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AFL, Higher Order Thinking Skills and Questioning in MFL

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by MereRoyaume, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. Does anyone have any good examples of how to do any of the above effectively whilst maintaining the target language? This is an important focus for my school at the moment, but we are finding it tricky in MFL because we feel it often takes us (and therefore the students) away from using the target language.
    Does anyone have any good examples of using AFL in the target language they would be happy to share?
    How are you using questioning in your MFL classroom?
    How are you demonstrating that you are working on higher order thinking skills in the MFL classroom?
    Any ideas, suggestions or tips would be very gratefully received.
  2. I've been wondering the same thing and I find it really tricky to use higher order questioning in MFL. I usually get the kids to infer grammar rules. I put a few example sentences on the board and ask them 'How do you think this verb was changed? Why? How does that affect the rest of the sentence?', etc. I have trained them to understand my questions in French but I can't expect them to reply in French as it is too advanced.
    Not sure this is very helpful. Looking forward to reading other people's comments.
  3. In the resources area someone has been kind enough to translate Blooms Taxonomy into French. We have a laminated copy in each of our classrooms. I've found that it prompts me into asking the pupils to "evaluer/classifier/deduire" (sorry no accents) etc during lessons. For very adaptable AifL (in Scotland, Assessment is for learning) activities, you might want to search on pinterest - formative assessment as a search term brings up loads easily transferable ideas which can be simply explained in TL.

    Hope that helps a little!
  4. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy New commenter

    AfL works quite well, to an extent, in my experience. But it's pointless trying to do most of it in the target language.
    There are as many views on TL as there are teachers of MFL, but mine, for what it's worth, is that it's more important for the kids to understand what they are doing than to hear a lot of unintelligible gabble.
    I would suggest you use TL where appropriate and do most of your AfL and questioning in Emglish.
    If you are in a department that thinks TL is the be all and end all then, well, try to move!

  5. gsglover

    gsglover Occasional commenter

    For the students I teach, this is impossible for all in TL so I do not attempt it.
  6. AifL (sorry, can't seem to drop the "i") in Scottish schools is at the heart of our Curriculum for Excellence. I think there are many activities which can be part of an everyday Modern Languages classroom and can explained in simple target language:
    - traffic lighting
    - no hands up (using lolly sticks or cards with pupil names on)
    - think/pair/share
    - show-me board activities
    - yes/no spoons (plastic picnic spoons showing the TL word for yes on one side, no on the other or could be coloured green and red)
    - exit passes (at its simplest could be a smiley/sad face on a post-it note to reflect pupil's perception of their learning in that lesson)
    - colour gradients (I use paint charts and cut out a strip of 3 similar colours shaded from light to dark, when the pupils are doing speaking activities, to assess their partner/group, they point to the shade which reflects the quality of the answer with the lightest colour being the weakest)
    - phone a friend (if a pupil is stuck on an answer they are allowed to ask another pupil for help rather than the teacher diving in with a response - one simple phrase in the TL, "phone a friend". I remember one lesson ended up with 8 pupils adding to a very extended, well thought out answer, it was fantastic!)

    Just some ideas that might be helpful, AifL has been very evident in Scottish education for a number of years now, in my school we have Teacher Learning Communities set up where every member of staff meets within a group of 8 every term to discuss and share AifL techniques. We observe each other in the classroom to see best practice in action.
  7. Can you tell me where? I can't find it.
  8. I have this saved on my computer. If you give me your e-mail address, I will send it to you.
    Thanks to all who've replied. I am sure I will get there!
  9. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    I would argue that most of the stuff on questioning is irrelevant to MFL, unless you are taking about cultural or grammar stuff in English. We use questioning in MFL for different purposes - to develop internalisation of grammar and vocab through practice. Our questioning is "artificial", often a kind of game playing to develop fluency, especially at lower levels, and SLT need to understand this. If you are interested I have discussed this in my blog a couple of times;
  10. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    That's my opinion too, despite what teacher trainers, advisors (remember them?) and consultants might think?
  11. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    I always thought one of the arts of language teaching was to make it intelligible! ;)
  12. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    In theory, certainly,but what happens in practice is a very different matter. I had enough trouble the other getting a year 12 group to understand what possessive adjectives are through the medium of English; so I dread to think of the confusion if I'd tried to explain them in German.
  13. May be a silly question, but what ARE possessive adjectives? I'm German, but I have no idea....
  14. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I was wondering that. Possessive pronouns I understand but possessive adjectives? Tried looking up in but there's a big discussion on whether words like mine /yours/ ours are possessive <u>determiners</u> or possessive <u>adjectives</u>. So perhaps even the experts aren't quite clear?
  15. whapbapboogy

    whapbapboogy New commenter

    Don't we all get the terminology wrong sometimes? I know I definitely do, even if I teach them the stuff......[​IMG]
  16. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    They're called possessive adjectives in the book (AQA AS German) on page 47 and possessive adjectives and pronouns on page 109. I suppose they're considered to be adjectives because "my book" is different from "your book", just as "a red book" is different from "a blue book", and therefore the possessive pronoun acts as a descriptor as well as an indication of ownership. Googling the term "possessive adjective" returns 521,000 hits, and "possessive adjectives German" returns over a million.
    I have another problem in that, as soon as I say that "mein" is the genitive pronoun (where "ich" is nominative, "mich" accusative, and "mir" dative), I suddenly have students thinking that in a utterance like "Ich habe mein Buch vergessen" we must have the genitive case for the direct object. So, going back to my original point, explaining all that in German would be less than successful.
    I know they're pronouns, but contradicting the textbook is more trouble than it's worth. You can imagine how much I'm looking forward to explaining the subjunctive.
  17. I would love to get a copy of the Blooms Taxonomy in French too.
  18. veverett

    veverett Occasional commenter

    my, your, her, our, their = possessive adjectives because they go with the noun

    my house, your book

    mine, yours, hers, ours, theirs = possessive pronouns because they replace the noun

    this is mine, that is yours

    Works the same in French and Spanish, but I don't know about German!
  19. facebook81

    facebook81 New commenter

    Know what possessive adjectives are is one thing and very laudable I am sure, but that's learning about language not learning language. They can use possessive adjectives in English I suppose? Then there is no explaining required surely. Someone said here that it's more important that the kids know what they are doing. Yes, up to a point, but being in doubt and working it out is a valuable learning opportunity (where on the Bloom's taxidermy that is I really don't care) that needs to be exploited. Often we can give our learners an excuse not to understand, but we should try to use every real context to present the TL to our learners. That is a valuable listening activity in itself.

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