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Yr11 way off target grades - HELP!

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by nugget, Oct 1, 2011.

  1. nugget

    nugget New commenter

    I'm in my second year of teaching and I've just inherited a year 11 German group from someone who left. Most of them are predicted Cs with a few expected to get Bs and a couple Ds. However, at the moment they are nowhere close. Their controlled assessment and past paper marks are Es, Fs, Gs with only a couple getting their predicted Cs.
    I'm currently teaching them a topic which we will do another assessment on and hopefully there will be time for a second one after that. I'm conscious that time is running out though and im under pressure from above to turn this situation around. I was wondering if anyone has any ideas of intervention/teaching strategies that I could try?
    Most of the problem is caused by a lack of motivation (although they picked the subject!) and therefore getting them to do homework/ learn vocab is proving impossible (apparently science and english are more important). They just don't retain words/information so in writing and speaking, despite having been well prepared for a topic, they say and write completely random stuff which means the grammar is hopeless and the content not right. So far, i'm doing all the normal stuff in lessons, I'm using our FLA to work with them in ability groups, i've written a revision guide and im teaching at lunch times (but the ones i really need to see don't turn up!) but it just isn't working because of the motivation level. I'm trying to repeat key grammar points, vocab and structures as often as possible in lessons but I still have half a course to cover as well. Any ideas on how I can turn this around will be much appreciated!!???
     
  2. nugget

    nugget New commenter

    I'm in my second year of teaching and I've just inherited a year 11 German group from someone who left. Most of them are predicted Cs with a few expected to get Bs and a couple Ds. However, at the moment they are nowhere close. Their controlled assessment and past paper marks are Es, Fs, Gs with only a couple getting their predicted Cs.
    I'm currently teaching them a topic which we will do another assessment on and hopefully there will be time for a second one after that. I'm conscious that time is running out though and im under pressure from above to turn this situation around. I was wondering if anyone has any ideas of intervention/teaching strategies that I could try?
    Most of the problem is caused by a lack of motivation (although they picked the subject!) and therefore getting them to do homework/ learn vocab is proving impossible (apparently science and english are more important). They just don't retain words/information so in writing and speaking, despite having been well prepared for a topic, they say and write completely random stuff which means the grammar is hopeless and the content not right. So far, i'm doing all the normal stuff in lessons, I'm using our FLA to work with them in ability groups, i've written a revision guide and im teaching at lunch times (but the ones i really need to see don't turn up!) but it just isn't working because of the motivation level. I'm trying to repeat key grammar points, vocab and structures as often as possible in lessons but I still have half a course to cover as well. Any ideas on how I can turn this around will be much appreciated!!???
     
  3. frenchy18

    frenchy18 New commenter

    Hello, I empathise with you, the same thing has happened to me on a few occasions now, but with kids predicted A/A*s and getting way lower throughout the course. It is really hard trying to build relationships with a Year 11 class if you take them over.
    However, you have to remember that you are only 50% reposnsible for this class, someone taught them last year and so are accountable too.
    In terms of strategies, is there another teacher in your dept who you could bounce ideas off?
    Remember as well that there are still 7/8 months left before they leave and they could improve a lot in this time.
    I would also say not to fret too much about grades etc, as if you have been following the various threads on here recently about the exam board problems this year, you will see that not even the exam board seem to know what grade constitutes what.
    The fact that you are giving up time at lunchtime etc shows that you want the best for them and are working as hard as possible, but at the end of the day it is their GCSE and if they are not motivated to do well that is their look out. You can take a horse to water and all that.......
    Just keep chipping away and you may well be surprised with progress they make.
     
  4. ambi

    ambi New commenter

    Spot on frenchy18 - I think you have said it all in a very encouraging way and well done to you nugget - you are doing all you can .
     
  5. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    You NEED to get someone else involved to witness what's going on. You must raise this underachievement with parents, the head of your department, the head of year and the headteacher. They must be in a situation where no one can turn around in August and say they didn't know the situation was that bad. If kids are saying that science and maths are more important, then the school needs to deal with them and back you up. If kids are not learning their vocabulary then they need to come back after school and resit their test with the head of department as many times as it takes for them to understand that it does matter.
    It's all well and good to say that there is still time and in the old system, that's what I would have said as well, but the reality of controlled assessments means that there isn't any more time. Get your head of departement to write a personalised letter to parents (mail-merge in excel) with the individual controlled assessment grades of your pupils so far, stressing that this accounts for 60% of the final grade and that you offer lunchtime support which you strongly suggest should be attended by anyone who has yet to reach the C grade. I have a template if you want (pm me). I did this last September and for some students (and their parents!) it was the wake-up call they badly needed. You may want to educate your pupils about the ebac and the fact it means languages are now as important as English, maths and science!
     
  6. Hi noemie,

    I regularly read your posts, but couldn't agree more with the advice on this topic. i am long in the tooth butmove last year to a high achieving comprehensive school as Director of MFL and am now embariking on my second year of taking over a Y11 class with similar issues. I have prepared a form to hand to parents at the forthcoming Y11 Parent's evening with details of CA scores to date, dates of next CA, recommmendation for attendance at LT session and with FLA and I am fully prepared to turn this into a compulsory event if needed, I would be very interested in seeing the format of your letter if you don't mind sending it to me.
    Best Wishes

    Dawn Hale
    dawn.hale@fram.durham.sch.uk
     
  7. nugget

    nugget New commenter

    <font face="Times New Roman" size="3">

    </font>Thanks for your helpful and encouraging
    responses. Its good to know I&rsquo;m not the
    only one is this position (didn&rsquo;t think I would be!). Noemie, I know some of their parents were
    written to last year but I will message you for the template and do this again.
    We also have a parents evening round the corner so I will be phoning parents to
    &ldquo;invite&rdquo; them along. Dawn &ndash; I would love
    to see your form as well &ndash; can I email you for a copy? Unfortunately my HoD is
    more interested in languages which he teaches and less so in German but I have flagged
    this issue in meetings. I&rsquo;ve got them in detentions with me for not learning
    vocab and so far have not had to take it further than that&hellip;might try to find a
    stronger punishment for repeat offenders though. I think I will involve the head of year as you
    suggest as well. Have had a rant at the class about the ebac today but I don&rsquo;t
    think they were convinced. </font>
    <font face="Times New Roman" size="3">

    </font>
     

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