Modern Foreign Language 8th October 2015

Our 3 learning intentions:

We will increase our understanding of how we present and embed new language

How we will enhance listening and speaking skills

How it feels to be a learner


We began with three discussion questions and I have put the groups answers underneath:


How do you know that your students understand listening activities and produce correct spoke languages?

We decided that you can see this by the response you get from the class as a whole, whether it is a the same few children putting up their hands or whether it varies and whether or not all of them or taking part. You can also tell by facial expressions, it is important to watch the children when doing the listening activites to see the expressions on their faces as to whether or not they can understand what is going on. Another way to encourage them is to speak to them in Spanish and for them to reply in English this shows then that they understand but many children will be too shy or worried to speak in Spanish.


What do you think can impede their understanding?

We can prevent their learning by teaching at too high a level or not being concerned when there is a lack of engagement in the class. When teaching a MFL we also need to be aware of the speed we teach at. This could be if the teacher is fluent they teach fast as they assume the children know what they are learning or could be as the teacher is not very good at the language there for teaches too slow and with a lack on confidence resulting in the children feeling the same reaction.


Why do they avoid speaking?

Children avoid speaking the language due to their lack of confidence and understanding. The children also are not used to speaking in a different language with a different accent so they do not like speaking in the class with this as it doesn’t seem natural to them. This is why starting off with songs is good as it makes the children feel more confident.


Following this we learnt about ways in which to incorporate the language so children here it regularly rather than just in the set time a week. From this we thought about the children responding in the language with the register in the morning, general instructions i.e please sit down, please get out your pencils. We evern thought about giving praise in the language or having classroom displays in the language.


We then discussed how we could make the children engaged during the lesson by how we teach it; using a puppet, stories, songs, games and role plays.


After studying Vygotsky’s theory of scaffolding in first year we discussed the strategies we could use in listening and speaking skills.

  1. Visual support
  2. Speaking different speeds
  3. Adopting exaggerated intonation
  4. Hand and body language


From this we discussed that we don’t show the written words immediately and we repeat them so they know the word and before the can see it and visualise it.


We also discussed potential listening activities:

  1. Complete a tickbox
  2. Complete a gapfill worksheet
  3. Lotto/Bingo
  4. Cross out items


We discussed point 2 in most detail deciding that it was the most difficult activity there but also how we could use it in many different ways. Using the target language for the sentences may be too difficult to start off with but to have the sentences in English and to have to fill in the gaps with the language might work.


After discussing some other ways in which Modern Forgein Languages can be taught we then discussed a few more questions


Some advantages and weaknesses of the presented activites?

Comic book strips

  • encourages them to speak to each other
  • They can make their own
  • Could get rather boring and become unengaged if they are with the same partner so mix them around to make it more interesting


How could you overcome weaknesses?

  • It was discussed how some teachers teach words rather than sentences so the idea was to make it more interactive and engaging for all the pupils to give them sentences once they have learnt a certain amount of vocabulary
  • Make it interactive
  • Use a topic they will want to learn/ make sure it has a meaning



How much new language should you introduce in each lesson?

This depends on the amount of language time the class get and also the ability of how quickly the class learn and retain the information. This is because unless the children have grasped the concept of the previous lesson the following up one could make them even more confused, resulting in them becoming disengaged and not feeling confident to talk in the class again.


Mention some techniques to retain language

Bingo, gap filling, songs, role play etc

But from this we always need to consider the different learning styles i.e visual, auditory, kinaesthetic



So by the end of the workshop I was able to:


Understand what is difficult for young learners

List strategies for reinforcing speaking listening skills

Know appropriate activities for promoting listening and speaking

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