Ideas for teaching language.

I saw this great piece in the TES so must share in its entirety as it is difficult to work out which piece to leave out. Even better is the resource to help teach Welsh using Bart Simpson – the children will love it.

 

Role play and toy telephones can help children to learn languages

How do pupils learn a language at school? One topic at a time, with plenty of time to think. But in real life we draw upon several topics at once, thinking on our feet. Revision followed by comedic role play gives children excellent practice in this. Select two or three language points to revise, then set up a brief role play with simple props. Plastic money and toy telephones work well.

Divide the class into groups of three. Each group has a parent, a shopkeeper and a small child who asks irrelevant questions such as “Beth ydy’ch rhif ffon chi?” (Welsh for “What is your phone number?”) The parent and the shopkeeper must finish a task – buying bananas, for example – despite these interruptions.

But they must also answer at least five of the child’s random questions. The others can be answered with expressions such as “Wait a minute”. On the board, list topics that the child could ask about: anything from big noses to boats.

Telephone role play is also fun, and helps children to listen. Pupils sit on their chairs back to back. When shown a flashcard nominating a new conversation topic, speakers must change the subject. This could be as silly as switching from sweets to elephants.

Afterwards, get pupils to write down any words it would have been useful for them to know. Give them the words and get them to write notes on how they could have used them in their role plays. They could even draw simple pictures, with the new vocabulary in speech bubbles.

All these activities practise the target language without the soporific effect of rote learning – though, of course, some repetition is required. But some neuroscientists now suggest drilling in varied ways rather than simply repeating the information in the same format, which can bore the brain. This replicates what happens when we speak a new language in real life, when we adapt to new situations at high speed – just as pupils must do in their role play.

Even panicking in a safe environment can be very funny, while burning the target language into the memory. It shows pupils that they are capable of finding the words when they need to make themselves understood. Children have a natural fearlessness and we should take care not to educate it out of them.

What else?

Talk to Bart Simpson in Welsh in Louisa28’s activity.

bit.ly/WelshWithBart

Teach German numbers in a fun way with a PowerPoint shared by alemanjana. bit.ly/EasyNumbers

Using rhawkes’ resource, introduce pupils to colours and to the verb haben through songs and gestures.

bit.ly/ColoursAndHaben.

“Language acquisition does not require extensive use of conscious grammatical rules, and does not require tedious drill.” Stephen Krashen

How many children will be glad to know that, how many of us have sat through really boring lessons?  I like Stephen Krashen’s theory because from my experiences it make sense.  Learning in context, using prior learning as a bridge to the next piece of knowledge is how we all learn, yet these building blocks are sometimes forgotten as are the age and linguistic development of the learner at times.

I agree with all of these saying attributed Krashen below and still find it amazing that I have had arguments with head teachers who cannot see the benefit of a safe environment where it is ok to make mistakes. This particular head was definite that no one was allowed to make mistakes….well… we all know no one is perfect, so lets embrace this fact and make it safe to try, with the skills and backup to make sure the mistake is made once and learnt from. I ask all language teachers whatever your situation,  Is your area safe to learn in?? I expect the knee jerk will be yes, but as reflective practitioners lets look at what our evidence tells us, if the children are cautious about trying, then you know deep inside that the ethos or atmosphere is wrong somewhere.

“Acquisition requires meaningful interaction in the target language – natural communication – in which speakers are concerned not with the form of their utterances but with the messages they are conveying and understanding.” Stephen Krashen

“The best methods are therefore those that supply ‘comprehensible input’ in low anxiety situations, containing messages that students really want to hear. These methods do not force early production in the second language, but allow students to produce when they are ‘ready’, recognizing that improvement comes from supplying communicative and comprehensible input, and not from forcing and correcting production.” Stephen Krashen

“In the real world, conversations with sympathetic native speakers who are willing to help the acquirer understand are very helpful.” Stephen Krashen 

Wishing you all Happy Language Learning

Use the Pupil Premium to support your vulnerable groups

Use the Pupil Premium to support your vulnerable groups

OFSTED report last week clearly states that“In some schools it was clear to inspectors that the spending was not all focused on the needs of the specific groups for whom it was intended.”

