Author Archives: Alison Christmas

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

My Educational Philosophy

I am Alison Christmas in the University of Dundee studying for an MA (Hons) in Education. I arrived here by pure determination and a drive to succeed. After being told in 5th year that I should look into College degrees rather than University degrees I was completely focused on maintaining my grades. Once applying to several University’s and receiving numerous offers staff and students again told me that I should still think of a back-up plan as the likely hood of me getting these grades would be rather too ambitious. However, here I am.

 

My goal is to portray my determination, positive attitude and approachableness across to my colleagues and pupils and to never give up on them as I never did on myself. To expand my knowledge, skills and experience last year I used to help a teacher out in a primary class for a number of hours a week. I found this extremely helpful in broadening my communication skills with children, widening my understanding of how they learn and it has proved extremely satisfying to see how my support had helped and supported pupil’s development. I also taught music on my own with the overview of the Head of Music to two primary classes. This involved me planning the lesson in advance, delivering the concepts and getting feedback from the teacher afterwards so I could improve. This was a great development opportunity for me as I have improved my wider teaching capabilities. I also spent a work experience week in a nursery school working with under fives, this helped me appreciate the different techniques in teaching through play and early education.

 

I am very passionate about music and I studied to advanced higher level. From the age of seven I have been actively involved in a stage school, ballet school and school productions. Two years ago, I was the lead female role in the school musical production, “We Will Rock You”. I am a confident and accomplished performer and have been involved in many concerts, shows and productions often taking solos, significant parts and lead roles. The music department was where the majority of my co-curricular activities took place at school. I played and still continue to play the Keyboard, Piano and Flute and I am a well regarded singer. I performed in a number of different ensembles, orchestras and choirs. My main commitment was the School Jazz Orchestra where I played the piano and was responsible for tuning. Through my musical studies in the past three years I have been part of an exchange programme with a German school. This helped me interact with different people and let me see how schools work in different countries. I hope with everything I learnt from this that I can share my love and passion for music with the children.

 

I am extremely motivated about learning how to support children through their education and allowing them to develop. Over the past eighteen months I have undertaken many activities to enhance my knowledge and experience in this area. I am looking forward to studying my teaching degree as it will give me the foundation to shape my future career.