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How do you show pupils' progress within a short time?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by lavender7, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. I am being observed next week by HoD (1 hour), and the focus in school is very much on AfL, showing progression 2 or 3 times within an hour, that sort of thing, big drive in that direction at the minute (I understand Ofsted are keen on the matter).
    My lesson will be on hobbies (Y7).
    What is the best way to show that pupils have all made progress after 20 minutes, 40 minutes and by the end of the lesson? (and produce evidence, feedback to pupils is also important)
    It is extremely challenging and colleagues who went through that at the end of last term found it very difficult to a) input knowledge b) teach and repeat c) practice d) show that every pupil had improved, and show evidence of progression.
    I think I'd be slated if learning was too "passive" (listening/reading/writing), so I was thinking of concentrating on a <u>pair-work</u> (at least, it shows pupils actually involved in doing something), and designing a "progress sheet" with "I can" statements, where each pupil could tick a box as they work on their phrases (which would be something like "Quels passe-temps tu aimes ? - "Quels passe-temps tu d&eacute;testes ?").
    How could I best include peer-assessment in all that? (I was thinking of asking pupils to mark each other at the end, when everyone's practised their bit and they do it in front of class).
    Ideas and suggestions most welcome! (and greatly appreciated).

  2. As part of our AfL we give all pupils a list of 10 'I can' statements at the start of each unit of work, which they can tick off as and when they feel they can achieve each one.
    How about doing 2 or 3 statements for the lesson and checking pupil progress on these. I often stop a lesson and ask for a show of hands: who finds this quite easy, who feels it is quite hard but can understand the logic, who finds it really difficult.
    If you want real AfL, make the activities level based. Give a conversation in 2 different levels, explain what you need to make it level 3 (for eg). Take into account pupil targets / current attainment.
    Go for differentiation, peer assessment - get pupils to level each other's conversations and explain to others why.
    Use a model - a 'good' pair of pupils and a not so good (don't say so though!!).
    Give pupils feedback at all times - pronunciation, check accents, spelling. Get pupils to evaluate what they feel they have achieved in the lesson.
    I could rant for ages.
    Good luck, and remember if someone wants to criticise you, they can, but only as long as thye can really give you solid examples of how it should be done.
    MFL is one of the hardest subjects to teach!!
  3. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    If you want a template for 'Two stars & a wish' type document there's a selection in resources-you just have to fill in the appropriate language
    found here
  4. Thanks you two, lots of useful suggestions. Keep them coming!
    I feel that teaching them some vocab and then having a role-play is not enough, but not sure what other "active" element I could introduce (not too keen on the other skills, Writing, etc.).
    Or should I finish lesson (say, last 15 minutes) with a Reading ex ?
    There used to be a website that was quite good for a starter, it used magnet-like letters that you could shuffle and then ask the pupils to put back in the right order, does anyone remember?

  5. Lara, I've had a look at the peer-assessment sheet "2 wishes etc", looks interesting but how would a pupil use it? (the one with 2 suns and a child at the bottom - I'm puzzled)
  6. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Lavender, the template are for students to identify two positives about their work (taken from language ladder or QCA etc. and then to suggest a 'wish' for how the student could improve. The ones with 4 boxes I suggest I English target & 1 FL target and ditto with improvements,
    So for example (pre-agreed with the class)
    first target you correctly ask/answer questions about hobbies,
    target 2 Tu peux utiliser J'aime/je n'aime pas correctement.
    wish/tip etc 1 you need to use a wholesentence and not just a phrase.
    wish/tip 2 you need to explain why Je n'aime . . . pas le . . . . .parce que . . . .
    sort of ideas for your suggested lesson.
  7. You could use the traffic light method following on from SmellyEl's idea of a show of hands - provide them with laminated cards in red /orange /green - yes a hassle to do but once you ;ve got them you can use them again and again. Ask for a show of who feels confident about said topic at beginning of lesson. Then do the same at end - red cards will have become at least amber if not green. I have seen this used very successfully (part fo a lesson that got outstanding from OFSTED)
  8. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    Is all this hoop-jumping really necessary?
  9. rosaespanola

    rosaespanola New commenter

    Unfortunately yes, if we want to get anything better than 'unsatisfactory' on a lesson observation.
    Whether it's necessary for the good of the pupils is up for debate.
  10. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    I hear what you're saying. But, really. What a ridiculous state of affairs...
  11. kec974

    kec974 New commenter

    Is the fridge magnet site you're thinking of this one:
    from Sandfields Comprehensive


  12. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    How to show progress within a short time:
    Teacher: Johnny!
    Johnny: Sir?
    Teacher: How do you say "waste of time" in French?
    Johnny: Don't know, sir.
    Teacher: It's "perte de temps".
    Johnny: Right.
    Teacher: So, how do you say "waste of time" in French?
    Johnny: "Perte de temps", sir.
    Teacher: Bravo, Johnny

  13. Thanks everyone.
    I like the Traffic lights idea.
    I'm gonna to try the fridge magnet site (the one I used to use is not free anymore)
    I know what you mean Lapworth, but what can we do? Ofsted rules supreme, unfortunately.

