Modern Languages - Fluent in diplomacy

20th January 2012 at 00:00

What the lesson is about

Many teachers still find it hard not to be the font of all knowledge in the classroom. Being only a few steps ahead of students makes them feel less than competent, and when a language specialist comes along, the temptation to let himher take over is often too strong to resist, writes Isabelle Jones.

The more empowered non-specialists are, the more effective the teaching will be. When the non-specialist is a primary colleague, with a secondary teacher coming in to support, defining roles is key, as is establishing a respectful relationship in which both parties aim to learn from and complement each other's practice.

The specialist should model a range of generic teaching strategies, such as the use of games, songs and videos, which can be adapted by non- specialists to introduce new content. Key areas such as pronunciation, spelling and grammar are often the most daunting for non-specialists. A bank of home-made and commercially produced resources will be useful to develop their confidence.

What else?

Sharing good practice on using resources such as foreign language assistants, Comenius assistants and others is important. Providing support for a Comenius school project or an educational visit is another good way to encourage involvement and enrichment of the curriculum for all pupils.

Primary teachers have a wealth of experience in teaching literacy and secondary teachers can build on their many strategies when teaching a foreign language.

Cariad2 has suggested a number of games, songs and online books.

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