Modern Languages - Tuned up for conversation

25th November 2011 at 00:00

What's it about?

When I think back to my best experiences as a learner, I remember things that captured my attention and imagination - and it seems the same is true for other beginners, writes Lisa Stevens.

Getting started

I asked my pupils, aged three to 11, what they enjoyed about learning languages. A class I taught in Reception - who are now in Year 3 (P3) - enjoy a memory game involving painted toenails, because a member of their class holds the school record for the contest. A Year 6 group remembered retelling the story of El Nabo Gigante (The Enormous Turnip) in Year 2, with silly hats and actions.

Another Year 6 group listed singing, rhymes and chanting as favourite activities because they don't do them in other classes. They also said they remembered things learnt this way because they could recall the tune or rhythm as well as the words.

Towards the end of Year 6 we do a unit on a Spanish cafe, including writing a song about ordering food to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas. The task is more demanding than simply recalling vocabulary, because pupils must consider whether the rhythm of the words fits the tune, making them focus on stress patterns and syllables. It also offers a chance to be imaginative because each group wants to be the most original and, perhaps, the funniest.

Where to go

There are TES resources on innovative language learning, including rhawkes' ones introducing pupils to colours and the verb "haben" through paintings.

For ideas on combining playground games with language learning, try a Teachers TV video featuring short dramatised clips of native French- speaking children presenting scenarios for classroom use.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now