It was really good to spend time with friends at Language World last weekend. Language teachers, advisers and publishers were all there for the same reason! There are so many changes as René mentioned during the last post, but we can all learn lessons from the past when we are thinking about translation etc as well as look forward to using all the great advances in technology to support learning.
I went to lots of very good sessions so I have a lot of things I would like to follow up during the coming weeks and months, but I just have to find the time! I’m going to ask a few people to write guest posts over the next few months and I’m sure that you will find them both helpful and interesting.
Here are a few links you might be able to use. The first one is about an unusual friendship. Maybe this could be a stimulus for a poem or short piece of writing in the target language?
You could practise high numbers, vocabulary related to countries and continents and the theme of rescue and friendship.
Another link for teachers of German! If we believe that language has power, how about using this song and other accompanying resources from the Deutsche Welle? Lass uns reden! http://www.dw.com/de/das-bandtagebuch-mit-einshoch6-lass-uns-reden/av-16962672
Have you heard about the latest competition that the Arsenal Double Club is running? The Double Club Languages Coordinator, Steve Eadon has some super ideas and I think this one asking KS3 pupils to create a language activity for primary school children aged 9-11, in a language of your choice, about any aspect of France or French culture is another great one. In my experience they really try hard to be accurate and think of ways that they can teach younger children.
While I was at the conference, members the National Association of Language Advisers asked me to publicise the Primary Languages Survey coming up. As primary schools are now two terms into the second year of implementing statutory primary languages. NALA thinks that this is a good moment to carry out an in-depth survey of schools to gather information about school’s progress with implementation and they need your help! NALA believes that this survey will provide important information which will help schools, language professionals and government agencies know where to target support, and provide information so that they can enlist support from government and cultural agencies and lobby for funding for the support and development of primary languages. The Association would like to invite anyone involved in primary languages in England to take part and they are interested in hearing from teachers, languages coordinators and school leaders throughout England, no matter how well embedded the practice is at this stage. They want to capture the current situation, regardless of the school’s starting point, expertise or capacity. Please share with anyone who you think would be interested and encourage them to respond as well. The survey is open until midnight on 31 May 2016. It will take about 15 minutes to complete or slightly more if you are working in more than one primary school. NALA will then get to work analysing the results and will publish a report about our findings in autumn 2016. The report will be available at no cost, you just need to indicate at the end of the survey if you would like to receive an email alert when it is available.
It struck me forcibly again at the conference how important it is for primary and secondary teachers to work together to ensure the continuity we need to make things work well in Britain. Building on the prior learning of KS2 in KS3 is so important.
As I’ve said many times before encouraging the spontaneous production of language is crucial to success. Primary teachers are teaching pupils to ask questions at a young age so teachers in KS3 should continue with this as students will need to be more spontaneous when taking the new GCSE speaking exams.
I’d love to hear about your language world experience – please get in touch!