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Some new ideas

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by luna83, May 11, 2011.

  1. I'm lacking in confidence a bit at the minute in my teaching. Any ideas out there to spice up my lessons? I'm finding it really hard to motivate my GCSE class. Nothing is ever exciting enough for them. I do games with them and everything is quite interactive and on powerpoint but they are still hard to enthuse....HELP!
  2. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy New commenter

    Why does it have to be "exciting?" Learning - the same as working - is not always exciting - that's just a trap that the trendies have fallen into. But it should be interesting and show measurable achievement.
    I suggest you stop pandering to the "academically correct! - [​IMG] - and sort out a decent chunk of hard learning for the students to get their teeth into - something basic to the language that they will be able to use in many different situations. Give them time to revise it and show them techniques for learning/memorising, then test them on what they have done in a way that makes sure they have understood it. Provide a worthwhile reward for all who meet the - high - pass standard and, if there are those much less able, build in a reward for effort too.
    Too tough? Not at all. I'm speaking from experience of several different groups from Y9 through to Y13 over the past 3 years or so. We ditched the dumbed-down simplistic **** and started on basic grammar - the building blocks of the language. They all seemed shell-shocked the first lesson, then realised just how much they'd actually learned and went for it like bulldogs! I varied it a bit, and gave them odd hours at less intensive things, but when I was away for 2 weeks on a secondment/swap thing and the Y11 group reverted to the topic-based stuff, they complained bitterly when I got back and told me that I mustn't go and leave them again - which was rather touching.
    I don't believe that expecting hard work on "dry" grammar is the big no-no that some people seem to think. If the kids start to see how the patterns of language work and start to be able to use it in a multitude of situations, they can see where they are going and measure real progress. It seems to help boys in particular - they see and relate to the patterns.
    Teachers far more experienced than me have written elsewhere about the naff topic-based bits that we are often supposed to feed them, so all I'll say that the sooner we get rid of this, in my view the better.
    And as for the trendy TL immersion stuff, the best comment on that that I've heard came from a Y6 last year (I did primary outreach). "A woman came and spoke in French to us for half an hour. We didn't understand anything, so it was all a waste of time wasn't it?"
    I'm not sure what the others will feel about this, but I'd be happy to post up some ideas if you wanted. And if you give it a go, I'd be most interested to know how it went!
  3. You have made me feel so much better with what you have just written. My approach to teaching is very traditional and I have really high standards. I am only 25 but what you have said above is more or less my thoughts on the issue. I have high standards of both behaviour and work but I was feeling like I was letting them down by not "innovating" enough. I cover lots of grammar with my classes whether I have the top or bottom sets and I agree with you that it gives them an excellent base.
    What you have said about the topics is absolutely correct. The problem is that our exams reflect this content and I feel I have to cover these like the other members of my department.
    Thank you for both your replies here and I will certainly have a look at the blog, also!

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