No stress with DS

1st July 2011 at 01:00
A coaching game is bringing reluctant linguists around to French, writes Elizabeth Buie

Firrhill High languages teacher Helene Clark encourages S1-3 pupils to use a Nintendo DS in her class. Retention rates for French are going up in the Edinburgh secondary and the games help to engage youngsters who would traditionally have been reluctant linguists.

Mrs Clark is an enthusiast for using ICT in languages: the DS game My French Coach is the hook she uses to reel in her pupils' attention. S1 pupils, who arrive with a limited knowledge of French, play the game for about 15-20 minutes around twice a week.

In her Learning and Teaching Scotland blog, Mrs Clark describes how she used the game to give S1 pupils practice in creating sentences using prepositions. The DS dictionary provides help with unfamiliar vocabulary and the "compare" tool assists with pronunciation.

One drawback of the My French Coach software is that it does not give the gender of nouns or specify whether the French word is a noun, adverb or verb, says Mrs Clark. This meant pupils had to use a traditional "paper dictionary", but it familiarised them with looking up words.

She writes in her blog about how the technology has had an impact on one particular pupil: "A lower-attaining ADHD pupil, who can be quite restless, started at level 1 after his initial test.

"He felt frustrated, knew very little French, but was engaged and motivated to learn with the DS. Progressing through levels was very meaningful to him. As a result, he has made incredible progress. He may spend 20 minutes to produce three French sentences but he thinks thoroughly about the structure of the language and always tries to achieve his full potential."

Helene.Clark@firrhill.edin.sch.uk

Visit ltsblogs.org.ukconsolariumtagmy-french-coach.

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