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Help urgently needed for non-specialist!

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by fuzzycat, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. I've just been given one lesson of Year 7 German per week. I do speak it (not fluently, but well) but as I'm an Art specialist I am a bit clueless as to the structure of a language lesson. I don't have any time to observe before I have to teach it. Can anybody please give me some ideas for suitable activities? I have a scheme of work; we're just doing greetings in lesson 1 but I have no idea what to do in the hour I've got. I haven't even had time to speak to the HoD about what to do yet as I've literally just found out! Please help stop me panicking!
  2. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    HI fuzzycat - I don't know any Germam I'm afraid, but can give you some pointers.

    Does the Scheme of Work say what the children have to be able to do by the end? Do they need to be able to write the greetings, for example, or is it more oral work?

    I expect that this will be the first exposure that most of the children will have had to German. The easiest thing for you will be to "listen and repeat" - you say the word, perhaps with an accompanying action, and the children repeat it back to you, all together to build their confidence. Then you say the words, they do the actions, you do the actions, they do the words. With greetings you can get them to interview each other and therefore help each other to practise as well. They could also make up and perform some little dialogues - when you're doing greetings a little language will go a long way.

    With greetings as well you'll be able to tell them some of the cultural aspects of greeting someone in Germany.

    I hope this goes some way to helping you.
  3. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    Hi! Don't panic! We're a friendly bunch (with a few trolls hanging around) and we'll give you ideas :)
    For Y7 you can aim to teach them between 6-10 item of vocabulary per lesson. Explain what topic you're doing today, introduce the words orally, get the class to repeat after you, then you can do various games to get them to remember - e.g. repeat only if I'm showing you the right picture, or boys repeat, girls repeat, etc, until you and they feel that they've got it. At some point show them the written word, perhaps they can write it down in their books (or you can print a word list if you think it will take them too long to copy it down). It's then useful for students to see those words in a different context, for instance in a short text or by making up some conversations between themselves using the words you've just taught them. In the topic of greetings, I'd probably invent a sign for each greeting (e.g. Hallo = shaking hands, Auf Wiedersehen = waving hands, etc), and towards the end of the lesson build up towards them being able to invent and carry out a little role-play (particularly if they know Wie heisst du? Ich heisse...).
    Just a thought that I'm throwing out there. I've recently become very interested in CLIL, that is, teaching real content in a different language. Have you ever thought of teaching your art lessons in German? If you teach that same Y7 class for art it would be great for them to see that languages are not confined to their languages lessons. If you think carefully about how to explain art concepts using German words that are very similar to English it could be a great experience for your students - and research into bilingual lessons shows that students' concentration improves as their brain is stimulated on two different levels.
  4. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    Great minds think alike Geekie, I wrote this before I saw your post (slow internet, long story!) [​IMG]
  5. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy New commenter

    Please don't hesitate to tell me I'm naive and have missed a point somewhere if I am/have, but why are you teaching German if you haven't been trained to teach languages?
  6. Probably because they are cutting costs in her school, as in many other schools. I am not surprised anymore, I know French teachers who teach German and Spanish without knowing but the basics of each of those, German teachers teaching French in same circumstances, even I have recently met a Geography trained teacher who is been teaching science for the last 10 years... is it the state of education today?
    At least the OP knows German, who is worse somebody who is a trained MFL teacher teaching a language he doesn't know or a trained teacher who is a fluent speaker of German but didn't train specifically in teaching languages? I'd say it depends on the person and his/her willingness to learn.
  7. Thanks for your help. Have been buried in paper for the last week!
    tortuman, that's exactly the reason - I'm certainly not the only one teaching out of their area in my school this year (or in some other schools that I know of). I'd say my German is level B1-B2, according to the criteria I read - which wouldn't be enough for GCSE, probably, but I know far more than is required for Year 7, and I'm extremely picky about getting all my grammar correct etc and work on my own language skills at home anyway.
    What would be hugely helpful is if someone could give me a rough outline of how long you spend on each activity - ie a list of what you do in a lesson (do they answer register in the language, how do you teach new vocab, how long do you spend listening and repeating, ideas of other activities, how much do you speak in the target language). The lesson format is so different from my usual subject that I need ideas of activities! I know this sounds basic but I really do want to get it right and I have limited time for observation.

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