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Lesson Objectives and Levels

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by cake4tea, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. cake4tea

    cake4tea New commenter

    We have been told that we need lesson objectives which cover 3 levels in each lesson, with the idea that they apply to all / most / and some students. The objectives are not to be tasks. We have been given Bloom's Taxonomy as a starting point for the type of skills different levels of tasks may demand, but we are struggling. We cannot see how, for example, the teaching of new grammar can be at anything other than one level, and in most cases, below L4, as there is neither tense work nor the scope to use opinions. Can anyone help?
     
  2. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    It's impossible for any lesson to include all the attributes of one level, never mind three!
    The work elicited might include some of the attributes of a given level.
    NC Levels are descriptors that allow a teacher to take an overview of several years' output from a pupil. They are specifically designed to be allocated at the end of a Key Stage, not on a daily, weekly, termly or even a yearly basis. As for sub-levels, they have no basis in National Curriculum documentation and are invented (with differing criteria) in individual schools.
    Teachers simply need , over the course of a Key stage, to give all pupils the opportunity to demonstrate the broad range of skills and knowledge for the NC level that they are deemed capable of achieving.
    It always bothered me when I was teaching MFL in long-term posts that a pupil including a parrotted phrase in a Future or Past tense was regarded as level 5, despite not being able to compose a coherent sentence themself from scratch (even in the Present tense that has been more widely drilled), having appalling spelling and offering 'opinions' that were nothing more than it's good/interesting/ difficult/super/OK - again all teacher drilled phrases that relied heavily on cognates.
    It's tick-box culture gone mad.
    Differentiation in today's schools is more to do with the meeting of objectives being recorded on paper, even if the lowest of the objectives doesn't sufficiently challenge the lowest achievers in the class. Set objectives that all pupils can achieve with their eyes shut and you are onto a winner with SMT. Give all pupils challenging work that they might not master in a single lesson and you're deemed to be failing them.
    I come across too many pupils who are not interested in excelling at a subject or in doing more than the laid-down requirements for getting a certain NC level or a Grade C at GCSE. I am sorely tempted to tell them that Grade C, and even a Grade B in some subjects, would have been an O level Unclassified (Fail) in my day.
    I had a depth of grammatical and vocabulary knowledge in MFL at O level that might well be missing from many high-grade holders of A levels today but I only achieved grades 2 and 3 in my two MFL subjects (1-6 pass grades). GCSE pupils look traumatised when shown an old O level paper as many wouldn't have aclue how to write an a composition of several hundred words in French or Spanish if they hadn't been given plenty of notice of the title and tips about what to include and had the chance to write it at leisure (cut 'n' paste) and memorise it.
    That's how grade inflation happens; a.k.a Dumbing Down!
     
  3. I really feel for you, having to put up with this sort of rubbish. One of the great things about being in the private sector is that we don't have to worry about all this NC level and sublevel stuff, let alone three-tiered lesson objectives! We just teach, plain and simple, in whatever style suits us best, and, somehow, it all just seems to work...
     
  4. cake4tea

    cake4tea New commenter

    It's pleasing to know that we are not the only people who are confused by this. Other departments in school are experiencing similar difficulties, but apparently it's what the new head honcho at OFSTED wants.
    Thanks for the helpful comments!
     

  5. Really? Is that official? In a framework somewhere? Or just rumour?
     
  6. Wenn ich ?Ofsted? höre, nehme ich meine Pistole.
     
  7. Ha ha ha - I wish


     
  8. I was told "it's in the strategy" We are told that LOs can only start with certain phrases e.g. to know / to understand so I'm not allowed an objective like "To be able to name rooms in the house" even though that might be what I'm teaching!
     
  9. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    That's what I did.
    Explain reasonably why it doesn't make sense to do this in MFL. Tell them that, if they really insist, you'll write whatever they like on your lesson plans, that you'll make up whatever is required, but that it will be a pointless exercise, and whatever you write will be essentially meaningless. Tell them also that when Ofsted come along you're quite happy to explain to them why you think the use of this type of thing is pointless and counter-productive.

     
  10. level 2c to improve include an opinion about Ofsted and make sure the gun is loaded
     
  11. I did that and it came up in my "hearing" where I was accused of not following intructions and I also refused to rewrite the SoL with a lesson plan for each lesson for 5 years
     
  12. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    Sounds to me like you're better off out of there...
     
  13. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    Explain how Bloom's taxonomy and our NC levels do not coincide. I don't believe a word about what Ofsted is supposed to have said.
     
  14. mpillette

    mpillette New commenter

    Neither the current Ofsted framework not the draft one for 2012+ says anything as detailed as having to cover 3 NC levels in each lesson. I don't work for Ofsted, but I know that what they do hope to see is lessons which enable all pupils in a class to progress sufficiently. How many levels a lesson plan should allow scope for should surely be dictated by the ability range in each class. Besides, labelling activities as level 1, level 2, etc. is meaningless. Levels should only be given on a 'best fit' basis on the strength of the work done by individuals over a period of time. This is not merely my opinion, by the way, it is what QCA have always stated.
     
  15. I have to work with the"Know / Understand / Be able to" which technically applies to"Remember" "Understanding" and "Applying". You should be able to do that in most lessons, including grammar. For example, you can expect your pupils to know how to say "I am going to" in French, to understand how to build the future tense and to be able to use the future tense in a short paragrap (ie: to remember "je vais", to understand adding the infinitive" and to apply it by using it in a sentence). For vocabulary, they can know how to say 4 rooms of the house, to understand how to describe your house and then to be able to describe your house and say whether you like it or not. Something like that... It makes up for level 1: recognising words, 2:understanding short sentences / making up your own and 3:adding your opinion.I wrote this quite quickly but I hope it helps at least a tiny bit...
     
  16. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    I can see that this may be useful to the extent that it shows that you have different outcomes / expectations of different pupils according to their ability...
    But by writing this kind of thing on lesson plans you're making zero difference to the effectiveness of your teaching. And you're attempting to make something fit that is simply not designed to. The OP's SMT may see your post and say "there you go, that's how it's done". But we all know it's basically meaningless, and what we should be doing is telling SMT this and explaining to them why this is so (and pointing to the fact that, as previously stated, the NC levels were NEVER intended to be used in this way).
    (In my opinion)
     
  17. What I have noticed when reviewing resources kindly submitted by TES users is that a lot of the material contains explanations in English about what particular level they should be aiming at and at the end of the lesson they should be on this or that particular NC level. Sometimes the amount of effort that has been put into these extra slides on power points is truly incredible. It makes me wonder that if less time were spent on this aspect and more on the TL this can only improve the quality and quantity of the work. Continually stopping and breaking into English to discuss and "assess our progress" and show where we could improve to me, takes time from contact with the language. It may be useful for other reasons of course, for ones of classroom control and motivation, but resorting to trickery and smoke and mirror activities seems an awful shame. On one resource I saw, there were 5 connectives in the TL and then in English was the instruction "using the level descriptors on your table decide, in groups, what levels these words are?"
     

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