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Cooperative learning

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by louisel, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. Hi,

    I had an observation last week (not PM, theyve introduced termly obs, joy) and was told it was inadequate as it was too teacher led which is why the low level disruptions started etc.. I'm being observed again next week because it wasnt good enough and if I get inadequate again, I get put on special measures or whatever they called it and they'll observe me for a month. The observer said if I'd stuck to my lesson plan, it would have been fine and if I'd been teaching the lesson in a school without the same behaviour issues, it would have been fine.

    I have been teaching for nearly 15 years so was completely devastated by it and it's really knocked my confidence. I worked in my previous school for 11 years and this is my third year at my current school. My current school is a pretty tough one and had no behaviour policy at all in my first year there and was a complete nightmare! It now has an effective BFL policy and although I know I could be better, I think I do a pretty good job.

    Basically I'm really annoyed that one half hour segment of a lesson is enough for all this. I don't agree that it was that bad. Yes it was too teacher led but I've always found my lessons tend to be fairly teacher led in the beginning of a topic. The observer claimed that had I let them discover the vocabulary for themselves, the disruptions would have been avoided. He said they do lots of things like that in Geography etc.

    I have been advised to show my next observation lesson plan to a second year PE teacher who is involved in the teaching and learning group. I found this suggestion to be utterly patronising and ridiculous. I know she teaches theory as well but I don't see what on earth she knows abut language teaching!

    Anyway, does anyone have any suggestions for collaborative learning ideas and group work? Whenever I look at the TES resources, I see some great things but they tend to be teacher led, although maybe they're not intended that way and I use them wrongly.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    I can only agree with other posters. What always annoys me is an MFL lesson being observed by someone who is not a specialist. If some buffoon insults comes in and says, "I was never any good at languages.", I feel like replying, "No, and you're no better at common sense either."
    Students cannot teach themselves, despite what the buffoon might believe. "too much teacher-led"? What are you supposed to do? Give them a task and let them teach themselves until it's time for the plenary? "Co-operative learning" sounds like some drivel thought up by senior managers with too much time and not enough teaching on their hands.
    As for the threat of the month of observations, get your union involved straight away, and go above the school rep if he/she's had no proper training and only opens the post. This needs specialist help. You are a better teacher than those sitting in judgement of you.
  3. I have just discovered wordle.com
    I tried feeding in some questions, wordle presents the key words on IWB,in pairs get them to guess what the questions are possibley using mini whiteboards.
    not something I would do everyday but a good thing to have up your sleeve in times like these.
    Bonne chance!
  4. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    Sorry to hear you've been having a bad time, louisel. I presume, like other posters have said, that you were observed by someone who isn't a subject specialist and doesn't appreciate the intricacies of teaching MFL. You mentioned before that you were going to be doing House and Home next - I have a thinking skills lesson on that here http://www.sunderlandschools.org/mfl-sunderland/resources%20fr%20ts.htm - please feel free to use it. There are also some pair-work House and Home activities here http://www.sunderlandschools.org/mfl-sunderland/resources-startersplenaries-fr.htm#home

    You might also be interested in this list started by Chris Fuller and contributed to by many MFL teachers of ideas for introducing vocabulary https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FO-I7CVU-OvcISQWb8dwg7xolvGtL5VbLNJ7tJPJs1g/edit?pli=1 I think it's important to think about doing some explicit phonics work if you are going to have them learning the vocabulary for themselves.

    Hope this helps
  5. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

  6. I have now spent two consecutive evenings planning for this one lesson on Friday - how ridiculous and unrealistic is that?! It's taking ages as it's a whole new way of thinking for me.

    I've looked at lots of the links you've all posted and they're great. Thanks again everyone.
  7. PS I should make a late New Year's resolution to upload resources to here. I'll try, honest! x
  8. gsglover

    gsglover Occasional commenter

    Just a few observations. In my school, we have 2 observations per year, a standards one and a developmental one where staff are encouraged to try something different or new to them, which will be observed and commeneted on but not graded. I tried a discovery lesson with year 7 about finding out the rules for telling the time in French. They worked in groups in good order but made little headway. I personally viewed it as a useless waste of time(excuse the word) and of no real value. I ached to get back to my own way of teaching, which is predominently teacher focused I admit( still got an outstanding last year from Ofsted!). However, the deputy head(not a teacher of MFL) thought it went very well indeed. There is presumably a golde mean somewhere between the 2 extremes, but I am yet to find it.
  9. Hi! I have recently started using Kagan Strategies for collaborative learning and they work amazingly well. I use them for my A Level groups but You can adapt them to any level. Students really like them and their improvement in, for example, verb tenses, has been amazing. They make the lessons vibrant and diverse and students love learning from each other. I can send you a couple of PPP if you give me your e mail. I have not been observed yet this year but I intend to use them in my next observation. Introduce one in your next lesson observation and see the change in the comments from those awful observers!

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