Based on multiple answers provided by 119 school leaders responding to the telephone survey and 142 school leaders responding to additional questions at inspection. The single most commonly given use of Pupil Premium funding was to employ teaching assistants

This is such a shame as schools have an opportunity here to provide more than additional staff with the average school receiving around £39,000. Schools could use the £600 per pupil to improve literacy and maths in the most vulnerable groups, and in most cases support language development of new arrivals and those learners whose English is not their first language at the same time.

John Foxwell Director at EMASUK  has said for months that, ‘for two pupils premium you can support your EAL learners and teachers with our ready-made resources, the ability to create your own personalised worksheets, letters, PowerPoint’s or posters from any of the 61 languages and also speak directly to the children in their home language.  To support the safeguarding policy it is also possible to communicate directly with the learner or parent and keep a copy in your file. Being easy to use by both specialists and non-specialists alike it is not surprising that more schools are beginning to see its benefits.’

John further says that ‘as an addition innovative schools are using the same tools and resources to support their MFL curriculum with both teachers and learners using them to develop their own personalised learning kits suitable for their pupils, in their school.

By using the same resources to listen to pronunciation, and create literacy aids both literacy and mathematical academic language can be learnt in situ. Teachers know from practice and research that a child learns more when the learning is in context.’  And this with the added pressure of literacy and Mathematics being  the focus of the new OFSTED inspections it can only help both the learners and teachers.

In conclusion OFSTED recommends that School leaders, including governing bodies, should ensure that Pupil Premium funding is not simply absorbed into mainstream budgets, but instead is carefully targeted at the designated children. Which I think all teacher and parents alike would have no problem in agreeing with.

To find out more you can contact John at j.foxwell@emasuk.com or on 07525 323219

To see more of the report go to http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/pupil-premium

Developing Literacy for EAL learners

Literacy is one focus of OFSTED in the UK from the start of this month.  First let us be clear what Literacy means…often these words are used without much thought about what it means… Literacy in education is how we help children enjoy reading and writing, with focus on three areas speaking and listening, and reading and writing.

With EAL learners John Foxwell Director EMASUK suggests we look at how to use Pip to support the parents reading to the children in either language (bi-literacy will also be improved when used effectively), use this lovely book to allow them to read to their siblings and new arrivals in English. Pip itself is bilingual so can be used to develop vocabulary by using the first language as a bridge. There is also the advantage of the picture book being part of the range, so that the parent/teacher and child can see how they have progressed in their development of their reading skills.

He further suggests starting points for conversations, and when linked to the computer programme it scaffolds writing by giving word lists.  It encourages story boarding by linking up pictures and words and develops personal awareness by making children think and discuss how they feel.

And so to OFSTED themselves.

OFSTED Inspectors report that they have found  that the factors that most commonly limited pupils’ learning included: an excessive pace of a lesson; an overloading of activities; inflexible planning, and limited time for pupils to work independently. In some schools teachers concentrated too much or too early on a narrow range of test or examination skills and few schools give enough thought to ways of encouraging the love of reading in school and beyond the classroom.

OFSTED have themselves suggested the following as good examples of how to develop good reading practice to support literacy development.

To get the reading habit integrated straightaway, in the first term of Year 7, the English homework for all students is to read independently at home. The school launched a joint parent/child reading group, attended by a local author, which inspired parents and pupils. Family Review Days held in the library give parents the opportunity to talk about books with the librarian and with students. They can drop in anytime to discuss how they can help their child choose a suitable book and offer support and encouragement.

The school annually updates and sends out a list of recommended reads to reflect current trends in reading as well as classics. It also produces ‘Reading Matters’ leaflets for parents, with useful hints and tips to support their child’s reading, which include the following.

• ‘Read aloud with your child, or try reading the same book they are reading and talk to them about it.
• Let them see you reading, whether it is a book, a magazine or a newspaper. Lead by example!
• If they enjoy movies or TV shows based on children’s books such as Tracy Beaker or Harry Potter, encourage them to give the books a try.
• Encourage them to read to younger brothers and sisters. We have a ‘babysitting’ box in the library with great books they could use.
• Encourage them to join the school Readers’ Club. They can then get involved in all kinds of extra-curricular activities, from drama workshops to meeting the illustrator from Beano!’

