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Boost confidence and ability in MFL

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by jj30, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. I have recently started at a new school.

    The pupils, even the top set, are so unenthusiastic, say they can't do/hate French, want removed from French, don't understand. I'm even getting parental complaints saying that their children cannot understand what is being taught.
    Can anyone offer advice on how I can turn this situation around please?
     
  2. I have recently started at a new school.

    The pupils, even the top set, are so unenthusiastic, say they can't do/hate French, want removed from French, don't understand. I'm even getting parental complaints saying that their children cannot understand what is being taught.
    Can anyone offer advice on how I can turn this situation around please?
     
  3. Geekie

    Geekie New commenter

    What is your position in the school ?
     
  4. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    Wow, that's a tough one. I'd aim to change things from Y7 and Y8 onwards and build up positivity over the years. For Y9, perhaps link things with topics that your students are interested in and highlight the global dimension of French (the first homework I give is to do a poster with as many reasons to learn languages as possible). If you have GCSE students who have that attitude, point out that their GCSE grades will follow them for the rest of their lives and they might as well get on with it and get the best grade they can, even if they don't like it.
    I guilt-trip some kids on a one-to-one basis: if they have been particularly difficult in one lesson, keep one behind, explain exactly how much time and effort you have put into planning that lesson, how you don't get to pick and choose which student you teach so similarly they can't pick and choose which lesson to be positive in. In fact, attitude is part of the contract they all have stuck in their books, "Mrs N tries very hard to make her lessons exciting and interesting and always helps me when I have a problem so in return, I will try hard in lessons, have a positive attitude and ask for help when I need it" (or something along those lines).
    If you aren't the head of department, could you liaise with them to see what they are trying to do about it? If you are, have a chat with the headteacher / relevant heads of year to tackle this problem head on as a whole-school. It is completely unacceptable that even parents are questioning the curriculum and undermining you in that way, and it needs to be tackled whole-school. What next? Are they going to dislike geography, or RE, or sport, and get their children removed from lessons too? Why don't they just set up their own school whilst they're at it...
     
  5. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    Having re-read your original post more carefully, I'd also question whether there is any foundation in the "my child doesn't understand" claim. If that is the case then you should review the schemes of work to find out what it is they find so difficult to understand. It may be that you need to take more baby steps with them and praise a lot. If the claim is unfounded however, show your data to parents (clearly little Johnny understands more than he claims as he got 74% in the listening test etc). Offer optional lunchtime support - in my experience they rarely turn up but it gives me ammunition against the whole "poor little me, look, my teacher sets tasks that are too hard and doesn't give me strategies to cope or any help".
    Good luck!
     

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