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UkEdChat guest blog post.

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 20.53.57At about 1130am on Friday I was contacted and asked by UKEDChat if I wanted to write a guest blog post about the impact Brexit could/will have on language learning. I didn’t write it straight away for several reasons not least that I didn’t actually have time until very late that night to think. When I did, I wrote my personal reflection on the events and implications.

The post can be found on the UKEdChat website and the text is reproduced below:

My husband woke me this morning and asked if I wanted to know the result. I should’ve been known by his voice but when he said ‘It was Leave by 52% to 48%’ it hit me like a ton of bricks and I burst into tears.

My first thought was my friends and pupils and how some of them would now feel.

I am a language teacher and many of my friends and colleagues across the country are ‘native speakers’ e.g. French/Spanish/German nationals who teach their native language. Others fell in love and moved here to be with their partners. Some have lived in this country for many years and have never felt the need to go to the (not inconsiderable) expense of officially become British.  Many have British partners, children who have grown up here and consider themselves part of this country, working, paying taxes, contributing to their communities. They could not vote. You can read what one felt here.

The Referendum may have been about whether we stay in the EU or not, but the waters were unfortunately muddied by the issue of immigration.  As I turned on social media, my fears were confirmed. I wasn’t in school but I know that several children were aware of what a ‘Leave’ verdict could mean for their families.

My job as a language teacher isn’t just about teaching words, structures and grammar. It’s about a context for that language, be it in Spain or South America, France, Belgium, Senegal. It’s about culture, lifestyle, food that may be different to ‘our’ ways. It involves encouraging discussion of our differences to help us understand more about ourselves, and then the joy of seeing things from someone else’s perspective, celebrating that we’re not all identical.

Through eTwinning, Comenius, Comenius Reggio and Erasmus +, all funded by the EU, my school has changed over the last ten years to be the globally minded place that it is now.  Teachers have visited colleagues in Europe, we’ve received visitors and much work has been done online, via Skype and vieo conferencing.

So what will Leave mean?

My initial reaction was posted at 8:15am

This morning I am distraught. Can’t put it into words but can I just say to my many friends who now feel unwelcome in the country that is their home – I love you. Farage, Gove, Johnson et al do not speak for me and my family. I don’t know what the future holds but I know that as long as I have breath I’ll still be championing cooperation, understanding, compassion and celebrating diversity. “We have more in common with each other than things that divide us.

Taking my eldest son to a university open day gave me time to think and reflect. My conclusion?

My task hasn’t really changed. I will still teach Spanish the same way I always did. I will still see Intercultural understanding as a vital part of my role. I will still find ways to bring other countries into my classroom. It will be harder as there is uncertainty about what will happen to the wonderful programmes like eTwinning. As a school we will still celebrate the languages and cultures of our pupils as we did whilst people were voting in another building on our site. My son and others intending to study languages at university may find their year abroad harder to fund without Erasmus funding. I might get asked more often ‘why do we learn Spanish; everyone speaks English!’ but my answer will remain the same. If anything, I see my role as even more important than before. My son reminded me of the postcard that was on the shelf at the bottom of our stairs at home featuring the words of Nelson Mandela:

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

His point was that, given the number of treaties, agreements and the like that the United Kingdom  now need to renegotiate, language skills will be all the more important, a point born out by experience.

The Leave vote doesn’t mean that we are no longer European.  I am European, speaking several languages, having lived in three European countries and that hasn’t changed. Time will tell the full implications for languages and the global dimension; statements from The British Council and ALL make me more optimistic.  So whilst my tears have ceased, my determination has not and, judging by the comments on social media and in person, nor has that of my fellow linguists!

We may need to work harder for opportunities but …

#PracPed15 – Using technology to enhance Primary Language Learning

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Evernote Snapshot 20151016 104158My session at the wonderful Practical Pedagogies conference centred around the use of technology to enhance Primary Language Learning.

Key points I made included:

  • technology is not  just for the pupils but also for the teacher;
  • it is just one tool we have to use;
  • it is not always the best tool for the job.

I went on to suggest online tools as well as apps that might be useful in a range of contexts and situations.

