University of Lapland college, surrounded by nature and just at walking distance from Rovaniemi downtown. Hence, it is the perfect spot to celebrate a course of which title is: “Outdoor CLIL-Scaffolding Thinking Skills in CLIL”.


The main topic of this seminar was CLIL methodology (Content and Language Integrated Learning) however, the means covered from outdoor activities to scaffolding thinking skills, as well as emotional learning in between.


We were 8 attendees from all over the EU (Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Cyprus and Spain) and two professors: Peeter Mehisto (University College London) and Tuula Asikainen (Summer University of Lapland).


So, through an eminently hands-on approach that took for five intensive days, we could discover how to deal with the English language contents in our non-linguistic subjects.


Using multidisciplinary activities and tasks in which movement and physical activity paved the way to take a closer look at other subjects, we all worked elbow to elbow to learn more about CLIL strategies.


From my standpoint, not only do I believe that it is one of the most useful courses I have ever attended, but I have also put into practice in our school (IES Ángel de Saavedra) some of the knowledge I have acquired during those 5 days. Hence, I just can strongly recommend this seminar and keep working on using CLIL methodology during my lessons.