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/news/driving-standards-of-literacy

John Foxwell reminds us that Pip is available as a picture book or English only, or bilingually in  English and Polish, Albanian, Chinese Mandarin, Chinese Cantonese, Czech, Dutch, Russian, French, German, Nepali, Kurdish, Hungarian, Norwegian, Hebrew, Latvian, and Romanian http://shop.emasuk.com/  Add storycreator to make a truly useful inexpensive package for all language learners whether learning English, MFL Languages or bridging from their home language.

Language Information point Speaker Catherine Cheater Education Show 2012

Here is a really small video showing Catherine Cheater from Golden Daffodils teaching how to teach children French vocabulary using actions.

More innovative – and useful – approaches to language revision can untie students hands in exam settings – UK MFL

Rote learning of stock phrases short-changes language students and ties their hands in exam settings. More innovative – and useful – approaches to language revision can change that, says Jane Jones.

From my experience learning in context is always more advantageous for learners rather than stock phrases that need to be put together. This can make for clumsy answers which no doubt decreases their performance on the fluency scale. In my teens I struggled to learn French but learnt by rote all of the sentences turn right, turn left, brother, sister etc, etc and was then shocked when I got to the exam and needed joining words.  I am hoping that this advice from AQA will be really useful to all language teachers. Also despite it being written for MFL teachers I think this is also the case for any language teaching including EAL, ELL, EFL etc.

It can be found below at http://cerp.aqa.org.uk/perspectives/revising-revision-mfl

The semi-apologetic phrase ‘only doing revision’ devalues the highly skilled teaching and formative assessment involved in good revision. It can provide opportunities for pupils to practise, hone and demonstrate their linguistic knowledge and skills; yet  some revision activities in modern foreign languages (MFL) seem to close down options for students to use their language fully and flexibly.

 

The focus becomes fixed on paradigms, lists and formulaic expression that can paralyse comprehension and leave students lost for words in exam settings. Mindful of this, I set a challenge for my trainee teachers to devise revision activities for Key Stage 4 pupils that would provide structure as well as opportunities to diverge and to be creative.

 

Engaging with assessment Revision is most productive when it reflects regular classroom learning, teaching and assessment styles (albeit more intensified), and a classroom culture of challenge and collaboration. The student teachers were very inventive in their ideas for quality revision. Their work was underpinned by a strong belief in the basic tenets of an Assessment for Learning approach, providing activities to progress learning and ensuring students took responsibility for their learning and gave support to their peers. The revision activities were collaborative and mutually supportive, the learners benefiting from helpful questioning and feedback from each other. The aim was for them to know what ‘good work’ looked and sounded like – crucial in MFL.

 

Newly qualified teacher Nicola provided an example of revision activities on the topic of ‘healthy lifestyle’. Following some initial recall and practice exercises using the mark scheme as a guide, pupils in her German class had to come up with an answer to the question ‘what makes a healthy lifestyle?’  After a few lessons marking each others’ work and scrutinising sample answers from the exam board to generate success criteria, the pupils attempted to answer the question in groups. The criteria were: use three tenses, give your opinion, and use complex language.

 

Nicola provided a hint on how to tackle the question to achieve the highest possible marks, but the students then took over, adapting previously learnt language and creating new language to hit the success criteria. The students then swapped their answers with other groups, got out their mark-scheme checklists and awarded grades, highlighting aspects of language which scored points based on the success criteria and also the GCSE exam marks. They became quite expert, says Nicola, and sample responses were written up as exemplars and shared with the class.

 

This example shows how pupils can engage deeply with the assessment criteria and come to an understanding for themselves through peer- and self -assessment of what they need to be able to do.

 

Furthermore, such activities can wrap around any aspect of assessment. This provides a huge confidence boost and enables pupils to become not just skilled test-takers, useful though this might be (McDonough, 1995), but expert examiners for themselves. In this way, summative assessment can be very formative (Jones and Wiliam, 2008) and can generate creative and contingent use of language as well as consolidating known structures and vocabulary.

 

The student teachers felt that intensive periods of challenging revision could be integrated more regularly into normal MFL teaching and learning as part of pupils’ self-guided learning and assessment awareness. In such a way, revision is not confined to an end of year activity but becomes a central driver and enabler of learning in a continuous cycle of revision.