My presentation is below and there is wiki with links to tutorials, examples and ideas that accompanies it. Feel free to ask questions via the contact form or @lisibo on Twitter.

Using technology to enhance Primary Language Learning from Lisa Stevens
And thanks to Marisa for sharing her notes (and photographs!) here.

How might I use Yo quiero ser – Nubeluz

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Thanks to Pat Sweeney on the Yahoo MFL Resources group for pointing out this group.

If you like Hi5, and you love a bit of 90s “cheese”, you’ll love Nubeluz.

As Pat writes –

“Many of Nubeluz’s songs seem to be innocent good fun and definitely have catchy tunes that make you want to dance and sing along.
However, some “carry a message “. For example “Papi, deja de fumar!”
( Daddy, give up smoking!) or “Cuidado ” ( Be careful!) which warns of being mislead by friends to get involved in things that are not right or good.”

She goes on to pose a question –

“I would be very interested to know what people think of the songs and whether they would deem them suitable for using as teaching aids..and if so..with which groups..how?”

So…here are some ideas for how to use  Yo quiero ser

I think this would fit well with the topics People who help us or Jobs people do that are part of EYFS and KS1. I think that the chorus is the most useful part.

Activities you might do:

  • ask learners to identify the jobs they hear in the chorus. They are repeated at the very end so there are 2 chances to catch them. You might provide a tick sheet with pictures for younger learners or the names in Spanish for older ones.
  • make a pelmanism game with job images and names in Spanish for matching first then for playing.
  • cut the lyrics (chorus) into strips. Ask learners firstly to see if they can match the jobs with the description of what they do. This uses their LLS as they will look for cognates, make connections between the word for the job and words in the description and so on. Then they can check their answers by listening and watching again.
  • I might use Amara (was UniversalSubtitles) http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/ to put Spanish subtitles on the video too. (See this example and also this post about how and why)
Moving away from the video, some further ideas –
  • I might use other video clip such as Los oficios which features a famous song, or this version with the words.
  • This clip Cuando sea grande would be a good step onto using the future tense. Seré dentista/artista etc. I also like the final lines – “Cuando sea grande, haré mil cosas/Porque estoy seguro que podré. Y mientras tanto llega la hora/Solamente niño quiero ser”
  • There is a whole unit of work on Udicom on Los oficios. These resources are intended for ‘alumnos de compensatoria’ or learners needing extra help in Spain so many are very simple exercises on copywriting, phonics, matching and writing words and short phrases. I particularly like the phonics sections and the use of little rhymes too.
  • This interactive site is useful for learning the names of jobs by hovering over the people, and clicking to see/hear a short sentence about what they do. Further forward (click on arrow bottom right) it talks about “profesiones” – professions as opposed to “oficios” – jobs.
  • Here’s a free poster that you can download – I believe you need to purchase the other posters tagged Los oficios but you can look at them for ideas!
  • I also found this blog with an image and short descriptions for 6 jobs/professions.
  • And this is a wonderful site with lots of ideas and materials for a wide age range. There are a number of stories at a variety of levels (primary and secondary) as well as comics and ‘information books’, all presented online. As this resource is aimed at social studies for Spanish learners, so you need to bear that in mind e.g. Look at the complexity of language rather than going by the age indicated. I looked at a few stories – Alejandro el canguro pintor (basic) is a lovely tale about a kangaroo that draws all the time, and Maria auxiliar de ayuda a domicilio is more complex and a home help who makes Grandma’s life better. There’s a teachers guide that includes ideas and some activity sheets. Well worth an explore if you’re looking to work cross curricularly at primary or secondary level!

 

So, Pat. Does that answer your question? 🙂

 

 

‘TeachMeet styley thingy’ #etwpdw

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Yesterday, as the European eTwinning Ambassadors PDW at National college of School Leadership in Nottingham drew to a close, I took part in what Drew Buddie aka @digitalmaverick entitled ‘a Teachmeet style-y thingy’.

Drew introduced the idea of an ‘unconference’ explaining both TedX and Teachmeet before opening the floor to others to share their 7 minute micro or 2 minute nano presentations.

I was first up – see the next post for my presentation – and later for a video of it (if it’s not too hideous!)

