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The Michaela way in MFL

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by fflur01, Jul 12, 2017.

  1. fflur01

    fflur01 New commenter

    I've been researching bits about Barry Smith and Jess Lund's approach to teaching MFL for a while now. I'm super keen on thinking about developing a new schemes of work for KS3 and 4 which include these knowledge organisers but that can also bring in our own Studio course books.
    Has anyone tried to create their own knowledge organisers in the style of Michaela (parallel texts, verbs in bold etc)?
  2. sam enerve

    sam enerve New commenter

    Nope. I like my way. Different doesn't mean wrong. Or does it? Hmmmmmm......
  3. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

    Good to see we are clear on that.
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    I have been converting my vocabulary 'help sheets' to knowledge organisers and adding on chunks and sentences to learn. However as I do not work in a school where pupils are being asked to learn huge amounts by all subjects it is hard to get the children to put in enough effort to learning. I have probably underestimated the importance of having a whole school culture for learning by heart.
    pascuam49 likes this.
  5. sam enerve

    sam enerve New commenter

    Or are we? Hmmmm.....
    agathamorse and somatics like this.
  6. sam enerve

    sam enerve New commenter

    What are the exam results like at that school? Oh yeah, there aren't any...
  7. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

    Should a school only be judged by exam results?
  8. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    somatics likes this.
  9. sam enerve

    sam enerve New commenter

  10. Kamit

    Kamit New commenter

    Don't like naming names and teachers are teachers not politicians or celebrities but I'm fairly sure one of the named teachers in this thread has left/ is leaving Michaela. Was in a press release from one of my local schools.

    Another teacher from that school repeatedly appeared in my twitter timeline very confidently saying they had perfected teaching and how delightful it was to work at the school. Every day was an utter joy and all schools should be like that.

    Had gone quiet recently and I looked the teacher up and they were working for a thinktank. According to their online profile they'd taught for a grand total of 3 years, including 2 in a school with only a Yr7 and Yr 8.

    Not saying they don't have some good ideas or things that others can learn from but some humility would not go amiss.
    yasf, agathamorse, pascuam49 and 4 others like this.
  11. gianfrancoconti1966

    gianfrancoconti1966 Occasional commenter

    Yes, Barry Smith has left and he is the main man behind the whole 'Michaela way'. I do like Jessica Lund as she is very passionate about what she does and has learnt a lot from Barry but it is undeniable that she has never taught beyond KS3 and she will have a lot on her plate after Barry's departure.

    I do believe that there is no harm in taking a few ideas from Barry Smith, but I would be a bit more careful before changing my whole approach based on a few blogs or even a book.

    We often look for a panacea a quick solution to our problems but when it comes to teaching there is none. Barry Smith is a charismatic person with excellent classroom management and a powerful personality. His method befits him. Would it fit your personality, teaching style and preferences?

    Finally, not all that glitters is gold. Whilst there are a lot of things Barry does that really appeal to me he has not at all convincingly talked or written of how to develop oral spontaneity; in fact, he never deals with it. Yet, too me, that's the first and most important goal in MFL teaching.

    Good luck!
  12. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

    Has anybody here on TES forums actually visited the school like spsmith45 who gives a balanced view after his visit?
  13. gianfrancoconti1966

    gianfrancoconti1966 Occasional commenter

    I have spoken to Steve extensively and had conversations with Jessica. But have no visited the school. No.
    minka1 likes this.
  14. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

    This video from Festival of Education 2017 may help to give a balanced view.

  15. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    Well I watched this Minka1 but it was all about behaviour and nothing about MFL. I have learnt that according to the Maria woman I have a dominant and violent behaviour management style because I set detentions and think that as I am the adult, I am in charge in a classroom.

    I remember watching one of Michaela's little videos showing year 7s and 8s speaking some truly remarkable French. I then learnt they taught difficult French from the word go. I really couldn't understand how they were doing it. Then I saw one of their knowledge organisers and realised all the remarkable French was in fact French learnt off by heart to a word. I still admire that the children have learnt their sentences so well, but as Gianfranco Conti says there is no attempt to encourage spontaneity at all. As for their pronunciation I would expect good pronunciation from such a cohort (children who are probably already bilingual). However I simply love the dot under the letter that isn't pronounced which has revolutionised the pronunciation of the pupils in the school where I now teach. I have tried many different symbols but the dot under the letter seems to work like fairy dust.
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  16. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

    [QUOTE="Random175, post: 12164793, member:
    As for their pronunciation I would expect good pronunciation from such a cohort (children who are probably already bilingual). [/QUOTE]
    Is there an accepted positive link between pronunciation and bilinguals?
  17. jessicalund

    jessicalund New commenter

    Hi guys! How strange to happen upon this thread in the ether. It's true, I have learnt a lot from Barry, but I try to learn from lots of people and have adopted some of Gianfranco's methods too. Oral "spontaneity" is developing nicely at Y9 and upwards, based on a nice broad range of language mastered in Ks3. It's true that I have a lot on my plate, but I am surrounded by good people, both online and in school! I don't pretend to offer a panacea - I don't know if any of us ever have - but our approach is working well for us and I hope others are open to learning from us as we are from others!
    pascuam49, clark1974, minka1 and 2 others like this.
  18. MissDelver

    MissDelver New commenter

    99% 4-9 for MFL....
    minka1 likes this.
  19. Eflmeister

    Eflmeister Occasional commenter

    Yes I saw this. Very impressive!
  20. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Not quite as impressive as all that considering the circumstances.

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