 

Dr Jane Jones is Senior Lecturer in Education and Head of MFL Teacher Education at King’s College London

 

References:
  1. Jones , J. and Wiliam, D. (2008) Modern Foreign Languages inside the Black Box. London: GL Assessment.
  2. McDonough, S. (1995) Strategy and Skill in learning a Foreign Language. London: Edward Arnold.

” renewed focus on language skills at school is needed” John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce

Sometimes when engaged purely in Education it is easier to forget the wider world and the wider implications of why were are teaching a particular subject.  I was always aware being a secondary teacher that my students would possibly be working in Design, Programming,Engineering or Architectural type areas, not least because as well as teaching GCSE, A Level there was always NVQ teaching of skills that was part of my teaching role.  However for some they never think beyond the next exam and in primary often thought only about primary tests and not about the whole child and their future prospects.

With that in mind I thought that this information may be of use for those looking outside the box for reasons that languages should be taught and bilingualism and multilingualism should be embraced.

This is current from the Norfolk Chamber of Trade and shares the benefits to businesses about the importance of communicating with exporters in their language. Here is the link to the article:

http://www.norfolkchamber.co.uk/export/export-news/boost-exports-further-improving-businesses-language-skills-and-international

I am pleased that the Primary Languages Classroom Awards supports language developement to enable or children to be able to function on the world’s stage. Below is the article in full.

A survey of over 8,000 businesses released by the British Chambers of Commerce, shows that exporting activity continues to increase. However, the findings also suggest that providing firms with more training in foreign languages, and increasing their exposure to international companies would encourage more business owners to export. Economic growth relies upon British businesses being able to export more, so the British Chambers of Commerce is calling for more support for firms to help them trade internationally.

Language skills are vital to exporting

Knowledge of other languages is an important skill for exporters. 61% of non-exporters that are likely to consider trading internationally consider a lack of language skills as a barrier to doing so.

However, of those business owners that claim some language knowledge, very few can speak well enough to conduct deals in international markets. French is the most commonly spoken language, with 73% of business owners claiming some knowledge. However, only four percent are able to converse fluently enough in French to conduct business deals. This number drops significantly for those languages spoken in the fastest growing markets. In 2012, the IMF projects that the Chinese economy will grow by 9.5%, but just four percent of business owners claim any knowledge of the language, with less than one percent confident they could converse fluently.

Re-establishing foreign languages as core subjects within the UK national curriculum and in workplace training would mean that the next generation of business owners are ‘born global’ with language skills. The BCC is calling for the National Curriculum to be revised so that studying a foreign language is compulsory until AS level. Businesses could also be helped in training staff in new languages, if the government offered additional financial incentives such as tax credits for small and medium-sized businesses that make a significant investment in language training.

Businesses with stronger international connections are more likely to export

Businesses that do export are more likely to have stronger social connections with overseas markets. When asked what led them to export, the top three reasons cited by current exporters were:  collaboration with overseas partners (71%); a chance enquiry from outside the UK (57%); and previous work experience abroad (52%). Those business owners that have lived abroad are more likely to export. 11% of current exporters have lived aboard for five years or more.

The BCC believes that creating opportunities for employees to work in overseas companies could help expose firms to more international opportunities. For example, an international business exchange programme, perhaps modeled on the well-known academic Erasmus scheme would allow employees to complete placements in companies abroad, and bring back their experience to their employer. A scheme that covered BRIC economies, as well as Europe, would mean that businesses could take advantage of fast growing markets as well as the eurozone.

Commenting on the findings of the report, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“Exporting is good for Britain, so it is right that we should encourage current and future business owners to develop the necessary skills to trade overseas. We’re encouraged to see the percentage of firms exporting in our survey has increased from 22% in January 2011 to 32% in January 2012. Exports are equivalent to nearly 30% of UK GDP[1], but more can be done to help businesses take the first step to exporting. Encouraging companies to boost foreign language skills with incentives like tax credits is just one way of making sure we continue to export best of British products and services around the world. A renewed focus on language skills at school, as well as helping companies forge new connections overseas, could help ensure that current and future business owners are pre-disposed to thinking internationally.

