Modern Languages - Doing it for themselves

9th March 2012 at 00:00

What it's all about

Ask any teacher what makes a good student and the word "independent" will come up a lot. We want linguists who are able to consolidate and extend their knowledge to ensure that they get the maximum benefit from our teaching. While a lot of pupils do this through homework, many find it hard to develop without their teacher's input, writes Isabelle Jones.

Personal, learning and thinking skills (PLTS) have been important for a long time and the idea is simple: you teach pupils to think for themselves. If we refer to the updated Bloom's Taxonomy, the focus is on getting pupils to remember, understand, apply, analyse, evaluate and create.

The odd one out

An "odd one out" activity can be a great way into a lesson. Words or phrases can be "odd" for all sorts of reasons, linked with grammar, meaning or similarity to English. Ultimately, any reason is valid if the pupils can justify their choice.

Venn diagrams, made with two or three overlapping circles, can be used for categorising exercises to decide whether a statement is positive, negative or conveys no opinion at all.

Diamond ranking is another effective way to introduce and practise comparatives, spot grammatical patterns and explore in a bit more depth the vocabulary linked with more "grown up" topics such as social issues.

Taking it further

For more on PLTS, see Isabelle's activities on Diigo and her MFL wiki on the TES website.

Develop on-the-spot thinking with rhawkes' "Talk for a Minute" starter game.

Rosaespanola shares an "odd one out" starter that encourages pupils to develop PLTS by explaining their choices in the target language.

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