On Saturday I was once more at InstitutoVicente Cañada Blanch in London for the annual Talleres de español run by the Consejería de Educacción. It had only been 9 months since I was last there as the 2021 edition was postponed thanks to the C word and I was once more privileged to be asked to speak. More of that later!
The day started with a keynote to get you thinking by Crista Hazell who talked about The Joy of Language Learning.
My tweets at the time summarise the bits I particularly liked:
Following this, I attended a marvellously active and fun session led by Eva Rodríguez Moya entitled «JugaÑol: el poder del juego como herramienta de aprendizaje» during which she shared a number of ideas and techniques that are used in her classroom to enable learners to recall and use Spanish as the language of communication. I loved the energy and pace of the delivery as well as the great ideas, and it was good to see that others use gesture as a key way of embedding vocabulary and structures. I will certainly be using “Hola Año x” with my classes – a simple way to keep the class on their toes. I recommend you check out Eva’s presentation when it’s available!
My presentation was entitled A few of our favourite things and highlighted as many of the things that my pupils say they enjoy as I could fit into my time slot! As is often the case, I had far more to say than there was time to share, and below you can find my slides (minus a couple that can’t be shared which unfortunately means you can’t see the videos of my class retelling El Nabo Enorme or reciting Doña Pito Piturra)
I did manage to share that I see myself not a Spanish teacher but as a languages teacher and that whilst the language in which my pupils should have made ‘substantial progress’ by the end of Y6 is Spanish, I am also teaching them how to be language learners which is just as important if not more so. What i ran out of time to share was the range of things that we do to celebrate languages as well as our amazing Erasmus+ project that is just coming to an end. Perhaps I can share that next time… hint hint 😉 You can see the slides anyway.
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment. I’d be happy to answer!
Thanks to the rail strike I couldn’t stay for the afternoon sessions but I did enjoy a lovely lunch and a good chat with lots of enthusiastic joyful people. at the end of the day, I shared the tweet below which I feel summed up my experience. Here’s to the rainbow unicorns! 🌈🦄
It’s nearly time for the annual ALL (Association for Language Learning) conference Language World. I first attended Language World in Oxford many many years ago and it’s remained an important date each year ever since.
After a year online in 2021, Language World returns to being face to face this year. Taking place in Sheffield at The Quays Hotel, it promises to be two days of discussion, thought and learning and I for one am really looking forward to it.
This year the theme is Language Learning for Social Justice, and sessions relate to the theme of ensuring that ALL learners have access to high quality language learning opportunities, irrespective of age, gender, socioeconomic (dis)advantage, mother tongue or heritage.
The programme looks really interesting and I’m particularly looking forward to sessions by:
Hannah White 5.1 Use the work you do to support EAL pupils in the Primary Languages classroom to create an inclusive curriculum and improve teaching and learning for EAL pupils throughout your school
Eleanor Chettle Cully 1.3 Isn’t it time we moved beyond ‘diversity’? Practical strategies for decolonising the primary MFL curriculum
Marion Devons 8.2 Don’t take me out! Why children with SEND or EAL should stay in your language lessons and how all children will benefit (I feel passionately about this as you can see here.)
and this really interesting looking session 4.1 Inspiring Young Multilingual Activists through Digital Technology and the Arts
In fact, there are so many session that interest me that it’s quite tricky choosing sometimes!
I’ll be speaking on Friday at 215 about “Literature” 3.4 Using ‘Literature’ to support Primary Language teaching and learning This session will consider what is meant by ‘literature’ before moving on to explore how it can be used in the primary languages classroom as a great way to support language learning. Whether as a way into a topic, to support phonics or prosody, as a sample text to be adapted or as a way to support inclusion and challenge insularity, allowing learners to see themselves in their learning, literature is a powerful tool in our toolbox.
My trip to Acapulco today was very exciting. Perhaps not as exciting as a trip to actual Acapulco but I was spared the looong flight as it was able to attend the ALL Primary Languages Conference online from the comfort of my own dining room!
As part of the day I delivered a presentation entitled Not another worksheet Miss! a compilation of activities for ambitious primary language learners, whatever their age or ability. I whipped through as many as I possibly could in the time given but as usual I had far more to say that time allowed.
As I said at the time, these activities are not all mine, and I acknowledge my debt to the language community for sharing their ideas, particularly members of LiPS and my professional learning networks on social media. Ideas form over time and sometimes I honestly can’t recall what triggers an idea so whilst I have tried to give credit where it’s due, if I have failed, I apologise. Here’s a document that includes links to resources as I don’t think Slideshare is clickable!
I promised to fill in the gaps I left particularly towards the end with the last section. Slides 37-45 contain links to posts on this website that explain what I would’ve said in detail so I’ll focus on the final ‘sequence’ that I didn’t have a chance to explain.
As it’s easier, I’ve made a short video explaining what I wanted to say. Hope you find it helpful. UPDATE – Here’s the link as I’m having trouble embedding it and it’s getting late!
If you have any comments, questions or want to add your own activities, please feel free to comment below.
