[<a href="//storify.com/JanetLloydnet/keeping-the-primary-in-language-learning" target="_blank">View the story "Keeping the Primary in language learning " on Storify</a>]
- First and foremost the importance of networking and working together and having strategic direction to support us.
- We have networks within networks but they are all held together and moving forward. We are fortunate enough for example to have networks of language learning teachers, networks of subject coordinators, some cluster networks,associate language assistant and teacher networks and schools.....
- Teachers need to meet , to share ,to listen , to learn . Yesterday demonstrated this so clearly.Emails this morning say how great it was to go away with practical ideas, to have taken a different look at an area that already exists in school or is a new challenge and to have met familiar faces and new friends.
- There is a great deal of good practice and knowledge out there around primary language learning that when it comes together in one place can allow everyone to see the bigger picture.
- The power of social media to share with colleagues who couldn't be at the event but can take a close look at the event and follow the strands of the conference back in school
- Teachers take ideas and make them their own- again this morning the emails say that teachers are thinking of ways to use Clare's mini-books, are already trying out Julie's phonics ideas, want to share with their class Emilie's two selected APPs for speaking and have practised Joanne's warm up greeting song in French, Spanish and tried to put it in German!
- Song ,games and short burst activities keep all the children engaged and allow us to practise and revisit familiar language and build children's language knowledge.
- Songs are engaging for all ages and stages. It's what,how and why you use them in your lessons that matters.Delivery , joining in and performance bring them to life and make them stay in the memory!
- Phonics play a huge role in the development of both children and staff's confidence to be able t work with an unfamiliar target language
- Phonics should be a shared learning approach throughout KS2 and also in our schools where we teach languages in KS1
- Phonics is a one of the major keys to unlocking the reading code of a target language and helping to solve the mystery of |"I am no good at languages!"amongst teachers and children
- Physicality in learning and the use of drama and mime allow children to operate in a target language beyond repetition for repetition's sake
- Time to try, talk and share is paramount to disseminating good practice
- Teachers do focus on reading and writing and should b be encouraged to look for creative ways to read and write and this is not always reading authentic literature or writing the word down
- Creative written outcomes such as mini books lend themselves to whole class activities ,imaginative use of simple target language sentences and a focus by each individual child on basic grammar
- Teachers and children love story books that are engaging with great graphics ,well designed, have purpose,link to the learning content and contexts, lead to creative outcomes and can be read again and again!The raffle prizes had purpose below .. as each book links to a context and content that teachers will plan to teach next year and guess what they can share their teaching and learning at a Spring network meeting!
- APPs can make a difference to children's accuracy in speaking and writing, when they are chosen for a real and specific reason and the outcome is a quality product that can be shared and revisited. APPs can support teachers to encourage children to maximise potential in a target language.
- Using clips that are available to us on the internet to bring a city or a place to life for the children such as Emilie's virtual tour of Paris, add interest and purpose and a deepening understanding of the target language country at an age appropriate level.
- Yesterday at the conference there were colleagues who speak a foreign language well , are native speakers , have a degree in languages,were trained as specialist primary languages teachers, have an interest in languages,are keen to promote languages in their own schools, are improving their own language,identify their own strengths and weaknesses in a foreign language
- Each colleague was there because s/he has an identified role in school to deliver effective primary languages. Each of them was engaged, looking for own next steps, found support from colleagues, engaged in healthy debate about best next steps and left the conference with a positive next step in mind.
- Primary languages is about engaging the whole community of learners no matter what level or experience they have in language learning and allowing individuals to thrive with as much support as they need to do so.
- Networks within networks, support for everyone,clear goals and achievable next steps all come to my mind .... helping everyone to feel that they can be part of and contribute to the agenda and providing them with the building blocks to succeed.
Meet Kate !
I met Kate as she changed career. She had a degree in languages and the ability to speak fluent French and Spanish. Kate decided to become a primary school teacher and her background in English and Drama helped too in making this decision.
At the time I was the languages consultant for Warrington LA , but our paths had crossed before as she had attended the same High School where had taught French and German, from where I took groups of A Level language students out to the local cluster schools to develop drama and primary language workshops .Like myself Kate had always loved Drama and made the natural links between languages and performance.She wanted to train as a primary teacher with a languages specialism - but wanted to be sure first .
So for one year in 2006 -7 Kate worked for the Language Assistant Programme in 5 different primary schools in Warrington with myself .To this day I remember her skeleton rap with Year 5 in French and we still use Kate's culture and counting power point! A year later she trained to be a primary school teacher.
Since then our paths have crossed at local support group meetings and at our local conferences. Kate found a job in a school where language had a good profile and an excellent MFL Coordinator Mel Cowap(also with a primary languages specialism PGCE as her training).
Now meet Mel!
Mel encourages staff to participate,has set up a meaningful programme of study filled with wonderful ideas and resources and goes out of her way to find ways of linking language learning across the curriculum.Just before Kate joined the school I accompanied a group of Primary Heads to Dijon on a Headteacher to Headteacher link ,set up by the British Council .The school established a link with a primary school and have really pursued this link- important if you want to keep it alive.In the first year they did a playground to playground comparison for example.
A year ago I sat down with Mel to discuss the visit from French primary children from Dijon to the Warrington Primary school. She had set up a treasure hunt round school for all the Year 5 and 6 French and English children and was in the process of going through letters of application from the Year 6 children to be guides and buddies for the day for the group of visiting Dijon children. Mel has been on maternity leave this year and Kate has overseen the languages. I love the joined up thinking and the strategic approach to developing languages.Indeed this is a school where all those years ago (between 1998 and 2002) I took sixth formers to develop hands on drama and languages workshops in French and German!
So now we have come full circle. Kate has a little boy and works part time. She also works with ourselves once again as well ,one afternoon a week. Mel is back at work and will be at our conference with Kate next week! Their passion is most definitely primary languages but they are first and foremost primary classroom practitioners at Broomfields CP School.
At the weekend I sent out an email to ask my associate colleagues to consider areas of progression in primary language learning . You can read about this here.
Kate's response was about her own Year 4 class at Broomfields CP that she works with all year round as a primary class teacher job share. She delivers their French language learning too. When I read what she wrote I decided that this was a message for my blog. The children are making progress with the class teacher that they trust.The progress is in place and Mel( the coordinator at the school) has put in to place a system of learning that guides this. Kate has implemented and encouraged the progress this year and the children in her own class are making very good progress.Remember that the progress they make is based around singing , games, drama, story, creative work across all four skills and as e can read the children are making simple progress in their understanding of grammar and their knowledge of France via their link with Dijon!
This is what she says:
- support I received from line managers to go out and trial primary languages and drama,
- support the primary heads gave me with the drama project,
- support I received when I became a languages consultant
- support that Kate received as she went in to local primary schools to be a language assistants
- support of Mel for Kate and Kate for Mel
- support for a training teacher, to see and feel what primary languages can really look like
- support of a network and the individual links schools and teachers can make with each other
And Broomfields CP went on a virtual tour to the Winter Olympics practising their French and learning some Italian on the way! At the end of the virtual tour they received their own gold medals too!
The verb être
— Emilie Woodroffe (@EWoodroffe) April 24, 2014
Town investigations with young learners
Lis from St Ann’s CE and Mandy from Stockton Heath CP talked about the town and how they created their two sequences of lessons based on shops in the town and directions.