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Ofsted and target language?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by joanneroberts79, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. Dear Joe,
    We have just had Ofsted and myself and my colleaugue were graded satisfactory despite all students making good progress. When we received out feedback, we were told that this was because students weren't speaking or hearing the target language. We pointed out that the lesson's focus (as stated in the learning objective and outcomes) was writing but this was disregarded. Please could you advise us further. Is this something that Ofsted are looking for now? Many thanks.
     
  2. Dear Joe,
    We have just had Ofsted and myself and my colleaugue were graded satisfactory despite all students making good progress. When we received out feedback, we were told that this was because students weren't speaking or hearing the target language. We pointed out that the lesson's focus (as stated in the learning objective and outcomes) was writing but this was disregarded. Please could you advise us further. Is this something that Ofsted are looking for now? Many thanks.
     
  3. Have a look at the subject guidance for MFL (called ML) at the following link. Specifically the Quality of Teaching descriptor. I believe that this is used for subject survey visits.
    It's laid out side by side with the generic descriptors for the whole school.
    I'm interested in the following line which is from the inadequate descriptor for quality of teaching.
    ". The curriculum focuses too strongly on studying the language structures rather than developing communicative competence"
    will give you inadequate. So if you have a bunch of very able linguists and want to really give them a good grounding in grammar, do you still have to go through all the phrasebook French stuff? I would like to think that I do focus on grammar and structure but am developing linguist who are independent and can manipulate language effectively

    http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/generic-grade-descriptors-and-supplementary-subject-specific-guidance-for-inspectors-making-judgemen


     
  4. salsera

    salsera New commenter

    Interesting - I iddn't use any "communicative language" as we were looking at formation of the future tense and using extended sentences and I got good (with outstanding elements) .....................I'll let you make up your minds about what that says about the system?
     
  5. runaway

    runaway New commenter

    Since the new framework the judgement of lessons seems to have become completely subjective and entirely dependent on the inspector's personal opinion regardless of the supplementary subject specific guidance. Aim to do the best you can by your pupils and for yourself.
     
  6. So...we should be assessing in the target language even though the current GCSEs do not assess in the target language (at least for Reading and Listening).
    OK - that makes sense!
     
  7. Well, at least they don't force you to teach grammar in the target language...
     
  8. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    Yes, I spotted that one! Ha ha.

     
  9. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    Would be interesting to hear from whoever wrote that full on nonsense how communicative competence (which seemed to be all the rage 20 odd years ago) is possible without studying language structures.
    I assume it was the same kind of person who wrote the drivel in the link.
     
  10. If it's not that, it will be something else so don't beat yourself up about it. Got a 2 this year on excellent progression from all and target language throughout the lesson. The reason? Some pupils did not voluntarily speak and were only seen speaking as part of the prescribed activities.

    I should have kept them behind to demonstrate this too the inspector after the lesson.

    I just don't get it!
     
  11. Malaguena

    Malaguena New commenter

    OFSTED is getting further and further up its own pompous bum!!! Why do we, as professionals, just sit down and take it?? TL has been downgraded in the GCSE, as has been pointed out (yes, that corrigez and lisez stuff is just too damn hard!) and the skills of writing and speaking have been reduced to mere memory tests yet OFSTED is banging on with unrealistic and ridiculous criteria for good and outstanding lessons.

    If an OFSTED inspector grades me as satisfactory I will say thank you politely and leave it at that. Because it doesn't matter what they think in the grand scheme of things! The kids and your sanity are what matter!
     
  12. rusmus

    rusmus New commenter

    As an NQT I have been told to do everything in TL(yes 100%) and NO gestures as this makes it too easy for the students.
    Yes you read it correctly, NO gestures. I was even downgraded to satisfactory on an NQT observation because I made gestures. To be honest that's OK as satisfactory is still fine by me but I had no idea they were banned (in my school I should point out).
    What does everyone think about that? I have only this school as experience so I don't know what it's like anywhere else.
     
  13. Malaguena

    Malaguena New commenter

    Yes, by all means bang on on the TL all the time with no gestures. Watch the kids become steadily more bewildered and disillusioned that they "can't do it" until eventually they will switch off altogether. Behaviour management is meaningless to them if not done in English- would you give a damn if you were being told off in a language you didn't understand? Then trying explaining to your HoD why the kids aren't making any progress. Trying to teach grammar in English is hard enough (verb? noun? participle? ehh??) without adding TL to the mix.
     
  14. rusmus

    rusmus New commenter

    My thoughts entirely. It's exhausting. I'm exhausted, they are fed up. Happy happy joy joy.....

     
  15. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    What planet do they live on? Do what works. Speak in the target language with plenty of gesture when your mentors are not looking, and then when they come in to watch you can reduce the gesture and hope the pupils have picked it up by then. Get a bright pupil to translate when not everyone has cottoned on to the instructions.
    I'm 7 months into a new job and I'm currently trying to increase my use of TL (not for the benefit of Ofsted, but for my own sake and that of my pupils). I give all the instructions in TL and then get one pupil to repeat them back in English. I'm really pleased with the success of this - but then they've known me for a few months now and know my little ways and my pronunciation. I'm sure back in September they wouldn't have coped so well.
    I've started trying to do grammar a bit more in TL and of course it's hard but sometimes we give up too easily. The grammar terms are all cognates: 'Das Verb ans Ende', ' Ist das Nominativ oder Akkusativ?' is easy to understand, and a missed opportunity if said in English.
    Getting back to Ofsted, I'm COMPLETELY FED UP WITH ALL THIS OFSTED HYSTERIA.
     
  16. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    I would say the advice you have received is unwise, but I do not know your school or its culture. Are you also told to not use pictures? i would have said gestures and pictures fulfill the same function.
     
  17. This advice (or was it rather an order?) is unwise in any case, no matter which school or school culture.....
    I would advise you to do the following: when you're alone with the kids, speak TL but do use gestures. When you're being observed, don't use gestures. And then teach the same lesson again afterwards because they won't have understood anything.
    The state of Bavaria demands grammar in the TL. Which is nonsense for stuff like the present progressive (aspect is completely unknown to Germans, how will they get that if it's explained in English?) or the subjuntivo (which is also unknown....).
     
  18. What do you mean? Isn't the ability to communicate competently in another language precisely what FL teachers are trying to help their pupils/students to achieve? And, not 20 years: the term goes back to 1966 and Dell Hymes, who was unhappy with Chomsky's distinction between competence and performance. Try: Savignon, S.J. (1997). Communicative Competence: Theory and Classroom Practice. New York: McGraw-Hill.
     
  19. What is this paranoia in British MFL teachers about teaching in the TL? I spent years teaching EFL overseas, and no-one expected me to teach it to them in their own language. (I was unusual - to my surprise, since my EFL colleagues everywhere were MFL graduates - in having learnt enough of, eg Arabic, to have some idea of my students' areas of difficulty.) And, since they studied and were tested in their own grammar, they expected to be explicitly taught that of English.
     

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