Following on from the success of last year’s event , it’s time for the second (online) ALL Primary Languages Conference. Colloquially (and rather romantically) known as Acapulco, this event on Saturday 6th November promises to be another memorable event.
I’m really looking forward to a quality few hours of ideas and inspiration and hope that you can join too.
If you’re a member of ALL or a trainee student it only costs £5 otherwise the cost is £25. How do you become a member of ALL? Find out here! Heads up – you can join as a primary school for £50 which is less than an individual!
The programme is viewable here and you can register here.
Here are my sketchnotes from Language World 2021. All done live so please excuse the slight untidiness at times as I tried to get everything written down! I tweeted most of them after the sessions and was really glad to see many tweets saying how helpful people found them.
There are more to come as I have several sessions that I want to catch when all the recordings are posted later in the week. If you want to see sketchnotes of some different sessions (and many of the same ones!) have a look at Clare’s blog.
Perhaps they could create a happy mask to wear as they record the poem, or make an avatar using an app. Or they could speak behind a powerpoint of things that make them laugh and smile?
Related to the poem, you could look at these sayings and expressions in Spanish about smiling and laughing.
Another poem will follow tomorrow!
Approximate translation: Welcome is the laughter that leaves joy wherever it goes. Come, laughter and her cousin, the smile. To laugh is like eating (it feeds more than meat.) One must laugh hourly (as humbly prescribed.) What a laugh, Auntie Felisa, ruffling your Tshirt. (Laughing is very good for the chest!) Whoever goes laughing goes better than by car; Whoever laughs by day, sleeps well at night.
Speaking a language confidently and coherently is an important part of the curriculum in the United Kingdom. However, the impact of Covid-19 has meant that many pupils have had fewer opportunities to speak the languages they are learning. Therefore, the Association for Language Learning, the British Council and the cultural and linguistic bodies in the United Kingdom have combined efforts to devise an exciting event entitled ‘Express Yourself in Lockdown’.
This will be an opportunity to showcase language learners’ enjoyment of a language that they are learning or that is normally used in their home community from home (except for English*!).
Language learners can prepare:
A short poem in the target language (written by themselves or by another author)
A short presentation on any theme e.g. climate change, equality, why I love languages
A short sketch
A short dialogue
This can be a solo or joint performance but should be no longer than 90 seconds in total and should be recorded in landscape mode. The participants will record themselves delivering their performance, however participants who are under-16 should use either PowerPoint slides/Bitmoji/other pictures or video imagery rather than showing their faces.
Teachers can then upload the performances to a teacher or school Twitter, Instagram or YouTube account with the hashtag #CelebrateSpeaking and the language chosen (e.g. #French) by 28 February 2021. [*If your pupil speaks EAL, they may enter in English BUT you must add #EAL so it’s clear!] Don’t forget to tag @Schools_British on Twitter or @BritishCouncil on Instagram when sharing your entry.
At one of my schools, I spent the lesson before the half term break focusing on a poem written by Clare Seccombe from her brilliant new resource Poesía. As well as working on the meaning and using them to further the children’s understanding, I also invited children to read along with me as I read, and then, if they wished, to record it and submit it as part of their Teams Assignment for that week. We’ll see how many I receive!
One young lady at my other school decided to record her rewritten version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar 🐛 – El Monstruo Muy Hambriento – and agreed for me to share it. You can see and hear it below. I was gobsmacked at her accent given that we have been learning remotely since Christmas and she has had no live lessons, just a couple of videos of me reading La Oruga Muy Hambrienta.
In November I had the unexpected pleasure of speaking at PHOrum, an online twilight for Primary language teachers run by Sue Cave and Association for Language Learning (ALL) . PHOrum stands for Primary Hubs Online and is a response to maintaining community of support and development for primary languages in the current climate. The inaugural meeting had sessions by Steven Fawkes, Eleanor Chettle Cully and me! You can read about my part of it here.
The Spring meeting is fast approaching on February 25th 16:00-17:30 via Zoom. Along with a ‘roadshow’ of updates and information from Steven Fawkes, there will be two further presentations:
Language acquisition and development in a primary language lesson Carlota will share the process of acquisition of a language and ideas to carry on in a lesson. How to start with vocabulary and simple structures and develop skills to understand a text , comprehension questions, classroom language and be able to follow basic communication, at the same time, make the learners feel that they are being challenged and are successful in their task. Language in Primary should be real and useful. The examples will be in Spanish but applicable to other languages. Carlota Cámara Suarez is Subject Development Lead and Spanish Teacher at Gladstone Primary Academy and Thomas Deacon Juniors
Memory methods in KS2 MFL Kirsty will talk about how gestures, memory tags, routines and songs can help motivate primary language learners and improve their retention of vocabulary and phonics. Kirsty will relate this to her teaching in y3-6 giving practical examples of action songs and vocabulary learning methods that can be applied to a variety of topics in the primary classroom. She will touch on her experience of teaching EAL pupils and what motivates them to learn. Kirsty Williams is Lead Teacher for EAL and Primary MFL at Castle Newnham School, Bedford and runs the local ALL Primary Hub. She has taught French for over 15 years in KS2, KS3 and KS4.
