October 15, 2009 – ¡Vámonos!
 

Day: October 15, 2009

Languages at KS1

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As pupils at Whitehouse Common learn Spanish from Nursery to Year 6, I was very interested by this session at the Hampshire Conference. Fiona and Naouele spoke persuasively about the benefits of language learning at a young age.

They shared the story of Le Chasse à l’ours. As we listened to the story, we had three tasks.
1. to pass a bear every time we heard the word ‘l’ours’
2. to repeat ‘la vie est belle’ everytime we heard it
3. to repeat the sound effects
Some of the techniques they suggested are familiar to any primary (and even secondary) teacher – repetition, using actions and mimes, looking at language and punctuation, being animated and expressive and so on. Some activities mentioned included Bang Bang – also known as Splat! – Fruit Salad, matching pairs, dressing up games and chopped up text.
We looked at Talking tins, Easispeak microphones and Chatterblocks – dice with six recorded sounds and pics, one on each face. All these resources are great for speaking and listening activities. I think some of those Chatterblocks will be on my shopping list.


CLIL is – Content and Language Integrated Learning and basically involves teaching cross-curricularly, delivering other subjects through the language. Do Coyle is the driving force behind this. The ideal is that the subject specialist delivers the lessons in the language, but it’s more likely that the MFL specialist will deliver eg history, or possibly the subject and the MFL teacher team teaching. You might also use the FLA to support the subject specialist. I’m interested in this as Whitehouse Common is involved in a project with three foci, one of which is CLIL.

Schools that use this include Hockerill Anglo-European College, Tile Hill Wood School, Ridgemeadow Community College.
Why CLIL? There has historically been a focus on grammar and the content of the exam. that they need to pass, rather than on content and interest, on creativity and relevance. The New Curriculum talks of real purposes, creativity, imagination, personal interest, intercultural understanding. CLIL is also a good potential ‘solution’ to transition as pupils will be arriving in KS3 with knowledge of languages – whichever it may be.
I’m really excited to see details of how Ringwood Junior School where they use CLIL for aspects of the curriculum eg in Year 5, the Science scheme of work is linked to the French story Mimi, le fourmi d’espace. This is the sort of thing I’m trying to do increasingly at Whitehouse Common, making language learning part of pupils’ day to day experience and not just a discrete subject. Louise Wornell, the presenter, is from Ringwood School, and shared what her school did – for example, in Yr7 they do 3 modules including Citizenship – the right person for the job
and History – Castles. In KS4, topics include climate change based of 12 French speaking countries and Paris through the yes of the Impressionists.
It seems to me that CLIL is something that is actually quite easy to start – there is already a teacher at my school who has taken on my attempts to link language learning to e.g. Science and has labelled all her displays in Spanish as well as English. Taking that further step and teaching entire lessons of the scheme in the language might need a bit more courage, but small steps are how we start to walk….

I was somewhat disappointed to discover that the Hampshire Language Conference this year was not being held at Marwell Zoo, and excited to discover that it was to be held at The Ark. So far no animals have appeared and its a lovely day so you might guess that it’s not a big boat.

Lid King has just addressed us all and we’re listening to our first seminar – I’m in a session led by David Hicks aka Monsieur X, showing us how to encourage pupils to use target language through action, rap, song and movement.
Better stop blogging and join in!
More later!

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