Saturday, 25 September 2010

MFL Show and Tell, Saturday 13th November, 10-3pm The Radclyffe School, Oldham.

The idea of the MFL Show and Tell  is to give teachers an opportunity to share good practice on the teaching and learning of languages as well as the use of technology in the MFL classroom in a relaxed, informal environment. This will be the third event organised nationally after a first one in Coventry and a second one in Nottingham.
If you would like to come along as a speaker or attendee, please sign up by adding your name to the wiki and add your details to the page (click on edit, position your cursor in the text, type your details and save). It would be great if you could also say what you would like to talk about or what you would like other people talk about.

This event will be free as it is sponsored by ALL and Links into Languages.

Speakers so far (please volunteer as a speaker-you can just speak for 5-10 minutes)

Isabelle Jones, The Radclyffe School, My languages,Twitter: @icpjones
Mary Cooch, Our Lady's High Preston, Twitter:  
Joe Dale, independent ICT/MFL consultant, Integrating ICT into the MFL classroom Twitter: @joedale
Helena Butterfield, St. Michael's RC School, The Langwitch Chronicles, Twitter: @langwitch

Attendees (so far):
Isabelle Jones, The Radclyffe School, My languages,Twitter: @icpjones
Joe Dale, independent ICT/MFL consultant, Integrating ICT into the MFL classroom Twitter: @joedale
Mary Cooch, Our Lady's High Preston, Twitter:
Marie O'Sullivan, Levenshulme High School, Twitter: @reesiepie
Helena Butterfield, St. Michael's RC School, The Langwitch Chronicles, Twitter: @langwitch
Alex Bellars, Ballard School, Ballard LangBlog, Twitter: @bellaale
Esther Mercier, Longridge HS, twitter @atantot and maybe one teacher from the German exchange!
Saira Ghani, Chiltern Edge School, @sghani 
Nigel Yeo, The Radclyffe School, Oldham
Vanessa Parker, The Radclyffe School, Oldham
Fiona Joyce, Ian Ramsey Cof E (Languages College), Stockton-on-Tees, Twitter: @wizenedcrone
Kath Holton, Argoed High School, N Wales, @kath52
Nicola Pearson, Rochdale Sixth Form College, Twitter: @nicpearson
Samantha Lunn, Arnold School, Blackpool, @spanishsam, 
Pauline Sheaff, Bolton School Girls' Division,
Clare Seccombe, Sunderland LA, @valleseco , Changing Phase
Julia O'Brien, MFL Supply Teacher, Twitter: @Mlleob
Miriam Wall. Manchester Creative and Media Academy, Moston, Manchester,
Catherine Agrain, All Saints College, Dukinfield,
Celine Bauer, All Saints College, Dukinfield,

Topics of interest (so far):
New GCSE controlled assessments (speaking and writing)
Promotion of Languages
Managing the assessment of speaking skills at KS3
GCSE in year 9 successful or not experience and what course next ?

Monday, 20 September 2010

ALL Together For Languages: My Response

1. I would like the media and the decision-makers to move away from constant reports that we are not good at languages “as a nation”. Good linguistic role-models should be publicized more widely rather than make them look like the geeky exception. I find there is sometimes a snobbish attitude about monolingual people that makes you feel that, if you are making the effort to learn somebody else’s language, you are losing your Britishness and you are somewhat letting the side down… Monolinguism should be portrayed as an exception, not multilinguism. I feel there is also a lot to be done to educate the public so that they do not feel that teaching a child another language from a young age might “confuse” them or “hold them back”.

2. I find it incredible that despite the fact that so many of us are trying so hard to make our subject accessible and interesting, we are always hit by the argument that “language teaching puts most people off learning a language”. There are endless discussions about poor literacy and numeracy skills in the media but never any link with the teaching… I sometimes feel that this attitude is caused by some parents who are not aware of the sweeping changes that have occurred in the teaching of languages since they went to school and their bad memories are passed on to their children…

I cannot understand how languages are considered the least important in the curriculum when they overlap with so many key skills such as literacy and oracy. Then again, a serious information campaign is needed to get parents from all backgrounds to understand that languages are not just useful to order a drink whilst abroad… and to get rid of the “for middle class only” tag.

3. I am very worried that there is currently a very unequal access to studying a language in secondary schools. It seems that unless you are in a language college, where languages have the status of a core subject, the position of languages is far too vulnerable for such a strategically important subject. Some safeguards need to be offered by our government to ensure that studying a language is encouraged in ALL types of schools, as languages should be seen as a core skill. I am very excited at the prospect of an English “bacc” model of reporting exam results but I am also very worried that this would only take into account a GCSE, when it is clearly not an inclusive qualification.

4. Decision makers should reward schools who encourage ALL students to take some kind of qualifications in a foreign language, and not just a GCSE. Qualifications could be weighed but effort to study and take an examination in a language should be acknowledged and rewarded. If not studying a language cannot be used as a shortcut to better looking exam results for schools, there should be every incentive for senior teams in secondary schools to give languages the important place it deserves in the secondary curriculum.

Friday, 17 September 2010

ALL together - Let’s Speak Out About Languages!

20-26 September 2010

The Association for Language Learning (ALL) would like to know about the issues which particularly concern you about the teaching and learning of languages.

Next week, beginning on Monday 20 September, ALL is asking members and language teachers everywhere to think about ways in which language teaching and learning could be improved and promoted.

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 for further details) where we will pull together all the ideas sent to ALL during the week.

You might want to give your opinion about the following [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?

More ideas will be added to ALL website over the next week - see

ALL would like to hear from you in the week beginning Monday 20 September – every day the website will be updated with views as they come in.

There are a number of ways you can send ALL your thoughts:

• Email them to Steven Fawkes, ALL Membership Officer

• Use ALL Facebook page to share your views – go to , become a fan and add your comment to the ALL ‘consultation’ thread.

• If you fancy ‘tweeting’ instead follow ALL and send your views.

ALL will 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!