That’s what I heard Georgina Harwood from Cape Town say – she has just celebrated her 100th birthday by skydiving! Here are a couple of teaching ideas using dictionaries with a focus on improving understanding of grammar…
- How about a dictionary race? The pupils race each other to find additional adjectives? This will of course reinforce their understanding of the term adjective.
- Or what about playing the clip and asking pupils to write a short summary in the target language adding a short opinion? Older learners could also add some phrases in the conditional, stating whether they would like to try this sport or another one.
(By the way this amazing lady first tried this when she was 92 and she swam with sharks two days later!)
At the ALL Language World conference in Newcastle last weekend, we were talking a lot about creative ways of teaching grammar and encouraging spontaneous talk across all the key stages. There were several presentations about progression across KS2. Bertram Richter and Rebecca Bollands presented their work in collaboration with Warwick University on the progression matrix they are trialling. This is another of the DfE funded projects like ALL Connect. I will share thoughts on this in a post after Easter.
There was a lot of live Sketchnoting going on which appeared on Twitter very quickly so lots of teachers who weren’t able to attend can benefit. Lisa Stevens produced this wonderful one during the session on using craft by Clare Seccombe. Thank you, Lisa!
And this excellent one by Clare Seccombe is from the talk she attended on Friday by Dr Louise Courtney about the research conducted at Reading University with Dr Suzanne Graham: KS2 – KS3 Progress and Preparedness in Primary Languages, funded by the Nuffield Foundation. Clare has generously posted all her Sketchnotes here. Thank you, Clare!
I found Dr Louise Courtney’s presentation and all the others I attended so thought provoking. You can find details of the findings by the team at Reading here. I was pleased to hear that learners with low literacy levels benefited from learning a new language and how important teaching transferable skills are as I had planned to say in my talk on Saturday that persuading head teachers, parents and society as a whole that this is the case must help with the successful implementation of primary languages in our country. Her research also found that it is crucial that the pedagogy between the key stages is merged. We talked as a group about the fact that the amount of curriculum time allocated to language learning also needs careful consideration.
Bernadette Holmes told the delegates that ‘languages are borderless’ and that ‘acquiring another language helps to develop another mindset.’ She challenged us with this important question: ‘How do we develop intercultural competence?’. Many of us spoke about our concerns that numbers taking a language to A level are dropping and the need for language skills in our nation. We talked about ways of encouraging scientists, engineers and people in different professions to develop a least a basic level of competence in a language.
It was an excellent conference. The president, René Koglbauer, had wished us an engaging and stimulating time and it certainly was! The theme was ‘ALL Connected.’ He stated that the language community and the various sectors need to work together to meet the most important challenges we face. ALL has been able to influence policy and the stronger community we have, the greater voice we can have in the future! He dedicated his talk on Saturday to two students from his former school in Oxford who had met on the German exchange and fallen in love. It was so sad to hear an extract of a letter they wrote to him, that they had to bring their wedding date forward due to serious health problems and the young man has since died. We were reminded by René in a very moving way that all the work we do and language learning opportunities we try to create are for our pupils. I cried.
It was so good to be with like-minded people from all the various sectors, researchers, teachers from all the phases, colleagues from the examination boards, publishers and some great actors too! I met some new people and will tell you more about this in April and May. The 13th edition of the Language Trends Survey was launched. When I’ve digested the contents I’ll write a post about it for you, but in the meantime a summary can be found here.
Have a really good break when the holidays arrive.