MFL collection culture and projects - Introduction
Secondary MFL culture and projects - Introduction
At this stage in the summer term, now that we as teachers have done all we can for our Y11 and Y13 classes and the exam season is upon us, we often turn our attention to KS3 classes, particularly Y9 students.
With KS4 options already done, the summer term presents languages teachers with one of two challenges (or often both!). Firstly, there is a need very often to sustain interest and motivation for those learners who have chosen not to continue with a particular language (or languages at all) at KS4. Secondly, for those learners who are set to continue, there is a desire to prepare learners as well as possible for the challenges of following a GCSE language course. This usefully involves bringing together the grammatical concepts that learners have been introduced to throughout KS3 and developing students’ independent use of the language for communication in new contexts.
Many languages teachers will find that they have to meet both these challenges within one classroom of learners. At first glance, it may appear that these challenges are at best highly demanding of teachers and at worst mutually incompatible.
One approach that teachers use to good effect at this time is project work. They design well-planned sequences of lessons on a particular theme, often with a cultural focus, that have a defined minimum outcome in terms of language learning, and yet are sufficiently flexible and motivating to encourage students to extend what they can do. Such modules, which may be 2-3 lessons or 2-3 weeks in duration, often include pair or group work but can be designed to ensure that every individual produces evidence of his/her own level of attainment, which enables appropriate assessment of the outcomes.
Most teachers can appreciate the value of this sort of curriculum work, and particularly during the summer of Y9 (although also of Y7 and 8). The main barrier to teaching in this way is the need to come up with an initial project idea and the time it takes to develop the idea and work it up into a coherent plan, with appropriate linguistic and other skills objectives. In this respect, whilst every class is different, it can be incredibly valuable to have access to examples of successful project work that has been written, tried and tested by other teachers. Whether teachers benefit from these examples by getting the merest kernel of an idea or by chancing on an entire project that they need only adapt minimally for their classes, there is no doubt that a shared resource beats a ‘blank page’ hands down any day of the week!
With this in mind, a collection of such ideas contributed by teachers to TES resources has been compiled to help teachers to meet the challenges of the summer term. Visit this link for resources in French, German and Spanish:
Languages Adviser TES Resources