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No support in mfl lessons

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by queenie13, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. I have been told we can't have support in any MFL lessons, including gcse, as we are not a "literacy rich" subject! However, BTEC Health & Social does qualify. Many of our vulnerable Y 7 students are accustomed to support in other subjects and struggle in MFL, even though we try our best. So although we feel like just giving up, I would be grateful for any advice/strategies!
  2. Our y7 are taught mixed ability all year, some pupils are brilliant, some can't even follow a simple instruction.
    We get across this by doing a lot of oral work - the course we use encourages this for at least half of each lesson.
    With listening and written work it is all down to differentiation.
    Imagine I want sentences tranlated into French. This is how I do it:
    Worksheet 1 - English written for pupils to write French
    Worksheet 2 - Sentences in English, with a 'filling in the gaps' exercise in the French
    Worksheet 3 - as 2 but a choice of 2 words given for each gap at the end of the sentence.
    Obviously if I use this for an assessment I have to take into account which sheet they have done.
    When you want them to copy vocab, some can't copy from board. I quickly write words on a piece of paper / whiteboard.
    Yes, this takes time, but all resources can be kept for future use. It's all down to being organised, and allowing each pupil to realise that they are achieving something.
    I also start my lesson outcomes with good / better / excellent to encourage them all
    Hope this helps
  3. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    I suggest a full and frank talk with your school SENCO. When I taught SEN groups French and German, the students were supported by one or more classroom assistants. MFL shouldn't be made an exception of. Find out whether any of your students have special educational provision in the form of classroom assistant hours and complain if MFL isn't getting its fair share of this time.
    As for teaching vulnerable students, the best way is to read their SEN documentation to find out what their needs are, what provision they are entitled to, what classroom strategies are most effective in including them and what their strengths (not just their weaknesses) are. Find out what triggers problems in individual cases. Consult your colleagues in other subjects and find out how they manage, what their "tricks of the trade" are, to deliver their subject. Read up about differentiation, there's plenty of advice out there for MFL differentiated delivery, practical stuff, not just ivory-towerish philosophising.
    At the heart of SEN teaching, and this includes teach MFL learners with MFL, is an ability to reduce everything to tiny steps, to deliver points in bite-size chunks and above all to explain simply. It's not about "entertaining" these students, it's about making things as clear as possible for them and making allowances for their poor retention of knowledge and skills due to memory deficits. The problems these students present shouldn't be a disincentive to teach them but rather a challenge to problem-solve.
    On my website at
    I have plenty of French and German resources I wrote for my students with SEN out of frustration because the mainstream textbooks I was expected to use with them were multistep publications with jazzy, badly laid out pages and a lack of vocabulary help.
    Hope this helps.
  4. Dodros, whilst I totally agree that MFL is no different to any other subject, in many schools the amount of support we get is down to money. There is no H&S risk (hopefully) in MFL so those pupils who need support have to have it in D&T, Science etc.
    I have an SEN set, mainly boys, with no support at all. Do they manage the work? Yes, because, as you said, it is all broken down into tiny steps. Also the lure of a DVD for the last 10 mins (played in Fr with Eng subtitles) really helps
  5. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    Not literacy rich?! What exactly do you do all day, then, apart from teach literacy in a language other than English? If you need to add weight to your argument, you'll find some useful information here http://www.sunderlandschools.org/mfl-sunderland/transition-literacy.htm

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