Both sound very interesting and I’m hoping that the staff meeting at school that week is on Tuesday not Thursday!
At this time of year, I’m normally gearing up for my annual ‘weekend away’ at Language World. It’s taken me to York, Lancaster, Leicester, Rugby, Nottingham, London, Newcastle, Manchester, Loughborough and of course, Oxford where Language World and I first ‘met.’ This year, things are a little different as I won’t physically be going anywhere as the conference is coming to me in my home via the wonders of video conferencing. And it can come to you too if you sign up!
As the blurb on their site says: “Schools are currently exploring how they can offer rich, exciting education for all their pupils. Ofsted encourages schools to make positive decisions to preserve or develop richness of experience along with breadth and depth of curriculum – for example, giving pupils the opportunity to learn a number of foreign languages and arts subjects, recognising local ambitions. We look forward to sharing ideas and best practice from among our languages community about these kinds of curricular aspects, and about learning that goes deeper into content, motivates learners of Languages, culture and communication, and is broader than the exam specifications.”
Keynote speakers this year include:
President of ALL (2020-22), Kim Bower;
Dr. Michael Wardle, Language Lead for OFSTED;
international expert on CLIL and Professor of Languages Education and Classroom Learning at university of Edinburgh, Professor Do Coyle
Professor of Applied Linguistics at the UCL Institute of Education, University College London, Professor Li Wei
Im particularly looking forward to hearing from Professor Li Wei on Friday talking about Multilingualism, Language Learning and Social Cognition and then from Jane Driver on Saturday talking about Using CLIL and MFL strategies to maximise the curriculum for EAL learners.
And then there are the talks and presentations from which you can choose. Each session is 30 minutes long with a 20 minute presentation followed by 10 minutes for questions. Easier for concentration but challenging when you’re planning a session and always have too much for 45 minutes…
Some sessions that caught my eye as a primary languages practitioner include:
Promoting intercultural understanding through cross curricular and extra-curricular activities in the primary classroom – lots of practical ideas led by Bernadette Clinton and Raquel Tola Rego
A recipe for success! Creating a bespoke scheme of work – Clare Seccombe
Engaging, enriching, inclusive: ensuring a primary MFL curriculum which delivers for SEND pupils – Eleanor Chettle Cully
Celebrate your bilingual learners and promote linguistic diversity in your school with an International Mother Tongue Day project – Hannah White
As usual, I have a problem! The first two are at the same time as each other AND I’m speaking at the same time! And the second two are also concurrent. I’m hoping that with the online nature of the conference we might be able to catch up… but I’m not sure so don’t quote me on it!
Other sessions I’m looking forward to:
What does an anti-racist, decolonised MFL curriculum look like?
Embedding languages into the curriculum: practical examples from Scotland and Wales
Teaching Phonics – Mapping, Method and Moving on
Another innovation this year is that some 30 minute slots split into 3 mini talks and I’m looking forward to many of those too including Dr Judith Rifeser talking about Nurturing intercultural understanding and celebrating pupils’ diverse and multilingual voices through creative projects, Bryn Llewellyn sharing Learning Languages on the Move – Developing Language Vocabulary using Physically Active Learning Approaches, Helen Stokes talking about Making connections between languages with translation skills: for easier transition between KS2 and 3 and How MFL teaching can boost whole school literacy led by Clare Caio.
So much that it’s hard to choose! You might even want to ‘attend’ my session entitled Take One Book in which I’ll explore how to make full use of a storybook (a different one from the one I shared at PHOrum!) You can find further details on the Language World 2021 website and the programme can be found here.
I am very much looking forward to a new experience and whilst I’d rather we were meeting together as usual, I’m excited for the new format and will still be wearing LiPS themed clothing and sketchnoting!
Find out about my experiences at previous Language Worlds by following the links below!
Last night I attended a webinar hosted by ALL London with the British Council to launch the Language Trends survey for 2021.
Language Trends is a yearly report that discusses the state of language learning in England and is written by Ian Collen of Queens University, Belfast. It’s a really important report on language learning at primary and secondary level in England that is published and read at high level by government and policy makers. The more responses they get, the better the picture of language learning across the country as it is informed by the results of a survey sent to schools.
The Language Trends survey 2021 is being emailed to schools this week. It’ll be sent to the public email of your school – often the HT or enquiry@ Last year, it was notable that the responses tended to come from schools in more ‘affluent’ areas statistics wise (eg lower than average FSM) so it would be good to have a wider breadth of data this time. Ian Collen, the author of the report, wants to hear all about what’s going on in primary schools. One of last year’s finding was that “Primary Languages are embedded in policy but not in practice.” Therefore, if you ARE putting policy into practice, this is an opportunity to share all the wonderful things that are going on.
If you are asked to fill it in, please do! If you aren’t, email the Head and ask them to do it, or offer to do it for them! It’ll take you about 15 minutes. The deadline is 29th January which is very soon!!
If you’d like to read last year’s report, you can find it (and other research into language learning in the UK) on the British Council website Language Trends 2020 or it’s below in PDF,