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MFL Hinge Questions

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by tastytortilla, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. expresslts

    expresslts New commenter

    Hi folks,

    I'm wondering how many of you use "hinge questions" in your lessons. I read all these articles about what others are doing (not usually in MFL) and feel my teaching is lacking as a result.

    The one example I have seen for French was just a "pick the correct verb" question. I feel like my lessons don't seem to be so intellectually challenging as they might be in other subjects. Do other feel the same? Are there any pearls of wisdom you can share?
  2. Incommunicado

    Incommunicado Occasional commenter

    Are there any clear examples anywhere of 'hinge questions' ? Googling 'hinge questions' shows all sorts of views and comments about them, without any examples. Very frustrating.
  3. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    Never heard of "hinge questions" (I'm retired) till I spotted this thread and did some Googling of my own. Here is one result that came up at http://www.sec-ed.co.uk/best-practice/teaching-practice-hinge-questions/:

    What does a hinge question look like?

    If the teacher had just concluded a topic on word classes and wishes to assess whether or not students can identify a verb, they might ask the following: The cat purred loudly at me. Where is the verb in this sentence? Is it word A, B, C or D?

    If the teacher had just taught rhetorical devices, he/she might ask the following: which of these is alliteration?
    1. The golden disc of the sun burned.
    2. The sizzling summer sun smiled sweetly.
    3. I felt the red hot sun on my back.
    4. The trees swayed gently in the wind.
    polyglot91 likes this.
  4. expresslts

    expresslts New commenter

    This is what I was thinking. The only example I could find for MFL was regarding identifying the future tense of aller out of 4 options.

    When I read a blog post about them, the poster described these as being revolutionary, but I do quiz type questions like that a lot anyway. Was wondering whether my understanding of a hinge question was therefore wrong.
  5. expresslts

    expresslts New commenter

    Thank you, just seemed to be little to nothing for MFL which I find is far too often the case :(
  6. Incommunicado

    Incommunicado Occasional commenter

    Thanks for your help, Dodros.

    "Hinge questions" looks like yet another of those bloated expressions dressed up to sound so impressive when in fact it they refer to something totally trivial. I can't see anything new in them.
    pascuam49 and polyglot91 like this.
  7. veverett

    veverett Occasional commenter

    So the question is turning into 'what questions are not hinge questions' The answer being questions where the answer is not revealing of whether pupils have understanding.
    bonxie and polyglot91 like this.
  8. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    So hinge questions = multiple choice questions ?

    If it was good enough for CSE....
    pascuam49 likes this.
  9. vuvuzela

    vuvuzela Occasional commenter

    What a load of pretentious rubbish! I wish I'd never heard of 'hinge questions' now because I'm feeling considerably irritated by them.
    polyglot91 likes this.
  10. veverett

    veverett Occasional commenter

    No, it is a thing. It turns out that lots of questions don't actually get at whether they've really got it or not. They might be remembering the word without knowing how to form it. You might have taught them one form of the verb which they can produce, but don't even realise that it can be changed into other forms. There's a lot of it about eg pupils who can say "Est-ce que je peux enlever ma veste" but don't realise that je peux means I can. So they can seem to know something but not actually know it. So a hinge question is a really well designed question that actually reveals what they do/don't understand.

    They don't have to be multiple choice. For example in English if you say "What part of speech is film?" the answer you really want is "You can't tell until you see it in a sentence because it could be a noun, verb or a noun being used as an adjective (film critic)."

    Hattie gives examples from maths where there are badly designed questions where the right answer happens to be one that pupils could get while actually using the wrong reasoning!

    I think the original question is odd though. You can't randomly suggest good hinge questions for MFL. You need to specify what concept you are trying to see if pupils have understood.

    Maybe if we are doing adjectival agreement, a hinge question would be

    What is the difference between these two sentences?
    J'ai un frere et une soeur tres intelligents
    J'ai un frere et une soeur tres intelligente

    the answer a pupil gives to that, should show if they've got it or not.
    polyglot91 likes this.
  11. veverett

    veverett Occasional commenter

    Or if it wasn't Hattie it was Dylan William
  12. vuvuzela

    vuvuzela Occasional commenter

    Thank you for the explanation. I will most certainly be using hinge questions in all my planning and teaching from now on.
    polyglot91 likes this.
  13. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Not MFL but I heard about hinge questions and hinge moments at in-house CPD in a previous school.

    They seemed to be questions contrived to decide which path a lesson (or a group, or an individual child) should take as a consequence of learning demonostrated or not by their response to a certain questions.

    I thought it was a load of blx. Any moment in a class can be a hinge moment if a teacher knows how to read from student comments/questions/responses/expressions how secure they're feeling at that moment in the class and can decide how to proceed with the lesson in response to that.
    polyglot91 likes this.
  14. veverett

    veverett Occasional commenter

    I agree, as long as you HAVE carefully thought about your questions and what they actually show. A boy pupil who says "Nado = I swim and Nada = she swims" is correct, but NOT if they think it is because of masculine/feminine.
    polyglot91 likes this.

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