Win points in languages

4th July 2003 at 01:00
In our languages department we use points to motivate pupils. Classes split into two teams and a tally is kept on the board for a variety of activities. The winning team is noted on a score card at the end of the lesson.

We also use it to promote German for real communication. I have one Year 8 class who have taken to this so much they are quite capable of firing a dozen queries and comments to me at the start of a lesson to get their team off to a good start. I have to admit it can be frustrating not being able to get on with the lesson because of a barrage of "Darf ich das Fenster aufmachen? Ich habe mein Heft vergessen!" and so on. However, the fact that they are now able to reel these off without reference to their phrase lists shows how well the points have motivated them to learn these phrases. To ensure quieter pupils take part, I put names on the board of "bonus" pupils, who will score Doppelpunkte this lesson. Even though at first the more extrovert members of the team try to feed answers to them, I find it usually results in a general increase in their confidence, not least because they are cheered by their team.

During a quiet written task, points can be lost for talking. At the end of the lesson the scheme inspires lively participation in the plenary session.

At the end of the half-term the winning team receives a mini-chocolate bar each.

Elaine Pratt, head of modern languages, Keswick School, Cumbria

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