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Strong mixed-abilities in French class

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by mamelimb, Nov 23, 2017.

  1. mamelimb

    mamelimb New commenter


    I just started in a new school in London that just oppened this year, they have some timetable and level issues which means I have really different abilities in my classes. In the same class, some students are completely fluent, some can manage some French and others have never done French before...
    As I don't know them and the school is unable to provide any guideline or information about the pupils, I have to organise my classes on my own, I'm also free to teach whatever I like up to the next Holidays where there should be (hopefully!) a change of timetable.
    Do you have any advice on what I should teach them?
    I have no idea what to start with and how to make sure everyone is actually learning something without spending hours and hours organising my lessons.

    Many thanks!

  2. vuvuzela

    vuvuzela Occasional commenter

  3. mamelimb

    mamelimb New commenter

    That's not an option... Any advice?
  4. vuvuzela

    vuvuzela Occasional commenter

    Yes, but none that will fit in with everything you want. You've been given a ridiculous situation to manage. I despair sometimes at the attitude towards MFL in this country. On another thread an NQT has been thrown in the deep end and given a department to manage, without any schemes of work. Anyway, on to your thing. My immediate strategy would be to use (for want of a better word) the fluent speakers to act as teachers to bring on the ones with some French, and the ones with some French to bring on the beginners. Are you familiar with the work of Vygotsky? You'd have to act as a monitor and make sure things are running smoothly, especially for the beginners so they don't pick up bad habits. At the same time, you'd have to train the better ones to teach, the same way you would with an assistant. Of course, this relies on the compliance of the whole group, but you would probably have to make the classroom task-based and communicative, incorporating cooperative learning (look at David T. Johnson and Roger W. Johnson and also Spencer Kagan). The problem is, not everyone will show progress because, as you say, some of them are already fluent. But that's a moot point anyway, because you've already said you don't want to spend any significant time preparing. Alternatively, teach a new modern language so they are all starting together, or teach them Latin.

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