Other presenters were-

Lieven from Flanders who shared his magnificent projects, all documented on his blog. These included repurposing old computer mice, decorating them and then using TuxPaint to animate them (MouseArt), using Pivot to make animations of bubbles (B@llobees) and also to make animated characters @ni & M@te who travelled to other schools and found out about them.

Two things that particularly struck me were firstly when Lieven said he liked ‘making the unexpected valuable’ which struck a chord, and also the use of technology to back up and enhance more traditional methods eg the Kindergarten pupils made bubble pictures with paint and straws, and those pieces of art were used as the background for the Bubble animations.

Next up was Paddy who talked about his eTwinning project Wii will rock you which used the Nintendo Wii as a stimulus.  I enjoyed this presentation as Paddy underlined that it was not all about playing games, but that the games were the starting point for other activities – writing letters, designing CD covers, planning tours with travel plans and money considerations, cooperation with other children, publicity and negotiation.  They also worked on a joint sports day with a school in ireland with some ‘traditional’ sports day activities as well as Wii based ones.

Then Susi Arnott shared about using comic strips and Comic Life, and how the process of looking at comics enhanced the understanding of texts and enhanced literacy skills.  She mentioned Bitstrips which I will be investigating!

Drew used Twitter to ask why people went to Teachmeets- responses included:

‘the range of ideas’

‘a cross subject sharing of ideas’

‘non threatening’ collaborative spirit’

‘celebrating work done in my classroom’

‘meeting like minded colleagues leads to great PLNs’

‘at least 20 ideas for use tomorrow’

‘widens my ideas’

Nick Falk finished up the meet with a nano-presentation on the use of QR codes and QR readers in mobile phones.  Very interesting, and something I need to investigate!

No camel, no fruit machine and no alcohol; but otherwise pretty like a normal TeachMeet! Oh, and no cupcakes.  Sorry @niiloa

AQA – Creative and motivational language learning in the primary classroom. Part 2

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

On Tuesday I was in sunny (yes, it was sunny!) Manchester, delivering my AQA course.

Apart from the problems with the internet, I believe a good day was had by all – lunch was once more a highlight!

Rather than repeat all the links, can I refer you to my last post where you will find all the ‘new’ links about PLL, and also some recommendations from other delegates of sites and learning materials that they’ve found useful.

I forgot last week to put a link to a resource listing many many games and quick activities for the PLL classroom, so here it is.

Inspiration for Motivation – Top Tips for PLL

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Here is the Slidecast of my second presentation from Brighton.

Apologies for the audio cutting out before the end – no idea what happened there!  Perhaps the iRiver overheated!

Apologies to @wizenedcrone for forgetting her real name – it’s Fiona Joyce!!!

And the German site I mentioned was called GenkiGerman.

Inspiration for Motivation – You and Youtube

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Two weeks after the event I’ve finally got around to editing and synching the audio of my presentations from the Linguascope Conference in Brighton.

Here’s the first one – You and Youtube about the use of Youtube and other online video / slideshow sites in the language classroom.

Things that make my pupils smile #MFLSAT

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

I normally make Slideshares of my presentations and add the audio for Slidecasts.

However, the lovely @eyebeams was UStreaming the MFL Show and Tell from Nottingham today so I’m able to embed the video of my presentation!

Hope you find it useful.  Although my pupils are primary aged and some of the ideas are very ‘primary centric’, I think that there are many things that secondary colleagues can take and adapt to their situations.  teh fun doesn’t have to stop at the end of KS2, you know ;o)

What could this mean?

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

As I’m presenting at a British council conference in Madrid this weekend, I’ve been researching Voki and Voicethread and uses thereof.

I’ll post my presentation and notes etc after the event, but this particular Voicethread made by Silvia Tolisano aka Langwitches came to mind and I thought I’d share it now as I think it’s genius!

Basically, there are many photos contributed by people from around the world of something that is particular to their country – could be a tradition, a habit, a routine, a custom – in order to promote intercultural dialogue about our similarities and differences. People are invited to contribute – see the whatcoulditmean wiki for details – by uploading photographs and also by surmising what the photos might mean!

A simple idea but great fun and thought provoking too.