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Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by dowber, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. Hi all I am a MFL specialist and although I am teaching KS4 Spanish, my school has decided to concentrate on improving levels of English rnther than any foreigh language acquisition. With this mind I am now teaching 'linguistics' at KS3 - no SoW, no advice, bo perameters, just the brief 'to make the kids want to learn another language'! I can teach Italian and French as well, with some very basic German, but I dont want to offer a mish mash of European languages, and the school wants me to contribute to raising standards of literacy in English, HELP. Has anyone else undertaken this sort of project. Incidentally I am the only MFL teacher at the school and am part of the English department, the HoD is lovely but has no MFL expertise whatsoever thus any help would be appreciated. Thanks
  2. Linguistics need not be academic. I remember reading a fascinating book when I was around 11 years of age - and that goes back nearly 50 years. It was called "The Loom of Language" by Frederick Bodmer, published 1944. It is still around in an edition edited by Lancelot Hogben - search Amazon. You can probably pick up a second-hand edition for a few quid.
    Graham Davies
  3. Does this mean that no MFL is taught at KS3? I thought that it was compulsory. Are they planning to offer a language from scratch in KS4? If not won't that mean 0% Ebacc? If the plan is to offer MFL ab initio from Year 10 then they have chosen a route which usually only successful with able students. From your comments I don't imagine that you have too many of those.
    So basically you are being asked to teach a largely 'academic' subject to lower ability students, whilst depriving them of a more prctical one. Grammar is of course part of linguistics, so you could at least teach the English grammar so often glossed over in English lessons. That would be one very positive result.
    I agree a linguistic mish mash is absolutely useless either to encourage language acquisition or to improve their English.
    You cannot truely understand the nature of and structure of your own language unless you can escape from it and view from distance. Like the view from your home looking out is so different from the one looking at it from the outside. This can only be achieved by a solid grounding in an MFL. Its acquisition is best started as young as possible. I truely only understood English grammar by learning French and Ltin grammar.
    Finally I have taught linguistics as an extra lesson (no-one knew what to do with) in Year 8. There are all sorts of fun activities you can do under the banner 'linguistics'. However I really don't think that we achieved much in the long term. Hand on heart I doubt that we had much impact on literacy.
    You are in a very difficult situation. I don't envy you one little bit.
  4. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    'Linguistics' is just the study of language, so any activity would qualify.
    If you look at David Chrystal's work- he's the one who stated it as a Uni subject back in the early 70s? but there was only one Uni (his) doing it at the time so I missed out as I didn't get a place.
    There's masses more than 'my simple statement' above but really you need to use thinking skills to get students involved in thinking 'how language works'. So something like nonsense poems Jabberwocky, Edward Lear and Lewis Carrollspring to mind. Can they spot what function a word is doing in a sentence etc?
    Then for example you could look at a Russian newspaper or a piece of Klingon etc..Can they spot the function words? This would give them a basic intro to 'the grammar of language' 7 they could spend ages investigating differences/ comparisons between nouns / adjectives / verbs which could easily take hal a term.
    Then you could look at language families-Romance languages, Teutonic (link this with Old English) as those seem to be in your repertoire. Are the 'rules of language always the same? How are they different
  5. All true but really is this what low abilty ks3 classes going to get any long term benefit from. A lot of this could be done in English lessons. If it is really valuable, why are n't they doing it already? If this is all the MFL they are being taught then they are being deprived of a valuable part of the curriculum to which they are entitled?
    None of the independent schools near me bother with this kind of thing. They get on and teach MFL properly. I can imagine that friends of mine paying £30,000 a year in fees would be up in arms if such a thing was tried. They would think that they were getting poor value for money.
  6. You hit the nail on the head, OTTER!
    Graham Davies
  7. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    Your school is obviously incredibly blinkered to not realise that learning another language is one of the best ways to improve literacy. When you are teaching the FL, you constantly refer to English and make comparisons. The KS3 Framework objectives for MFL are almost identical to the KS2 Literacy objectives, so reinforce everything they've already done. Similarly, KS2 MFL reinforces all the KS1 literacy. Time to make them wake up and smell the coffee!!!
  8. Heard this news report on the radio this morning (link is to the tv version of it)... wondered whether some sort of linguistics activity could be pulled out of it?


    It's about an African language being written for the first time - until now it's been entirely oral. Interesting stuff.

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