“We are already the sixth largest trading nation on earth, and the third largest service exporter, but to really secure our future as a leading exporter we need to help companies take advantage of new markets. Giving businesses the opportunity to forge links with international firms, develop employees’ language skills, and providing compulsory education in languages for young people will transform many of the great businesses we have in the UK into success stories overseas.”

 

School in Devon reports its language teaching to parents

For anyone not sure how to report to parents here is an example from a school in Devon. I hope thy enter the Primary language awards this autumn, they look like worthy competitors.

http://www.moretonhampstead.devon.sch.uk/parents/reports/MFL%20Report%202012.pdf

MODERN FOREIGN LANGUAGE CURRICULUM REPORT FOR PARENTS

2011-2012

French continues to be taught weekly by Mrs Holding in Easdon, Shapley,

Mardon and Butterdon.

This term the children will be hosting a visit from a parent who is a native

German speaker. A native French speaker has already visited and took an

active part in some French sessions. The children enjoyed sharing an

afternoon with two visiting children from France this term.

The twinning link with Betton has provided a great opportunity for the children

to develop their cultural understanding and the purpose of learning French.

There has been the opportunity to correspond with the Betton children, giving

a real purpose to writing French. The more able Year 6 linguists have been

required to write more fully and act as a role model in terms of eg accent for

the other children.

The school’s assessment procedures have been developed and regular

assessment is now made on the three strands in the Framework for oracy,

literacy and intercultural understanding. This ensures that the children’s

learning is meeting their particular needs.

For the next academic year, the school plans to:

  • Develop its teaching of French phonics through a new resource called Take 10 Phonics
  • Continue to strengthen the link with Betton and use this as a meaningful learning resource.

June 2012

 

http://www.moretonhampstead.devon.sch.uk/parents/reports/MFL%20Report%202012.pdf

Anyone for a Taxi?

Language Rich Europe

It’s time for some summertime fun with languages! Below our Communications Manager David Sorrentino has listed a few fun facts about languages and multilingualism.
Which ones did you know already?  Do you know any other interesting facts you’d like to share?

  • The distress code ‘Mayday’ comes from the French for help me, ‘M’Aide’.
  • The United States does not have an official language.
  • ‘Taxi’ is a word that has the same spelling in many languages, including English, German, French, Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese and more.
  • More people speak English in China than in the United States.
  • For over 600 years England’s official language was French.
  • The name “Canada” originates from an Indian word which means “village”.
  • Europe is home to roughly 225 indigenous languages or around 3% of the world’s total.
  • At least half of all the people on earth can speak two or more languages.
  • The city of London is linguistically…

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Paula wins again – UK

It was great to read that Paula from Priory Lower School has received more recognition for her wonderful work with German in her classroom and school. When I met her to give her the prize as winner of the Primary Language Awards German category she was teaching in the classroom, and the children were enjoying going to the shop to buy their goods in German.

She and the school were awarded this at the time because the judges said:

Priory school has developed an integrated approach to the teaching and learning of German. Using German in everyday class lessons and encouraging a wider knowledge of the language than normal methods. Activities include mental maths, this offers practical terminology that promotes real knowledge and understanding whilst helping the learners to be conversant at a higher level.

 

The involvement of the community through links with mother tongue speakers at other local schools helps the learners understand sentence structure and pronunciation plus a practical knowledge of intonation and word sounds. The children take part in external activities such as fairs with singing and games and they look forward to continuing with their language learning. It was interesting to read that the school has links with a German Partner school as it helps the learners participate in conversational German in both written and spoken form.

 

The judges felt that the school has embraced language learning through integration and the children have a mix of practical sessions and academic work combined with access to German speakers.  The school offers German to its learners who already have other languages to their repertoire, giving everyone a second common language for reference and conversation.

It is great to know that this has continued and developed further to ensure winning the Goethe-Institut’s Peter Boaks Award. Well Done.

To enter next years awards register your interest via the website www.languageawards.com or look out for it at the end half of next term.

 

To read more about Paula’s recent award http://www.teachingpersonnel.com/news/2012/7/9/teachers-recognised-for-german-contribution/