There have been a lot of interesting articles about the teaching of languages in the news recently. If you are looking for something new to use on the European Day of Languages (26th September), then you might consider this article from the Guardian. I’m sure you’ll agree that inspiring lifelong learning is really important. Extracts from this article could be used to promote language learning to all ages and maybe others in the school community. You might also like to have a look at the primary or secondary resource packs that are free to download here too.
Emily Miller, the Education Officer at the Migration Museum Project, is organising a free workshop for schools on the history of Anglo-German relations, which you and your students might find interesting. It is on the 24th September, I would certainly go if I could as it looks fascinating. Please get in touch with Emily directly to book a place, more details can be found here.
As I have said previously, being positive about the introduction of language learning in primary schools and trying to find solutions to difficulties we encounter is vital because as the picture unfolds over the next few years, it is the children coming through the system each year who are the most important. I’ve also already expressed the opinion that things can be different this time because of the collaboration and support teachers can find through online networks. This MUST help to make primary languages successful this time!
The languages subject association bid was successful and will be known as ALL Connect. ALL as the lead organisation will be working in the East, North East and in the North Midlands. To start with, ALL Connect will offer free face to face and online training to teachers in Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 in these three regions, but there will be follow-up training material freely available online. It is hoped that many teachers will be supported and that the impact will be felt nationwide. Important themes such as speaking, writing, grammar, transition and progression will be addressed.
Look out too for the growing number of primary hubs to access support in your local area. As well as finding out what is going on near you, you will find a lot of great resources on the link too.
What do you think of accessing CPD online? The opportunities abound. If you can’t attend events, there are numerous ways of following developments. Webinars are increasingly popular, for example if you are interested in how to use literature then the ALL London webinar on the 27th September may be of interest. Suzi Bewell, Curriculum Area Leader at York, will be sharing ideas about how authentic literature can be brought into the language classroom for any stage and for any age. And if you would like me to cover something on the new curriculum at the ALL Oxfordshire TeachMeet on the 9th October in Oxford or at the OUP MFL workshop in York on the 18th November, please book a place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and please tweet your questions (#lizmfl) on the day or in advance.
What about the ideas that EdSurge have?
‘’..some teachers and schools are beginning to combine tools to brew their own personalised professional development. Some might choose a combination of Twitter, video libraries of best practice, and a social network for badging. For others, a path to personalised PD might involve in-person coaching and online courses, combined with video feedback tools.”
Research is being carried out all over the world; people are studying and discovering new things, so it is good to take notice of it all. I must challenge myself at the start of this school year. Social media connects us outside of our physical sphere – our schools, districts and countries – to professionals, thinkers and writers around the world, who generate and share information, ideas, practices and activism which inspires, incites or affirms us. I like reading about the thinkers and activists! There is information here on the use of social media for teacher professional learning.
So, as you can see, a lot is happening!
In Ireland an education consultation paper aims at creating a new languages strategy by 2015 too. It is up to the individual primary head teachers and schools to decide which language they want to teach and on their own curriculum model, but obviously the more collaboration they can have with the secondary school in the area the better. In a future post soon, we’ll have a look at another different approach, the Discovering Language model. Peter Downes is the Director and he suggests that giving students in Key Stage 2 access to the basics of up to six languages can give them “a broad understanding of how language itself works.” Interesting!