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Something a litte different - your help, needed (MFL)!!!

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by ANone23, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. I'm currently undertaking an exciting project as part of EPQ on the topic of MFL, and I really want to get teachers opinions. Obviously with the Government's plans to re-introduce compulsory Modern Languages at KS4, this is a really hot topic!
    As teachers on the front line, it is really useful and interesting to gauge some thoughts and feelings from you to help inform & enrich my research. It would much appreciated for you filled out the below questionnaire, or just posted some general musings on the topic.
    1) What is your opinion of the Coalition’s plans to reintroduce compulsory Modern Languages at KS4?

    2) Do you think the current optional system is better, compared to when Languages were compulsory previously?

    3) How effective do you find the current curriculum? – are there areas that need more emphasis? how would you improve it?

    4) How often do you use a foreign language in lessons?

    5) What is the biggest excuse for resistance from pupils, to speak or participate in activities based in a second language? How do you counter it?

    6) In your experience, what is the most difficult skill or aspect of Modern Languages to teach? Why?

    7) Which techniques do you find are most effective in the retention of new skills and concepts?

    8) What would say is the biggest barrier to pupils achievement at KS3, and, to that end, how does it affect the uptake at GCSE and A-Level?

    9) How responsive do you find the MFL courses at KS4/5? For example, how does vocab reflect what is used in the TL country? Or how effective are the topics covered (& what would be more useful?)?

    10) How would you describe the decline in Modern Language uptake after KS3? And, aside from current proposals, how would seek to reverse the trends?

    11) How big a role does your school play in promoting languages at KS4?

    12) What more can the Government/bodies outside education do to encourage pupils to study languages further?

    Many thanks!
     
  2. I'm currently undertaking an exciting project as part of EPQ on the topic of MFL, and I really want to get teachers opinions. Obviously with the Government's plans to re-introduce compulsory Modern Languages at KS4, this is a really hot topic!
    As teachers on the front line, it is really useful and interesting to gauge some thoughts and feelings from you to help inform & enrich my research. It would much appreciated for you filled out the below questionnaire, or just posted some general musings on the topic.
    1) What is your opinion of the Coalition’s plans to reintroduce compulsory Modern Languages at KS4?

    2) Do you think the current optional system is better, compared to when Languages were compulsory previously?

    3) How effective do you find the current curriculum? – are there areas that need more emphasis? how would you improve it?

    4) How often do you use a foreign language in lessons?

    5) What is the biggest excuse for resistance from pupils, to speak or participate in activities based in a second language? How do you counter it?

    6) In your experience, what is the most difficult skill or aspect of Modern Languages to teach? Why?

    7) Which techniques do you find are most effective in the retention of new skills and concepts?

    8) What would say is the biggest barrier to pupils achievement at KS3, and, to that end, how does it affect the uptake at GCSE and A-Level?

    9) How responsive do you find the MFL courses at KS4/5? For example, how does vocab reflect what is used in the TL country? Or how effective are the topics covered (& what would be more useful?)?

    10) How would you describe the decline in Modern Language uptake after KS3? And, aside from current proposals, how would seek to reverse the trends?

    11) How big a role does your school play in promoting languages at KS4?

    12) What more can the Government/bodies outside education do to encourage pupils to study languages further?

    Many thanks!
     
  3. Hi there
    If you think that the government is re-introducing MFL as part of the compulsory curriculum at 14 then I think this is an overstatement. As in fact this is not the case. Schools will have a different hoop to jump through in terms of a new league table and this may or may not lead Senior management to make MFL a part of what they offer. But I would wait to see which way they go. Among students this will be deeply unpopular as language learning is seen by many, especially lower achieving students as irrelevant and there will be blood!
    I am sorry about not answering the rest of the questions but I have to say, after 25 years in a range of classrooms being as inventive and enthusiastic as i possibly can be, the state of languages is in crisis. The new "exams" with cheaters charters coursework has ruined language teaching and made teachers petrified of being unfavorable compared with other subjects teach exam techniques to the detriment of fostering int erst and real language skills in their students. Instead of equipping students with independence in their learning they insist that learning to pass the exam is the most important thing. I left my last school half way through the year 11 classes work having inherited them at the beginning if term. They did not know how to start a conversation about any topic at all after 5 years of getting good "NC levels" any notion of equipping them for further studies went out of the window. When I left, they were taken by a member of the SLT who was well versed in getting kids to the C grade. I bumped into one of the girls at MacDonald's the other week and asked her whether she had gone on to take French (which she got a A in) at college. Sadly she said that she had chosen A level but had to give it up as she had no idea about the work that they were expected to to at college and she was distraught at her lack of grammatical knowledge. Schools have thrown the requirement to equip students with the knowledge to enable further studies out of the window and all in the name of getting everyone to the holy C grade.
     
  4. Geekie

    Geekie New commenter

    What is EPQ, please ?
    There are no plans to make it compulsory. They are merely going to make GCSE in a language part of the EBacc. Whether schools choose to make MFL a compulsion off the back of this is up to them.
     
  5. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    Your questions are based on a false assumption. There is no plan to make languages compulsory at KS4. Your list of questions would take an age to reply to, so I doubt if you will get many answers. Wihtout wishing to put you off, if you are doing some serious research on this you may need to consider how to design an effective questionnaire which teachers can fill in quite quickly. Hope that helps.
     
  6. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    EPQ is extended project qualification taken with A Levels.
     
  7. Thanks for your feedback so far, but I feel the point of the OP has been missed!

    It was my ambition to generate some kind of discussion about the topics, based on the questions above. If you don't feel you can complete the questionnaire, please just post any general comments you have, or answer the questions you have most to say- all opinions and point of views welcome/appreciated/needed!

    Apologies, it was my understanding that MFL was compulsory in order to achieve the English Baccalaureate - and speaking to some of my teachers today, one has been asked to teach a group of 30 year 11s the entire German GCSE syllabus in 5 months in order to achieve the E.Bacc. Many media outlets portrayed the language element as compulsory - so you can see my confusion. Nevertheless, as you have all pointed out, it isn't - so thanks for clearing that up.

    This is only one part of my research, but it is an important part - and to stress I really do want your opinions on this topic.
    So please, please, please keep commenting!!!!!!!!!

    Many Thanks
    -- Original Poster
     
  8. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    It is a cumpulsory requirement in order to be awarded the EBacc. But it isn't compulsory for all students, because the EBacc isn't compulsory. Schools will have their own ways of dealing with the EBacc.
     
  9. ^^^ @mlapworth - sorry, that's what i meant! :)
     
  10. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

    Answer to question 4:
    Every time I teach [​IMG]
     
  11. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

    Answer to Q2:
    Much better this time around, though I don't suppose 'able' students (i.e. those who should get 5 A*-C) will all appreciate that most SLT will be 'requiring' them to continue with languages. I expect some pupils will be pressed into early entry in KS3 so that they can still push up schools' percentages for 5 A*-C passes without them needing to study languages for 5 years.
     
  12. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    Actually, OP, I think you want us to answer your essay question for you!

     
  13. I suppose on the face of it that the Government has done us a favour - it certainly can't be a worse proposition that the previous administration's feeble attempt to get 50% of students to take a language by telling schools to do it and then not enforcing the line when none of them did! (and that was after making it optional in the first place - thanks Estelle).

    In some respects I wonder if schools won't get round it by continuing to print their A*-C grades with Maths and English (and possibly Science) and just take the hit of a low EBacc score?
     

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