Modern Foreign Languages - It's good to share

27th April 2012 at 01:00
So swap resources in school and collaborate online

The day-to-day life of an MFL teacher is not easy. We might toil for hours to create imaginative schemes of learning and the resources to accompany them, but pupils tend to find them neither interesting nor motivating. How can you find new and exciting contexts within which to place language learning?

The sharing of resources, ideas and good practice lightens the load for all of us. Everyone has something worth contributing, whoever they are. So how do you share your resources and encourage others to do the same?

1. Start small. Schedule departmental meetings where each member of the department shares a resource or an idea that has worked well for them. You can adapt it or, in some cases, work alongside them.

2. Extra copies. When you are photocopying your worksheets, make extras for colleagues who teach similar classes or whose classes may be able to link with yours.

3. Use a system. Set up folders on the school network where everyone can save a copy of each resource they make.

4. Email. Share resources or weblinks with your colleagues informally via email, or by using the school's virtual learning environment.

5. Dropbox. Sign up at for this free, online file store. You can invite other people to share specific folders.

6. Blog or wiki. Set up a departmental blog or wiki that everyone can access from home and school, and to which you can all contribute. I would recommend Posterous Spaces ( for a quick and easy blog where you can upload resources, and Wikispaces ( for a wiki. It takes a little effort on everyone's part, but the rewards are more than worth it.

7. Resource-sharing websites. If you want to share with a wider audience, upload your resources to TES Resources or contribute to other resource-sharing websites.

8. Twitter. I cannot recommend Twitter highly enough for its ethos of sharing and supporting.

As an Ethiopian proverb says, it's good to share, because "when spiderwebs unite, they can tie up a lion".

Clare Seccombe is an MFL teacher and consultant who has taught in primary and secondary schools as well as being an advisory teacher for primary languages. She created and maintains the MFL Sunderland website. Visit her blog or follow her on Twitter @valleseco

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