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What's it like teaching MFL in a primary school?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by musiclover1, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    I'm thinking of changing from secondary to primary because I would imagine that there might be some part-time jobs going in primary schools, whereas secondary schools often prefer full-timers. But I'm concerned about what teaching would be like in a primary school, especially for someone used to secondary. Wouldn't I see the pupils just once a week, so it would be difficult to establish a rapport with them? And because they're little, do they find it harder to concentrate? Isn't primary MFL all about games and songs and story telling, so no grammar and hardly any writing? So, those of you who've done it, what's it like? Would I be able to do it?

     
  2. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    I'm thinking of changing from secondary to primary because I would imagine that there might be some part-time jobs going in primary schools, whereas secondary schools often prefer full-timers. But I'm concerned about what teaching would be like in a primary school, especially for someone used to secondary. Wouldn't I see the pupils just once a week, so it would be difficult to establish a rapport with them? And because they're little, do they find it harder to concentrate? Isn't primary MFL all about games and songs and story telling, so no grammar and hardly any writing? So, those of you who've done it, what's it like? Would I be able to do it?

     
  3. kittylion

    kittylion Established commenter

    I work in secondary but for 3 years was allowed to go to a local primary to teach French to years 4-6. I loved it.

    They only had one lesson per week (about 40 minutes) and yes, I was told by the DH that they weren't to do writing or grammar so we did do songs, games, rhymes etc.

    For the first year they had the Catherine Cheater scheme of work so there were books to read (on powerpoint). The books were French versions of children's books I have seen here - the little princess etc. They particularly loved the one with lots of pigs playing hide and seek.

    I LOVED going and was gutted when this year I couldn't be released any more - although I understood why.

    It is surprising how well you do get to know the kids - I soon recognised the boy who had ASD and could pick out the GAT kids, the cheeky ones and the naughty ones. I didn't have any information about them so I wasn't expected to differentiate, although eventually I found that I did. Some of them I now have in years 7-8.

    If you get the chance you should definitely try it - I am sure you would love it. I don't think I could be a "proper" primary teacher, but going in to do a lesson of your specialism once a week seemed the best of both worlds to me.
     
  4. Like the previous poster I have done a fair bit of outreach work in the primary sector and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Pupils' interest and curiosity was wonderful and it was rewarding to feel you had contributed towards a more 'joined up' approach to language learning. The current situation of pupils arriving at secondary with so many different experiences and different levels is appalling! There is much fantastic work going on in primary and it is devastating to see funding being withdrawn now when so much has been achieved.
    From your questions though and your earlier postings in secondary it seems that you might have issues in establishing yourself in the classroom - primary has its own set of challenges, believe me! I would recommend you write to some local primary schools in your area and ask about their MFL provision and if you might be able to attend one or two lessons, to see if it is something that is right for you. I think you would need to have a real commitment to this age group rather than just wanting to work part time!
     
  5. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    Q: What's it like teaching MFL in a primary school?
    A: Fabulous!
     
  6. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    I'm now in my third year of primary MFL after 14 years as a secondary teacher, 7 of those years as an AST. It's very different and took some getting used to, but I don't think I could go back to secondary now. You can read about the sort of things I do on my blog changing-phase.blogspot.com Please feel free to ask me any questions about it.
     
  7. I moved from secondary to primary and then took it to another level and now run my own business in primary languages. I do love working in schools but I had to get away from all the stupidity (yes even in primary.....I mean just what is the difference between a level 1a and 1b?....and just try telling the management it's stupid and doesn't techically exist!!) I LOVE it and I now have staff and even franchisees, wonderful! You may struggle finding part time work just in MFL in a school but it's certainly worth a try! Good luck :)
     
  8. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    Thank you so much for your answers. I wouldn't do primary as an 'easy option', lumley, I just want to keep my options open and try different things because as a mum I need to get a job locally, I can't just commute to whichever job I choose to do and most schools seems to be scrapping German. Whatever I do end up doing, I want to do it well - sounds like I've already got some people who are willing to help me and give me good advice, and I'm really grateful for that.
    So, NC levels are just as important in primary school then? I rather suspected as much.
    I might do a OU French degree next year, or I might do something else completely - I'm starting to feel excited about possibly doing something different rather than just depressed.
     
  9. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    How ridiculous. My Y3s are currently writing extended sentences using opinions and connectives in Spanish. They are experts on gender and number. What was this DH afraid of?
     
  10. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    Not in MFL, not at the moment. Until we get some kind of decision from the Curriculum Review about exactly what's going to happen with KS2 languages there are no hard and fast rules.
     
  11. kittylion

    kittylion Established commenter

    I don't know - she told me that she wanted their French lesson to be "fun" so no written work. Interestingly I noticed some of them copying any words they saw on the screen on a piece of paper. After a couple of years I found out that they had French books in which they did some writing from some worksheets or other (not provided by me) so I assumed she wanted all the oral and listening work done by me. I wasn't bothered particularly I have to say.
     

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