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Yay! Increase@KS4. Boo! Differentiation nightmare.

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by rigadon24, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. Hey everyone,

    I wanted to share the good news that our department's KS4 French numbers went from 10 to over 40 this year.... yay! We now have two Year 10 French classes. And I was given one of them.

    Overall, they're a lovely group - almost all boys - but the range of ability is shocking...!!! I've not taught anything like it before.

    Currently, I am always including 'extension tasks' which are more challenging and only reveal them when my two brightest boys have finished. The more able are very eager to work - but - even including my extensions - the weakest pupils will have done one or two parts of the first task (if I'm lucky!) before my brightest have already finished. I also use a system of normal text, italic, bold italic to show pupils what I expect ALL, MOST, SOME to do in each task (with exercises getting more difficult)

    I also spend all of my time flitting from one of three specific pupils who just cannot do anything unless I personally guide them. I have told these kids that they need to attempt the work on their own and encouraged them etc... there is an improvement but every lesson is exhausting!

    To make matters worse, my HoD has the other group - and she seems to have flown through the tenses with them and says she is almost ready to attempt a controlled assessment! This made me panic - as I've done present and perfect tenses with mine - only in a LOT more detail than we would have done at KS3... I'm worried I've gone too slowly...

    I'm so used to teaching small groups now - this is my 7th year of teaching! :/

    Anyway... I'm just venting now...

    Wondered if anyone has other ideas about differentiation? How can I push my A*'s while I whilst supported those who are FFT E grades?
     
  2. Hey everyone,

    I wanted to share the good news that our department's KS4 French numbers went from 10 to over 40 this year.... yay! We now have two Year 10 French classes. And I was given one of them.

    Overall, they're a lovely group - almost all boys - but the range of ability is shocking...!!! I've not taught anything like it before.

    Currently, I am always including 'extension tasks' which are more challenging and only reveal them when my two brightest boys have finished. The more able are very eager to work - but - even including my extensions - the weakest pupils will have done one or two parts of the first task (if I'm lucky!) before my brightest have already finished. I also use a system of normal text, italic, bold italic to show pupils what I expect ALL, MOST, SOME to do in each task (with exercises getting more difficult)

    I also spend all of my time flitting from one of three specific pupils who just cannot do anything unless I personally guide them. I have told these kids that they need to attempt the work on their own and encouraged them etc... there is an improvement but every lesson is exhausting!

    To make matters worse, my HoD has the other group - and she seems to have flown through the tenses with them and says she is almost ready to attempt a controlled assessment! This made me panic - as I've done present and perfect tenses with mine - only in a LOT more detail than we would have done at KS3... I'm worried I've gone too slowly...

    I'm so used to teaching small groups now - this is my 7th year of teaching! :/

    Anyway... I'm just venting now...

    Wondered if anyone has other ideas about differentiation? How can I push my A*'s while I whilst supported those who are FFT E grades?
     
  3. I had a large very very mixed ability group last year. I was observed by an AST who was impressed with "how I cater for all these different abilities.. what's your secret".. When I was actually expecting her to help me on this and differentiation.. So no clue what I was doing, but it apparently worked?! I got them right from the start to be very independent and "help yourself" with resources available, took ages to get them to realise that they really do not need to understand every single word to complete every single task. I do that with any class, right from KS3 until the end of KS5.. Do you really need me, or could someone else help you.. could you actually not find the answer yourself...

    With that specific group I was lucky to have a TA as well, and she was a massive help! They were seated by ability, and personality. Some weaker/higher achiever to help each other, some weaker/weaker to encourage each others and , some were in a mini group, which I found was easier to praise for small achievement rather than praising an achievement which compared to the neighbour, is only a tiny small thing (if that makes sense). Among themselves, they were more engaged on the tasks and happy to take risks and make a mistake because they knew the people next to them is struggling just as much as them, and they were then celebrating their achievements ; the TA was working closely with them and the fact that she was also preparing for the exam was a massive booster for them. And I had some A*/A* tables, to challenge each others, give some discreet extra tasks when possible, or getting them to go around and help others.

    I took the habit when looking at new vocab/structures to categorise as i this is what I need if I work towards a C etc ; for a B these are the words I'll prefer... I've was observed this week by a non subject specialist and it was apparently the first time he saw someone categorising things like this (Super killer top set so it was more.. okay we know all these words already. Which ones do we keep because they're not super cool, but might still be handy, which ones do we just bin because they're too easy grade D/C, which ones do we need to make sure we reuse because we're all aiming for A*/As)

    Praise praise praise and a reward not necessarily for academic achievement, but for personal achievements and they were deciding who was getting the reward each lesson (improved attitude, excellent efforts, participation, very good questioning, student who spent 2 weeks crying wanting to drop French and after discussion, comes back with a big smile and the attitude that says, ok, I'm not giving up on this..)... So that the lower ability have a chance at getting the reward.

    In any case, even if I was told I was doing a great job at catering for all abilities (?) it didn't meant I got the results I wanted for each of them :/

    In any case, no matter how experienced you are, you cannot always compare with another colleague! Classes are always ever so different. I'm still quite new in the job and my colleague is way more experienced than me. Yet I have covered with my year 10 some harder grammar and it's quite secure, they're using the imperfect with confidence, their level of accuracy is second to none (better than the Year 12s...) and my colleague is struggling to get his class to just write a couple of sentences which make sense. It has nothing to do with the fact that I'm so much better than him (far from it). It's just that he has a very mixed ability group which are usually mine, and I was given the super killer top set this year.. So that neither of us are very confident at the moment, him, because he doesn't know how to cater for all of them, me because I'm not sure I'll manage to get them all to get their A*/A!

    I admit I never do differentiated Learning objectives, because (blame the French I guess), I always expect everyone to work towards the objective and just do it whatever the ability (they also know that if they didn't get it it's my fault, not theirs). I never liked all/most/some without being able to explain it. Funnily enough, we just had our Inset on Differentiation, and the guy said, not to use All,most, some, but must/should/could, as the all/most/some, gives a negative image, has in "most of you are too stupid to do this anyway", and I must/should/could is more open. And this is actually precisely why I don't like all/most/some! Some teachers in my school present their LO in a different way and call it Need to Know, which sounds more pupil friendly/useful for them.
     
  4. Huge thank you for your reply!

    It has reassured me a lot - and makes me think that what I am already doing is on the right path.

    I was thinking I need to increase the praise within the group - and I'm going to liase with the TA I have as to some ideas.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you :)
     
  5. toadman

    toadman Occasional commenter

    I use raffle tickets as a reward and we have a prize each fortnight- the more tickets you have earned, the greater the chance of success. It works well for all my classes, especially boys.
     

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