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MFL teachers: late starters in language- how does your school do it?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by Maryja, Aug 8, 2019.

  1. Maryja

    Maryja New commenter

    Hi All, I work in a school with really small mixed ability classes, which is lovely. However, we do have the occasional entrant to, say, Y8 who hasn’t done the language in Y7. At present we just do our best to help the student catch up by giving attention in the extra small classes, but I was wondering if there were any tips from MFL leaders on how they cope with this. For instance, would you send a summer programme home, or put on extra tuition for the student in Y8 who hasn’t done French in Y7? Or do you just differentiate your lessons until the student catches up? Another possibility which struck me is that some schools might timetable language in sets, but this is administrative hassle, no doubt. Anyway! Grateful for replies as I have responsibility for students’ progress in MFL.
  2. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

    When I was teaching, I used to differentiate resources in the lesson just as you described. I did also give individual catch up lessons at lunchtime and occasionally I could ‘borrow’ a lesson slot from another subject that matched with one of my own frees - that works best in the first week or so that the student is in the class. I also asked them to practise key high frequency vocabulary from the missed Y7 classes at home using the games on my website, such as verbs, adverbs, connectives and adjectives etc.
    A lot depended on the commitment of the pupil concerned. I did have to watch that the student didn’t become overly reliant on support from other pupils (i.e. copying!)
    If you had setting, I wouldn’t have recommended placing the student in a lower set than their ability would suggest, this just allows the pupil to sink to the level of the rest of the class. Less able pupils might also find it more difficult to offer peer support.
    You could try pairing the new pupil with a very able pupil in the class after having given that pupils tips in giving support.
    Time spent showing the new pupil how to use help pages (grammar and vocab lists) in the textbook and how to use a foreign language dictionary would also help build the pupil’s confidence.
  3. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

    You are so lucky to have small classes @Maryja!
  4. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

  5. Maryja

    Maryja New commenter

    Thank you so much for these very helpful suggestions and sorry for my late reply! They will be very useful.

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