opinions – ¡Vámonos! The musings of Lisibo
 

Tag: opinions

Seen on the cover of a notebook on Amazon

I was talking to someone this week that I’ve known since my late teens about ambitions that we had then and whether they’ve been realised. Whilst they had a long list of aspirations including to write a book, travel the world and win awards for their writing (all achieved), I really only had two ambitions that didn’t seem as exciting – to be a mum, and to be a teacher. Ambitions achieved? Well, yes. I am mum to two boys and I like to think they’re turning out OK, and I am a teacher.

But I didn’t want to be just any teacher. I wanted to be a teacher like Mrs Head, Mrs Corden and Señora Sánchez- Richardson; unforgettable teachers who are etched in my mind, who nurtured and encouraged my fascination with learning and with finding out about the world beyond our town and country, and who inspired me to be a teacher too. I literally followed in the footsteps of the latter as I took over from her as Head of Spanish when she retired, but have I ever managed to make such an impact on a child’s life as she made on mine?

I love my job and have done since I moved to primary but it hasn’t always been like that. At one point, realising my ambition to teach, and to teach Spanish, was destroying my life and that of my young children, and that’s when I left secondary teaching. [NB I am not saying that secondary is bad and primary blissful but I always wanted to be a middle school teacher who taught Spanish and was ‘forced’ into secondary teaching as the closest way forward.] I look back on those days and wonder if I managed to make a difference to any of my pupils as I was a walking stress factory. I know I did though as I’ve since met a pupil who remembered how she’d made my life a living nightmare when I first started as Head of Spanish and told me that she admired my determination to get her to succeed when she was throwing all my efforts back in my face. One of my pupils from those days contacted me (via a teaching friend) when he finished his GCSEs to tell me that he’d done well and to thank me for teaching him French. I’d only done it for a year in Y8, and only two lessons a week although I did love teaching his class. We’re still in contact, and when he wanted to start learning Spanish, he asked for my help.

What about since I moved to primary? I’ve loved it but that doesn’t equate to inspiring anyone. Perhaps I should just be glad that I like going to work, that I have fun and that I’m doing what I love to do. Does it matter if I’m making a specific difference to anyone’s life? Well it does to me. My overarching aim is to encourage children to explore languages, to enjoy learning them and to want to carry on when they leave. The vast majority move to secondary schools where they will learn French or German rather than Spanish (at least at first) so it’s important to me that they leave with the will to ‘start again’ but also the understanding – and belief – that those years of Spanish were not wasted.

So do I make a difference? Past pupils quite often say ¡hola! when they see me so I can’t have made a hugely negative impression on most of them! I love going to ‘prize giving’ evenings for my boys not just to celebrate their achievements but to ‘check up’ on old pupils, and I’m especially proud when they have won prizes for languages (happens quite often!) Former pupils send me messages with younger siblings or even turn up at school to tell me how they’ve doing with languages or have done at GCSE, and some proudly tell me that they’re continuing with language learning. A former pupil asking to do work experience at one school this year specified that she was particularly interested in languages (of course I jumped at the opportunity!) Another former pupil volunteered as a sixth former, first through his school scheme in Y12 and then in his free time, delivering Spanish in KS1, and is now a student teacher with a language specialism. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming that it’s all my influence that makes this happen; I know that these young people have had excellent language teachers at secondary level too, but I’d like to think that I started them on their way…

And it’s not just the ‘high fliers’ that I’d like to think have been influenced. A Y6 at my other school last year bought me a huge bunch of flowers and wrote me a note about how much he’d enjoyed Spanish and how he’d miss me – a child who is not a natural linguist but who listened and tried his best, always with a smile. I hope he remembers his experiences if languages are quite the same for him in the future.

I started by recalling a conversation I had with a friend. That was one of two reasons I started this post, the other catalyst being a message on LinkedIn from another former pupil who has now completed his engineering degree and is completing a Masters whilst spending a year in industry. During his internship he’s decided to take up Spanish again and wanted to ask my advice as Duolingo is great but he felt he lacked listening and speaking practice. He’d written the whole message in Spanish (and I don’t think he’d completely GoogleTranslated it either!) which touched me, but what he wrote in the second half of the message made me cry:

Translation – “Also, I have to say thank you. Your enthusiasm for learning and languages is very inspiring and has stayed with me through school, university and until now. I rediscovered the love of languages that you gave me during my internship this year and therefore I’d love your advice.”