  14. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I like traffic lights but when I did my observed lesson on interview I underestimated the time and so just had to do a quick thumbs up/down/level!
  15. Incommunicado

    Incommunicado Occasional commenter

    <h2>"I know what you mean Lapworth, but what can we do? Ofsted rules supreme, unfortunately".</h2>Sadly that seems to be the case, and I find it ridiculous that inspectors should come in to look at language lessons with their minds already made up as to what constitutes a 'proper' lesson.
    The end justifies the means, and if kids are being enabled to speak a foreign language well, then it matters not a danm HOW they are being taught.
    The lengths that teachers posting here are saying that they have to go to in order to 'prove progress' are surely of highly spurious value; teachers' time and energy are finite, and these commodities must be put to best use, not wasted.
    If Inspectors are coming into lessons with pre-conceived ideas of how they must be organised, then they are stifling innovation and creativity. Regrettably, I cannot see the average SMT members having what it takes to say so. Further, there is never a guarantee that the Inspectors of language lessons have any expertise or experience themselves in this field.
    Would it be possible for C.I.L.T. or A.L.L. or both to come up with recommendations to OFSTED about what constitutes good and effective language teaching, in order to save dithering SMTs this burden? It would be interesting to see whether OFSTED were arrogant enough to reject their recommendations.

  16. "The lengths that teachers posting here are saying that they have to go to
    in order to 'prove progress' are surely of highly spurious value;
    teachers' time and energy are finite, and these commodities must be put
    to best use, not wasted."

    "The end justifies the means, and if kids are being enabled to speak a
    foreign language well, then it matters not a damn HOW they are being

    Not sure if this is quite relevant but we had an interesting discussion today about the time spent preparing lesson resources - basically with my extra responsibilities I just don't have time to prepare lovely powerpoints and I rely heavily upon my presence and personality in the classroom and my experience. Our student commented (being complimentary ) today that I'd taught a double lesson mainly with my boardpen. Yes it'd probably not tick many OFSTED boxes but the kids were engaged, having fun and learning if the follow up written work was anything to go by. I think I'm getting more cynical about every latest initiative as I get older....
  17. rosaespanola

    rosaespanola New commenter

    I doubt you'd find any teachers who disagree with you on that, but as someone else said, unfortunately Ofsted and their unrealistic ideas of what constitutes a successful lesson are what we're forced to work with. Even my pupils have figured out that we do certain things "for Ofsted" and not necessarily because it does the pupils any good.
  18. Incommunicado

    Incommunicado Occasional commenter

    " .....I'd taught a double lesson mainly with my boardpen. Yes it'd probably not tick many OFSTED boxes but the kids were engaged, having fun and learning if the follow up written work was anything to go by".

    Now THAT is my kind of teacher!!!!!! Well said, redpens. I think you've made a lot of us really happy and reassured!

    If that mix of "presence, personality and experience" can produce results then all well and good.
  19. When I read a thread like this I think back to my own teaching career, which began with my PGCE course in 1964-65. OFSTED had not even been thought of in those days. We just went into the classroom and taught. As trainee teachers we we encouraged to use the audio-lingual approach that was in vogue at the time (and which I hated), but no one forced us to adopt a particular methodology: no SOWs, no attainment targets, no lesson plans, no national curriculum. The only target we had to hit was the O-Level exam. Methodologies are in any case short-lived, lasting around 20-30 years, i.e. the average career span of a teacher. Read this article; it's a fascinating history of methodologies and their successes and failures:
    Decoo W. (2001) On the mortality of language learning methods. Available at:
    The school at which I began my career was never inspected during the three years I spent there. As novice teachers we only had advisers who sat in on our lessons and offered friendly advice over a cup of tea in the staffroom. My adviser was the late, great Ted Wragg. I learned so much from him.
    As stated in an earlier posting it all boils down to "presence, personality and experience" in the end.
    bonxie likes this.
  20. Good idea Lara (if I run out of time, I'll do that).
    The lesson is on Hobbies (year 7), and I plan to teach a few new phrases + vocab, and do a pair-work (first, between 2 pupils, then one where pupils ask as many peers as they can, moving about, I want them ALL engaged), with the kids having some sort of sheet to mark each other.
    But after those 2 pair-works, I should have about 10-15 mns left, I am not sure what I should then do in order "to show progression" (a Listening would be too hard, and a reading is out of the question at this stage). There are only 2 skills in my lesson but never mind, I think the focus has moved on from the 4 skills lesson (I haven't been inspected in ages).
    I thought of a simple Fill in the blanks before the pair-work, what do you reckon?
    Suggestions for the Plenary welcome too.

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