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Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by a_rooti, Jul 4, 2011.
(This is just for year 8 btw - yr 7s will be Eng/math banded, and yrs 9-11 are mixed GCSE classes)
Personally I'd go for top, middle and bottom sets.
What are the other two subjects? I wasn't sure from your post if they were English and Maths.
I would also go for setting in MFL. We tend to have our year 7s in initially in form groups and then set them after a term. ...a term seems just enough after which progress seems to stall. A group I have in year 8 is making amazing progress as a result of being set since year 7.
In my school we were taught MFLs in our tutor group until Year Nine, and then just mixed ability based on timetabling during GCSEs. I feel that the pace and content of the lessons had to be constantly lowered. It was frustrating and I didn't learn much.
Where possible I would advise a teacher to have ability sets. Otherwise even enthusiastic pupils will become bored and disheartened, and even less will carry on to GCSE/A-Level.
My preference would also be for setting - as long as there are opportunities for mobility.
You seem to acknowledge that setting is best, but seem uneasy about upsetting the other subjects you are banded with. I ask you what are the benefits of mixed ability in terms of students' learning? I know none. Mixed ability slows the pace for the best students and cripples the confidence of the weaker ones, which leads often to poor behaviour and even less challenge for the brighter students, who gradually switch off. Differentiation will only get you so far. If you are afraid of being selfish towards colleagues, I would argue setting is better in all subjects for the same reasons. I gained nothing from being reminded in art lessons just how talented some of my peers were, when I was at school. I dare say I would have enjoyed art much more if I'd been allowed to be in a bottom set.