So I guess I’ve made a difference to those young people, however big or small. And they’re the ones I know about. As I said earlier, Señora Sánchez-Richardson knew I became a Spanish teacher but she doesn’t know about my career since 2000. Mrs Corden died whilst I was at secondary school but I went to her funeral and made sure that her children knew the influence she had on me. I last saw Mrs Head when I was 10 so she probably doesn’t know how much they influenced me, and she certainly knows nothing of my teaching career as I was Lisa Efford then.

The point of this post is not to say ‘look at me, I’m brilliant’ but to serve as a reminder of two things. Firstly, ambitions are great but who knows as teenager where life might lead you. I’ve done far more than I could ever imagine then including keynoting conferences, writing websites, radio series, magazine articles and textbook materials, running a marathon and completing triathlons and living in Switzerland. And secondly, we might not know the influence we have at the time, and we may never know, but it happens. Teaching can be a ‘thankless’ task, sometimes quite literally. I don’t get piles of presents at the end of the year as a class teacher might do, but it makes any thanks I do receive all the more special. And actually, as much as I love (dark) chocolate and smelly candles, I’d swap them all for a message like the one above.

Sweet inspiration

| 1 Comment

Being stuck with my foot up is giving me plenty of time to read, think and play with my tech, and this morning a combination of the three inspired this post!

I was pinning away on Pinterest when I came across this ‘Pin’

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 14.08.46

I followed the link and as I looked at the article, I started thinking “How could I use this?”

So I started making a list

1. Compare the sweets eaten in France and UK. Are they the same?

2. Look at the names of the sweets e.g. les bouteilles de Coca, les bonbons au caramel. Could you understand these names without seeing the pictures? Test it by giving learners the images and the words separately and see if they can match them. Or ask “Qu’est-ce que c’est ‘Bottle’ en français?”

3. Look at ordinal numbers “le bonbon en première position est…?” “Dans quelle position est la fraise Tagada?” “Quelle est le bonbon en huitième place?”

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 14.26.014. Discuss likes and dislikes – “Tu aimes les bouteilles de Coca?” ” Tu préfères les Dragibus ou les Chamallows?” “Quel bonbon aimes-tu?” Encourage use of connectives e.g. “Je n’aime pas le Reglisse mais j’aime beaucoup les Schtroumpf”,  “J’aime les Chamallows mais je préfère les bouteilles de Coca.”

5. Conduct a survey. You could use the French sweets or find out about the learners’ likes and dislikes by asking for example “Tu préfères quel bonbon?”

6. Make a bar graph of the results and discuss “Combien d’enfants aiment les bonbons au caramel?”

7. You could use the above graph to talk about plus / moins (more and less) “Les Schtroumpf sont plus ou moins populaires que le nounours à la guimauve?” “Quel est le bonbon plus populaire?”

8. Talk about the colours of the sweets. I also found these really colourful lollipops that would be good.lollies

Or you could use a packet of Smarties and count how many of each colour you get in each tube. (More opportunity to use plus/moins que)

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 15.16.55

9. Learners invent their own sweets! This could lead to recipes, labelling colours and shapes,  craft as they could make them out of clay/playdough, coloured paper, and even trying to sell them to their peers using persuasive language “Mes bonbons sont délicieux” “Oui, mais les sucettes sont plus savoureux” and so on10. And finally, as healthy lifestyles are important, perhaps linking sweets to thinks we should and shouldn’t eat, and foods that “bon pour la santé” Perhaps use a food triangle to add foods in the correct proportions with sweets at the very top! There are Spanish examples on my Pinterest Or you could make a poster  like this Spanish one  using Moins and Plus. And here are a few examples in French.

Click to download.Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 16.07.37 A collage of food.Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 16.05.31 This made me laugh!Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 16.05.15

 

I looked for a similar article in Spanish but couldn’t find one. However, I did find this video of Spanish sweets and chocolate

I also came across this article that gives a list (and description) of types of sweets in Spanish and information on how to start a sweet shop!

And this board – Postres y dulces de España – on Pinterest so check it’s not blocked in school before you rely on using it in your lesson! It shows an example of a pastry or sweet from many regions and cities of Spain. Mouthwatering!

Whilst I didn’t find the 10 most popular sweets in Spain, I found some dangerous ones – Los 21 dulces más peligrosos (from USA so I hadn’t heard of lots of the sweets) talks about the sugar/fat/carbohydrate content of various sweets as well as hidden nuts and so on, and also this article on Halloween sweets

And I did find some popular Mexican ‘dulces’ (not quite the same as it includes all sorts of sweet treats not just sweets/candy)

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 15.43.09 Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 15.43.20

5 dulces mexicanos más populares includes recipes as well as details of palanquetas, alegrías, glorias, ate and cocada.

