Tuesday, 23 March 2010

ALL West of England Branch conference Saturday 6 March 2010

Teachers are real gluttons for punishment, tipping out on a Saturday morning for CPD, but it was a great morning and lovely to see new faces and stalwart ALL committee members still carrying the flag for MFL.

Key Note address was given by Wendy Adeniji, consultant, teacher, "Regional Co-ordinator for dissemination of the New Modern languages Secondary Curriculum," general MFL mover and shaker.
Wendy knows the importance of being a realist and that was a most welcome introduction to the day. Any speaker tackling the renewed KS3 Framework has to be brave enough to take on the grumpy and over-worked like me and I enjoyed Wendy's Keynote speech very much.

Wendy focused on effective KS2-3 transition, aiming to provide coherence and progression, all with a dash of her key theme - "Teaching the usual in an unusual way " - the strap line from one of her websites, link here.

Main points of the new Framework were most helpfully summarised for us and we came away with simple ideas to integrate into SOWs straightaway and some publicity for ilanguages' really good SOW for the whole of Yr7 - I have sent for one of Wendy's sample CDs to try out a few lessons.

Wendy gave us a quick review of her take on covering new KS3 Framework in unusual ways.

1. Using songs for Linguistic progression - teach the grammar for finding je forms from the infinitive - Wendy used Lorie, Abba for -er or ir verb endings and Henri Dès' Polysong for teaching sound/spelling link.
2. Lovely idea for Vokis - get the year 7s to record who they are but then add the twist of saying j'ai les cheveux bruns mais je voudrais les cheveux raides et blonds. - Neat.
3. Wednesday is Wendy's midweek challenge day - She showed us some superb work on Fairtrade ideas with yr7 using Ethletic Fairtrade footballs - take a look at jeujouethique.com website and eco-sapiens.com. Wendy and her co-writers have used the ethical idea to give Year 7 work on sports a novel tweek. Her material was superb.
4. As Thinking skills are so highly promoted in the renewed framework, Wendy reminded us of "Thinking through MFL" by Sheryl Mackay & Mei Lin and demonstrated some materials which test pupils ability to identify facts from opinions for example. Unit 11 of the renewed Framework was brought to our attention again - I really appreciate the push to engage with the material!
5. Using the web to flash up front covers of teen mags in French or German etc will test ability to read and decipher meaning fast. Try "Jeune et jolie" for French or "Mädchen" for German. Realia has never been so accessible.
6. Exploiting poems for reading and creative writing.
7. Intercultural Understanding is of course now a huge part of KS2 and KS3 work but if you lack the resources or inspiration, then look no further than Wendy's ready-made materials. Stunning use of pictures of families' food for discussion, comparison and sobering reflection - how much do they get to eat in Togo etc?? I also loved the use of Amadou and Mariam's hit "Quelle heure est-il à Bamako" and video clips about Fast foods in Senegal - all for Year 7!
8. KAL - Knowledge about Language. Wendy and her co-authors have put in a lot of language awareness materials at the start of their Yr7 SOW, some of it based on Latin for example and also on the 100 most important words in English, French, whatever - I was very impressed by the snippets she showed us and felt inspired to investigate further.

Altogether a great opening to a day of learning and I have been reading Wendy's sites since, gleaning ideas and materials for next year. Her stand-alone modules on Chocolate, Fairtrade, Art for example are going to be life-savers...

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