Happy New Year to you all. I hope you had an excellent Christmas and a promising start to the new year.
I’ve decided this should be a simple post about things I will try this term, starting next week. There are numerous aspects of teaching that I want to improve and various ideas that I want to try. All of it is aimed at trying to make my lessons the very best they can be. While inevitably some lessons will go better than others, I want the return in terms of learning to be high every lesson.
Here are 4 ideas I want to try in January:
1) Experiments with excellence
I’ve been reading a little about Ron Berger and his “ethic of excellence” and his insistence on feedback and how it can drive improvement. Whilst Berger teaches in a relatively unique setting I wonder if his ideas can be applied in an MFL classroom. My year 8 Spanish class will produce a postcard from a holiday but rather than it being a week long homework at the end of the topic, we will draft it over 2 weeks before they do a final version at the end of the topic.
2) Speaking/Translation tandem
Inspired by a Bristol colleague. Students have phrases on a sheet of A4 with alternating Spanish/English. They have to say what they think is the phrase and their partner can nudge them towards a correct version. It should have the effect of reinforcing grammar structures, raising translation as an activity (with the new GCSE in mind) and could work quite well. Probably will try it with year 7s or year 10s.
3) Insistence on TL
All students have phrases in their books they can use but I’m really going to push it this term. I want to see if we can get lessons where there is an 80/20% ratio of Spanish – English. To this end I plan to have 3 things in place:
i) A TL monitor – a student I trust who can monitor my TL usage and that of the class. They will have a traffic light card to indicate this. In lower years this will probably be referred to as the Spanish Sy
ii) TL phrases on wall – students need to use these in responding after a listening exercises or wherever possible.
iii) Rewards for students who use most TL, this will be monitored by my TL monitor.
4) Live marking
That is “live” in the sense of “in the moment” not live as in “live, breathe, eat, sleep marking.” I saw this suggested on another post. A teacher picks 8 students and aims to mark their books whilst the students are on a task of some description. The marking then finishes with a question relating to what he/she has seen and demands a response. Our students have to respond to our marking, this might be a way of encouraging it. They are more likely to respond if I am stood next to them marking their neighbours book. It might also be a way to reduce the marking load. We will see.