And Los 10 dulces más típicos de México expands on the above giving some further examples of Mexican treats like cacahuetes garapiñados and mazapán.

So – what would YOU do? Please leave your ideas in the comments, or via Twitter @lisibo

Off to have dark chocolate Bounty now 😉 Délicieux!

 

Update!

I’ve made a PDF/PPT of the top ten French sweets-

Les top 10 bonbons PDF   Les top 10 bonbons PPT

 

Your ideas!

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 16.34.39

 

See slide 37 of Clare’s presentation for an idea of how she uses this site to support Maths skills.

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 16.35.46

 

 

And Erzsi replied too. I had to look up why she took in a Chupa Chup for Dalí so I learned something new too!

And my husband has just come back from Mexico with these!

photo

ALL Together

| Leave a comment

I received this message today from Linda Parker, Director of ALL (Association for Language Learning)

ALL together – let’s speak out about languages!

20-26 September 2010

The Association for Language Learning  would like to know about the issues which particularly concern you about the teaching and learning of languages and suggestions of things that should be done to tackle these.

At a time of change in the UK Government, ongoing political pressure from European sources, and internal pressures within our education system, it is relevant that ALL, the UK’s major association for language teachers, consult you, its members, about the matters that are most of concern and in need of attention.

Next week, beginning on Monday 20 September, ALL is asking members and language teachers everywhere to meet up anywhere, anytime – in the staff room, in your department, at home or in the pub – to think about ways in which language teaching and learning could be improved and promoted. And if you can’t find time to meet with others,  don’t let that stop you sending us your own views.

If the Government is serious about the Big Society, then we think it should be ready to hear what teachers have to say!

The consultation week will culminate on Saturday 25th September at the Annual General Meeting of the Association (Goethe Institut, London 10.30 – 12.30, see www.all-languages.org.uk for further details) where we will pull together the ideas that you’ve sent to us during the week and where we hope members within reach of London will join us to take the discussion further.

Here are a few ideas about the kinds of things you might like to talk about
Within the context of your own work and locality:
1. What is the achievement you would most like the media / public / decision-makers to know about?
2. What is your response to media statements such as “language teaching puts most people off learning a language” or “Languages considered least important subjects for children to learn at school” ?
3 What are the issues that worry you most?

4. How can we ensure that decision makers in education value language learning?

We’ll be adding more ideas to our website over the next week – see www.all-languages.org.uk

We’d like to hear from you in the week beginning Monday 20 September – every day we’ll update the website with views as they come in. There are a number of ways you can send us your thoughts:

We’ll make a final public statement, bringing together all your views, on the European Day of Languages, to be celebrated this year on Monday 27 September.

Let’s work together to make the voice of language teachers heard!

So, here I am passing the message on!

I’ll be tweeting no doubt!

Uploaded on November 21, 2009 by eyesplash Mikul

There has been much debate about the status of Primary Language Learning, beginning when the General Election process led to the rejection of The New Primary Curriculum being added to the Statute books.  Will the entitlement become statutory or will, heaven forbid, PLL be abandoned?

Forums have been buzzing with ideas opinions and worries.

Today, Kate Board, Chief Executive of CILT wrote the following letter to one such fora:-

Dear colleagues

In light of recent discussions on the forum, we thought it important to clarify the current status of languages at Key Stage 2.

Key Stage 2 languages do not currently have the legal status to become statutory in September 2011. However, the entitlement to learn a foreign language in Key Stage 2 still stands, having come into effect this year.

As many of you are aware, reforming the primary curriculum was one of the key provisions removed from the Children Schools and Families Bill during consideration of Lords Amendments in April 2010. The introduction of statutory languages in Key Stage 2 from September 2011 was part of the proposed new primary curriculum and therefore was also removed from the Bill. (For more information, please see the Children Schools and Families Bill

The future shape of the primary curriculum and the statutory status of languages will depend on the policies of the new government. CILT is in close contact with Baroness Coussins, and others in a position of influence through the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages, and we are very grateful to her for raising this issue so prominently. We will continue to work together to encourage this dialogue and to promote the further development of language teaching in the primary school.

Kind regards,

Kate Board

Chief Executive

CILT, the National Centre for Languages

As far as I’m concerned, I passionately believe in Primary Languages and will fight for the continuance of a policy that gives pupils the right and entitlement to learn other languages during their Primary years.

¡Vámonos! The musings of Lisibo ©2019. All Rights Reserved.
Powered by WordPress. Theme by Phoenix Web Solutions