Engagement in MFL
Have you had your five a day? What could this mean for a language learner?
These were the questions that we posed in this week’s Butterfly staff briefing.
In the same way as our body need a varied diet, successful language learning requires lessons that have a mixed diet of activities and skills being practised on a regular basis. This not only facilitates a more well-rounded learner, but additionally pupils are more versed at practising the skills required for the new linear exams which in addition to the traditional 4 skills of listening; reading; writing and speaking; pupils now need to be able to translate from English to the target language and the other way also.
In exploring how we might vary pupils learning whilst enhancing their skills we looked at a variety of activities to ensure that learning is engaging and fun. Since pupils need to know how to conjugate verbs why not try your hand at battleships as a mini-review? This activity, allows pupils to practise pre-learned knowledge whilst speaking out the French, Spanish etc as they try to seek out the ships on their opponents map.
It’s important in our busy work lives not to forget treasures that are already out there. In this morning’s Butterfly, staff were challenged to a game of noughts and crosses using Spanish vocabulary previously unlearnt, but using pictures to decipher meaning and get a place on the game. To do this we use Linguascope Website, which has proved invaluable to use as min-plenaries in class when reviewing vocabulary on a topic.
For our more competitive students a spelling bee to practise vocabulary on a unit as a starter activity, could easily give way to whole year group challenge. Why not go the whole hog and compete against another local school?
Whilst we are thinking of bees, a further fun activity is a pupil bee writing activity. Teachers print texts and place them around the room or in the corridor and pupils in small teams have to collect the words (pollen) from the texts and bring it back to their team (the hive) for their team to write down the target language phrases. This could be adapted to a translation activity also, but may require a bit more time. Here is an example of our Teacher bee this morning.
Finally for those who struggle with listening skills, an alternative take on the traditional listening is pre-planned version of Chinese whispers. This could take the form of phrases in different tenses that have to be successfully passed down and spoken out. Winning teams are the fastest and most accurate in retaining the target language sentences.
Finding new ways for pupils to use their ‘five a day’ is crucial for future exam success, and we continue to look for new and innovative ways to review, practise and enhance these as we strive for greater exam success in the future.