1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

How much exposure do learners need before using language?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by tastytortilla, Nov 1, 2017.

  1. tastytortilla

    tastytortilla New commenter

    Hi folks,

    I was told during teacher training that learners should only hear new words to begin with, and not see them, say them or write them as they will not have been internalised.

    Now into my second full year of teaching, I find that I am still not sure of judging how long I need to be introducing vocabulary items before allowing pupils to use them.

    For example, I am delivering a two week taster session of Spanish to S2 (year 8) pupils. We will be doing numbers next, and I'd like to do something like a game of battleships where they can use the letters from the previous lesson and the numbers from the new one.

    How long would experienced teacher spend on having the pupils listen to the numbers? How long would you wait until the pupils used them for themselves somehow?

    I tend to check understanding of new vocab through some numbered cards I made. I display four items on the board and say one of them. Pupils hold up the correct numbered card to show their understanding.

    What other techniques/activities do others use when introducing vocabulary?
  2. bonxie

    bonxie Senior commenter

    polyglot91 likes this.
  3. tastytortilla

    tastytortilla New commenter

  4. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I would say you can ask pupils to 'speak and practise the vocabulary pretty soon as they feel confident. What I think your lecturers were trying to stress is that students shouldn't be exposed to the 'written forms' too early and confuse the pronunciation with the spelling patterns of their mother tongue.

    Some students will 'pick up' on words fairly quickly and others will take far longer, so there is no definitive answer to your question.
    ClearAutism, bonxie and polyglot91 like this.
  5. veverett

    veverett Occasional commenter

    I am very surprised you were told not to let pupils see the written form, especially in Spanish. Teaching pupils the spelling/pronunciation rules is the first thing to do. Otherwise they just make up their own inaccurate English based ways of spelling. Phonics is key. Start it straight away, focusing on the sound spelling link and patterns.
    Dodros and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  6. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    Who told you that?
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  7. cake4tea

    cake4tea New commenter

    This was fashionable 30 years ago but I think using phonics is much more useful in the long term. If pupils know sound / spelling links they can read a passage out loud accurately and this can give them greater confidence.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  8. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I gtrained in 1998/99 and we were also told not to introduce the written words as the first introduction to new vocabulary. I soon stopped following that advice!
    I taught 1-10 in French to Yr 7 pupils and later introduced the written words. When I tested them, the vast majority were writing wheat for huit, sank for cinq etc.
    If you do not let them see the written form at the same time as you introduce the spoken words, they will simply concoct their own image of the written word, based on how similar sounds are written in English.
    My system is that you make sure that you have introduced the pronunciation rules for the sounds that you will be introducing.
    Much as I hate the whole learning styles agenda, and how it is used in schools, it seems daft to me not to be giving the pupils the visuals for words!
  9. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    I don't understand the concept of separating the written word from the spoken word as you learn a language.

    I started learning Mandarin 10 years ago (I live in China), and much prefer to connect the spoken word to the written word (the pinyin version rather than the Chinese character, i.e. the word spelt using our English alphabet). Perhaps I am a visual learner, so find it easier this way?
    polyglot91 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  10. tastytortilla

    tastytortilla New commenter

    This was the teacher training lecturer who told us this. I got pulled up for it on a crit lesson too. Of course, other teacher I observed showed the students the words as they were introducing new vocabulary. I did this myself in a recent lesson and found that the pupils really enjoyed it when I asked questions like "what letters are making this sound?".
  11. tastytortilla

    tastytortilla New commenter

    This was the lecturer responsible for training modern languages teachers. I got pulled up for having the words displayed during a crit lesson as she said you should never show them the words before they have heard them a lot.
    vuvuzela likes this.
  12. tastytortilla

    tastytortilla New commenter

    Glad to hear all the comments saying to allow pupils to see the words as they are introduced. After passing my final crit I stopped doing this as it's not how I would learn a language. Thanks everyone!
  13. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    The things people who have not been a front of a classroom for years and years say!
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  14. vuvuzela

    vuvuzela Occasional commenter

    It reminds me of the Audio-Lingual method.
    Lara mfl 05 and polyglot91 like this.
  15. veverett

    veverett Occasional commenter

    Here's a link to key sounds in words pupils might well meet early on http://www.rachelhawkes.com/Resources/Phonics/FrenchSoundsKeyWords_VEverett.doc
    We used to have these up around the room as posters, but now we've gone with Rachel Hawkes's French phonics http://www.rachelhawkes.com/Resources/Phonics/Phonics.php
    We do LOTS of work on the sound spelling link right from the start. Then they can read aloud accurately (including when they read silently), for Listening, they can correctly turn the sound into the written form, for writing they can spell, for vocabulary learning they can access the words, for lessons you don't have to do repeat after me...
  16. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Rachel Hawkes powerpoints for phonics are really good and I recommend them for early use.
  17. RamiroRamiro

    RamiroRamiro New commenter

    That ships game is a good idea that I'll copy from you ;)
    About timings for reading and writing... I also think that you can start mixing as soon as possible; I don't know about small kids, but with adults, for sure. It really helps in my experience (Spanish guys learning English and French). In fact, I'm now using a tool for online conversation with natives called Lingostan (http://www.lingostan.com, if you want to check it) and I support it with texts, since is a completely audiovisual tool; so I try to give also written versions of what we're talking about to my students.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.

Share This Page