Modern Languages - A sweet way to learn

16th December 2011 at 00:00

What the lesson is about

The drama usually starts before you leave the country. Every school trip abroad features at least one child who suffers from travel sickness but has bravely come along on the 20-hour coach journey. But once the journey is over, you can get on with the business of language learning, writes Rosa Ford.

Some pupils figure out quickly that they can get by with English and dramatic mimes when faced with a well-meaning shopkeeper, but just being out of their comfort zone and hearing people speak in another language is a fantastic learning experience.

One of my favourite memories is seeing previously shy, quiet pupils on a chairlift in Germany, waving and shouting "Hallo! Wie geht's?" to passing tourists. It was their favourite moment because they had not realised until then that if they said the things they had learnt at school, then real live Germans would be able to understand them.

Taking it further

Many pupils, put on the spot, will clam up and forget everything they have learnt. But if they have time to plan what they want to say, using familiar language, and can see rewards for it, they will be more likely to give it a try. Ordering food or buying things in shops is a good opportunity, as is sending pupils off on a treasure hunt where they have to ask directions or get information.

What else?

For practising German phrases and useful expressions, try the five-star rated speaking booklet from sommersprossen. In theTES forums: Do you have any advice for an NQT planning their first school trip?

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