March 27, 2010 – ¡Vámonos! The musings of Lisibo
 

Day: March 27, 2010

Rachel Hawkes is an absolute genius who I’m certain rarely sleeps or else has her own TARDIS as she can’t possibly have the hours in the day to teach and do all the things she does!

Her ‘Major talk’ was all about speaking – the most undeveloped but most important skill in terms of motivation as our perception of being good at languages hangs on our ability to speak.

If you want to experience the presentation, you will no doubt soon see it on Rachel’s blog, but some key points were-

Key strategies –

sound-written pattern

building a framework for spontaneous talk

providing opps for planned and unplanned talk

focusing on key structures

providing a range of stimulus materials to respond to

using tech to enhance interactions

Teaching phonics is very important – the first thing that happens in year 7 at Comberton. The phonics aare linked to a gesture and once learned, the pupils are given words to pronounce – it could be people’s names or shopping lists.

Other ideas for geting pupils talking were

  1. using a Morph clip and asking What are they saying? Can you give Morph and Chas some words? Or to give pupils the words and ask them to put them in order.
  2. an iPhone clip that practiced ‘Puedo…….’ and could be used to reinforce ‘¿se puede….?
  3. the Obama reggaeton rap
  4. posing a question eg ¿Tienes hermanos o hermanas? and stipulating ‘tu respuesta debe tener 7 palabras‘ then ¿Cómo puedes contestar con más de 10 palabras
  5. Odd one out connecting triangles
  6. pilla al intruso ; and, one of my favourites,
  7. what isn’t going to happen??? What didn’t happen?

All the clips Rachel used are bookmarked in her account there – RachelHawkes60.

The first session I attended was Helen L. Walker presenting Raising global awareness in a second language and speaking from her experience as an early years teacher in the immersion programme in Canada.Helen asserted that we still tend to live within our own cultural bubble despite the immediacy of internet etc, and that global awareness, that is, an understanding and appreciation of other cultures, is something on which we still need to work. She talke dof how we can do this using books, experiences and contcts as well as global focus weeks such as thos edetailed on the SWgfl.

Whilst living in an English speaking part of Canada (Calgary), Helen taught a class under the immersion programme of pupils aged 5 who had no or very little French. they began their journey using the topic L’Afrique, and applying an enquiry based method of learning. They looked at elephants, had an Africa day and did lots of art activities. Questions were posed and the children looked for the answers with teacher help where needed.

One such question was ‘Does it rain in Africa?’ to which the children immediately answered ‘no’. Reading What the animals were waiting for, a book about the rains in Africa, challenged this view and shaped their understanding of what it might be like to live in Africa.

Another book Beatrice’s Goat had wide reaching effects on the pupils.

Beatrice lives in Uganda and wants to go to school but has no uniform as she can’t afford it. Then she’s sent a goat from a charity. The pupils empathised with Beatrice – and wanted to send a goat to her. Helen explained that Beatrice now had a goat, but that perhaps they could buy a goat for another child. The class discussed how to raise money to send the goat, and settled on creating items to auction off including the journal of Françoise the class teddy bear, booklets made in computer time in french about numbers, colours, animals and Africa. On an art trip they made a quilt with each child contributing a square – this too was auctioned . All in all, they raised sufficient money to buy a barn full of animals. Not only had they raised funds but also the awareness; the pupils were so proud of themselves and had a great joy in giving.

Helen offered a list of some of the resources she used, and of sites that were useful for this type of thing, and others shared ideas from their classes including a boys’ school where the pupils raised money by doing the staff’s ironing!

As a postscript to this, I overhead a conversation today about an article saying that by teaching ICU, we are producing racist pupils as we are presenting a ‘stock view’ of countries. This rang bells as I had had a similar experience in Liverpool at the PLS where someone had been challenged for portraying a very narrow view of life in Martinique. Good point i guess. How can we make sure we’re not reinforcing unhelpful stereotypes?

Language World 2010

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I’ve had the privilege over the last two days to be in York – a beautiful city – for the annual ALL conference Language World.

Between dodging goose poo and trying to work out which bridge to cross, blowing bubbles and answering burning questions about the attractiveness of back hair and the point of mixed peel, we’ve been treated to many thought provoking and practical sessions on language teaching and learning. I’ll try and blog a few over the next few days.

Good to see friends, especially ones who have up until now been virtual, and make new ones. Already looking forward to next year!


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