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Does anyone have experience of teaching AS-level and A-level students in the same group?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by musiclover1, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    I have 5 very bright and keen year 11 students planning to go on to German A-level next year. But the Head reckons that I need 10 to make a viable group. What should my strategy be, and is there any way I could perhaps combine some of the Year 12 lessons with Year 13 next Year (they're a class of 8)? I think it would be possible, but I don't really want to set a precedent - just because it may work one year, that doesn't mean it should always be like that.My colleagues are hoping for candidates from other schools - but that's just a hope, not a solution.
     
  2. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter



    I’ve been teaching AS and A2 German vertically
    for a few years now mainly because it’s the only way of keeping German on the
    curriculum. I have not yet found any way to teach year 12 and year 13 together.
    So, other things have to be done, for example:
    • <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">

      </font> recognise that you will never get the balancing act right;
    • depending on the structure of the timetable allocate certain lessons to
      year 12 and others to year 13, particularly in double lessons
    • find plenty of independent work for the group you&rsquo;re not concentrating on,
      remembering that at A level they should be working independently in listening
      and reading tasks &ndash; with AQA and a Kerboodle subscription, this is less of a
      problem than it might at first appear to be, assuming you have the facilities
      to send them away to use computers;
    • when you do send the students way, make sure they understand why they&rsquo;re
      working independently and impose a strict time limit on them; the brigher they are, the more they'll appreciate not only why you're having to do this but also the benefits for them as learners;
    • <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">

      </font> use the time in the lessons for speaking practice, grammar explanations and
      going over work; students should be able to mark listening and reading work
      themselves, freeing you to concentrate on marking writing;
    • <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">

      </font> try and use any slack on the timetable for one group or the other;
    • <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">

      </font> don&rsquo;t let anyone lecture you about differentiation ever again.

    e trouble is you&rsquo;ll
    get no sympathy from people who have post-16 classes of 18 or even 28 students.



     
  3. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    I presume you do not have a nearby school you can work with to save money. We do video-conferencing with our small Spanish group thus reducing timetabling load and saving money.
     
  4. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    So, how exactly do you organise the 'vertical teaching'? And how big are your groups? How many lessons do the students get and are they always taught together? And do you do AQA? And do you have an assistant?
    We have some nearby schools, but they don't do German A-level anymore, so we're hoping to attract some of their students, and then we'll be fine for next year. I'm all hopeful after yesterday's Open Evening.
     
  5. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    Thank you for your interesting contribution. So, if you got 8 year 12's next year, would they let you split them again? What's the cut-off point?

    I have 8 students in Year 12, and they're quite immature, whereas out of the 3 in year 11 who want to carry on, 2 are Oxbridge type people. Hence the idea to just put them in Year 13, but then they'd be studying all the wrong topics for their exam. And although they're as good as year 12 with the grammar at the moment, by the end of the year year 12 will have overtaken them, presumably, as they get more lessons. Our year 12 get 4 one hour lessons per week by the way, plus a group lesson with the assistant, plus 1/2 hour in a small group with the assistant. We also have kerboodle.
    I'm amazed you've taught people A-level who scraped a C at GCSE - did they succeed?
     
  6. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    I'd need at least 10 in each year group to go back to separate groups, and that's never going to happen. No one with a grade C has yet made it to the A2 course. They're simply not up to it. Having an inclusive post-16 set-up means that my protests about their unsuitability fall on deaf ears and I'm told that beggars can't be choosers.
    In the worst case scenario, those grade C students fall behind right from the first lessons, and what you say about immaturity rings true with me. It is impossible to support them as they do not have the aptitude or attitude and we can't give them either of those qualities. I cannot begin to describe the frustration when the work they produce is worthless and shows no awareness of any grammar at all. In the main they give up after they've exhausted their avoiding tactics because they were never cut out for A level study in any subject in the first place, and to me this is wrong on at least three counts:
    • those weak students are wasting their own time;
    • they slow down the pace and reduce the level of the genuine students;
    • they take up a disproportionate amount of pastoral time which could be put to more effective use.
    If they do make it as far as the AS examination, it usually means that they have to be dragged kicking and screaming through the speaking test and end with an E or a U in the mixed paper. One or two then disappear at the end of the AS exam period and do not return to the school at all.
    It is a very disheartening experience for all concerned. I hope that your experience is a happier one.
     
  7. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    Thank you for posting - I find it so useful to compare different schools. I have worked in 3 schools so are and all of them said 'miminum grade B to carry on to A-level'. And I found that the grade B students did struggle, but they coped and finished the course. So the 'miminum grade B' rule seems to be quite a good rule of thumb.
     
  8. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    You're welcome. I don't have a problem with grade C per se, given what it represents for the majority of students - as discussed on another thread: https://community.tes.co.uk/forums/t/543233.aspx. My objection is that it is not and never can be a starting point for A level. I'd agree that grade B should be the minimum, and that it should be only available via higher tier listening and reading, as a starting point for A level.
     

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