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What would you like to see researched?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by lingo_lass, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. Dear all

    I require your help! I am now at the point in my masters course when I need to seriously contemplate what I am going to research for my dissertation. So far on my MA travels I have looked at Mentoring & Coaching, Assessment and Leadership in Education and I have a few ideas about areas I could consider during the final part of this very, very long journey, however, I would be very interested to hear what current teachers would like researching.
    In what areas of practice in school (MFL or not) would you like to see some research ?
    All (serious) ideas gratefully received.

  2. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    If I had the time I'd look into CLIL (cross-curricular) and using authentic resources, and whether it accelerates a pupil's learning (I believe there is some research that tends to say yes but I'd like to see for myself).
    Also impact of target language on learner's confidence.
    (And if you're called Minka, Linkword, as nothing else is worthy of interest or discussion.)
  3. How MFL knowledge from KS2 is used at KS3 and how that learning could best be exploited.
    The value of learning about language at KS2 v actually learning one language that can be carried on in KS3.
  4. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    I wonder why TPRS is not used in the UK, whereas in the US it is fairly widely used. Supporters of TPRS claim that there is research showing that TPRS achieves better results than 'traditional' teaching (although I haven't read into it enough to know what they mean by traditional...). So I think it would be good to see some research into alternative methods and approaches such as TPRS, or - totally unrelated - the Michel Thomas for Schools approach.
  5. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    How about comparing year 7 students' attitudes to learning a foreign language - a comparative study between those who've done MFL before and those who haven't (if these exist). I remember that, in the days before there was any teaching of langs in primary, many pupils saw MFL as new and exciting, and even the last able - and those who had behaviour issues in other classes - were enthusiastic. I wonder if the shine has been taken off by primary MFL. And among those who've done MFL in primary, how much is the "we've already done this, miss" factor an issue?
  6. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    How about a study into the effect on language learning of the increased emphasis on student outcomes, particularly in this web 2.0 age, with so much focus on what students produce - blogs, vokis, glogsters, storybirds etc etc.. And is this emphasis having a squeezing effect on the practice stage of the traditional PPP - presentation / practice / production - model?
  7. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    A lot of work has already been done on Y6-Y7 transition (www.cilt.org.uk has a lot of case studies and resources, for example). I would be interested in finding out if starting a language earlier prevents the Y8/Y9 fatigue and loss of interest, and if Y11s get better results and have a better understanding if they've started MFL earlier. As I understand it, we don't know much yet about the longterm benefits (or otherwise) of early language learning.
  8. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    mlapworth, could you explain TPRS please? I did a quick google search so I know what it stands for, but could you (or anyone) give examples? It sounds intriguing...
  9. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    I don't know much about it myself, but I agree that it sounds intriguing.
    It's all about story-telling - and very often the stories involve the students - usually in a jokey way. The teacher tells the story, building it up bit by bit, with lots of repetition, and with lots of questions being asked (yes/no, x or y, wh).
    The emphasis is on exposing the students to lots of TL input.Their understanding is much more important than their ability to produce language (at least in the ealry stages).
    It doesn't require 100% TL, from what I understand. As and when new language needs to be introduced, this might be written up on the board in TL and English so that students have a reference.
    A lot of the MFL teachers on the US-based FLTeach listserv teach using TPRS, as do quite a lot of those on the #langchat hashtag on twitter.
    The impression I get is that US teachers are quite polarised with regard to TPRS - they either love it and would NEVER go back to more traditional approaches, or they think it's rubbish and don't see how it could possibly work. (UK teachers seem far less dogmatic and happier to go for a more eclectic approach...)
  10. runaway

    runaway New commenter

    The above sounds interesting and had never heard of it so will investigate thank you for sharing....meanwhile any chance anyone can do some research into how and why the MFL GCSE is so different to the rest of the curriculum? Then we'd have some ammo at least to bung back at AQA Edexel WJEC and Ofqual!
  11. Wow, lots of ideas out there. I wish I could go that far with my research, but seeing as it is *just* for my MA, I don't think I will be able to go as deep as your suggestions would need me to!Some other ideas that have cropped up that I could indeed focus on include the benefits of cooperative learning structures (Kagan) and target language (st martins style) techniques.

  12. You can now find out all about TPRS as the inventor of the method, Blaine Ray, is giving workshops in Novermber (5-8) 2012 on TPRS in London, Oxford and Cambridge. See the following site for information: http://www.smore.com/rk54
    You can ask for a flyer with information from cadmus.education@hotmail.co.uk
    There is a lot of emphasis on comprehensible input and I would emphasise the point about the lessons being 'jokey' and thoroughly engaging all students. The pace and repetition do much to keep focus and allow students to grasp vocabulary.
    Some good sites with general information are:
    <font face="Tahoma" color="#0066cc">http://susangrosstprs.com/wordpress/</font>


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