It’s almost here. Regardless of the fact that 3 out of 4 exam boards are yet to have their specifications approved by OFQUAL, we have to begin teaching towards it in September. I’ve been thinking about how to prepare my year 9 learners for what is coming, in terms of topics and skills. Here are some things I have tried out:
Modalverben – regular drilling.
German teachers will be familiar with modal verbs. They are 6 most common verbs and are combined with an infinitive The same can be done in Spanish but there will just be more of them and they take different forms. I want my students to be completely proficient with these most common verbs so that they can use them spontaneously with infinitives. If you had 10 minutes to prepare for an exam, having a mental arsenal that contains
I have to / I like / I should / I want to / I can etc along with some infinitives, should be useful to them. We have been having regular sentence making drills on mini-whiteboards. Over time I have added in some opinion and reason phrases. If you are in doubt about whether drilling is effective then the video below is
I found the old roleplay cards and we will be using them in the coming weeks. If you don’t have them then there are some specimen papers on the exam-board websites. Those can be used and adapted. Rather than writing a section, I will refer you to a previous blog. A recent post on Frenchteacher also is worth a read. Do your students know enough multi-purpose transactional vocabulary?
Students are going to have to be a lot better at generating language spontaneously. Yes they can be drilled in rubric, roleplays and discussion but there is a greater emphasis on producing the language unaided. With TL rubrics in the speaking elements, this could be even harder. Rachel Hawkes has some worthwhile suggestions here. She also has a Phd so I will leave it in her capable hands.
Speaking from pictures.
Rachel Hawkes illustrated this brilliantly on a recent course I went on. It is about encouraging learners to use what they have learnt. It does not matter if they cannot say what they want to say. The question is what can they say?
What might a year 7/8/9 be able to do with the following picture?
- Es una fiesta. Hay un elefante. Me gustan las fiestas.
- Creo que es una celebración porque hay mucha gente.
Equally with this you can get the students to predict the questions that might be asked.
I’m borrowing from AQA here.
- Social media
- Mobile technology
- Customs and festivals in TL speaking countries
- Charity/voluntary work
This looks more interesting than “self, family and friends”. The hard bit is working out how these might be examined. How can we teach them and make them accessible? See the table below:
|Topic from AQA||How it could be examined||Implications for teaching practice|
|Marriage/partnerships||Speaking – discussion or picture
Writing – essay or translation question
|Students need to be able to give
their opinions on this topic.
Discuss with RE department to
ascertain prior knowledge, stumbling blocks and
|Social Media||Speaking – do you think it is a good thing?
Listening – text about someone who uses
Reading – text about social media
Writing – essay or translation question
|Need to teach a variety of multipurpose
vocabulary as the range is so wide. Students
need to be able to give opinions on it, use
frequency adverbs and explain why it is a good
or bad thing.
|Customs and Festivals||Speaking – is celebrating things important?
Listening – report about an event
Reading – text about an event
Writing – less likely, possible translation
|Teach major festivals at various points of the year.
Day of the dead, san fermin, la tomatina, las fallas.
Students will need a cursory knowledge of the well-
|Charity/volunteer work||Speaking – should young people do it?
Listening – account of someone’s job
Reading – account of someone’s job, charity
Writing – should young people do it?
|Teach students phrases to structure arguments and
create extended responses.
Reading – text on developing world
|Echo 3 and Mira 3 do a bit of this. Discuss with
geography, is there a case-study or unit of work that
you can link this too.