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Some notes from the sessions.

I have brought together some of the comments, notes and reflections from delegates to some of the 40+ sessions which were available over the two days.  Many thanks to those who have contributed.

2.3 So Motivating, you can't stop the students learning - Ewan McIntosh

Plenary: The Languages Review - a new beginning for languages post-14Lord Dearing Review - Lord Dearing & Dr Lid King

3.1 Integrating Storytelling with ICT to teach Primary Languages - Wendy Adeniji

3.5 Primary-Secondary transition: bringing pupils together (Elaine Minett) - The Strategic Classroom - 

Plenary: Expanding Horizons- David Graddol

4.1 DfES Panel Discussion - QCA Update - Chris Maynard

4.2 What's happening in the world of primary languages - Kati Szeless

5.1 Learning to use Language - Vincent Everett

5.3  E Creativity in Language Learning - Lesley Hagger-Vaughan,, Raj Bhogal, Carol Gray - Shireland City Learning Centre

5.4 - Primary pupils accessing MFL via videoconferencing, a European project Ana Neofitou

British Council e-twinning and other projects 

7.2 Death by Powerpoint?  Keep your finder on the Trigger - Joe Dale

7.4 'Discovering Language' in Primary School - Dr Amanda Barton, Peter Downes & Catherine White (Click to open PowerPoint)

Extracts from comments sent to the mflresources forum ...

A Personal Perspective from Prim.  (Oxford ALL member)

Extracts from a posting Prim Herridge sent to mflresources, a forum much frequented by ALL members ...

......It was such a great event and a brilliant opportunity to meet fellow forum members.... ... René and his charming colleague Jacqui were both there .....Our dinner at the Living Room was a great success.....

The conference itself was very useful. In particular Lord Dearing's review (did you all know that he was head of the Post Office at the same time as Alan Johnson was across the table from him and leading the union?!!) I think that the results of his findings will take a very short time to start to have an impact on us at the chalk face. We must ensure that there is a strategy put in place for this September as to which languages are being taught in our feeder schools and to what level or we are really going to face problems within the next few years. Children are either going to be very bored or out of their depth. Speaking personally, our approach is piecemeal with nobody in overall charge and it is obvious that it won' t work.

Chris Maynard was very useful in his résumé of the proposed changes to the curriculum. Keep an eye on this - they will make a big difference to us all.

I could not decide which sessions to attend - they all sounded so useful - and I wanted to be there today as well but could' t afford it. I finally decided on the Strategic Classroom - very thought provoking - and the session on transition from KS2 to KS3 and suggestions for the work that can be done by Year 10s in primary. It was just brilliant and I am certainly going to put some of her ideas in motion.

Once again - it was just lovely to meet you all. .....

The final word is that the conference is to take place next year (I heard from a very reliable source - René) in the same venue. I'm going to everything next time!

Loads of love to all and ALL. Have a wonderful and peaceful Easter... and don' t think about the pile of work you haven' t done.


Christine (aka Brightsmile!)


I would add that I had a wonderful time, it was really nice to meet you all, I found the fringe workshop very useful as it was down to earth, we actually practised some fun activities, I thought Pauline`s activity was great and I really enjoyed Steven`s demonstration of learning vocabulary with mimes and music. I liked the pragmatic approach, it was not all about theory. Thank you for your time, I would recommend the workshop to all of you and I can not wait to come back next year.

A bientot.


Lisa Stevens

Hi ALL (that was an accidental capitalisation but seems appropriate so I've left it!!)

I too had a great time in Oxford - dodging Morris dancers whilst searching for Boots in the town centre wasn't even close to the top of the highlights - although it was amusing!

I would echo the praise below of the breadth of content - it was certainly stimulating and very thought provoking - in fact, I've had to take myself out to mow the lawn to give my brain time to assimilate all the info..  I guess the acid test is how many of the ideas are implemented so time will tell....

and later ....!

I thought I'd see if I can offer a few snapshots of some of the seminars / presentations I attended at Language World.

Ewan McIntosh So motivating, you can't stop the students learning spoke about how our classroom practice needs to keep pace with our audience's experience.  He asked us to consider if a child spends 200 minutes a night on the Internet and a large proportion of that is on homework,  how much of it is on their Language homework?  Also, the average audience for a child's work is probably no more than 30 but can rise to hundreds and thousands with blogging and podcasting - he even suggested reverse projecting work onto the classroom window for waiting parents to see or onto a local monument for the town to see.  Ewan encouraged us to reconsider how we teach, but at no point did I feel condemned but rather inspired to give it a go.  I didn't realise that mere mortals could edit Wikipedia - but they can, and I have!  I will definitely be having a go at 5 frame stories with my classes and making some Playmobil photostories when I get the chance. 

Wendy Adeniji Integrating storytelling with ICT into Primary languages was also very informative.  Wendy explained why storytelling is so useful in ELL and showed examples of how traditional fairy tales might be used as well as how popular English stories like Mr Gumpy's Outing could be adapted into the TL.  She offered examples of PPT presentations that she had prepared based on tales using clipart available within Powerpoint, and also gave a quick tutorial on how you could DIY, including how to make a car zoom around the page.  Wendy also offered advice on how the IWB could be used in conjunction with the presentation, and also on the use of clipart within Smartboard and ActivStudio.  Again, many ideas I immediately wanted to put into action!

and later still ....

Hola otra vez

More about the sessions - can you tell I'm still really excited???!

Kati Szeless told us What's going on in Primary Languages? by inviting us to get on the 'PLL train' by accessing the Primary Languages website for advice and training - http://www.primaryl anguages. 
Kati took several of the concerns that people have about PLL (such as lack of time, the KS2 framework, progression, lack of language skills and being landed with the job of coordinator without much idea of where to start) and showed how this online resource might be used to calm those fears. Some hilarious moments ensued as we tried out Alphabet brain gym and sang 'Heads shoulders knees and toes' in Japanese as well as a catchy Spanish song involving body parts that culminated with bumping bottoms with your partner and dancing the twist!!   However, there was a serious message that here was somewhere to find some answers to questions, see short video clips to exemplify points and gain extra guidance, or just to back up what you thought.  As someone involved in PLL, I think it's a great resource - I would echo the concern that it needs to be in other languages asap (Currently French, Spanish, German and Japanese) but something is better than nothing!!!

Next I attended Primary pupils accessing MFL via videoconferencing, a European project - this session reported on  a project that involves Ana Neofitou, the HoD at Tile Hill Wood School and Language College in Coventry delivering language lessons via video conferencing to three local (2-4 miles away) primary schools as part of a European project called MustLearnIT.  It was fascinating to see how the project in the other 4 involved countries was aimed at delivering language teaching to geographically remote areas, but in the case of England it was to 'remote' areas in terms of skills.  Ana and her copresenters, Ann Barnes and Marilyn Hunt took us through the process of how it came about and also gave examples of typical lessons.  It was fascinating to consider how the methodogy differed from a 'normal' language lesson (is there such a thing??), and I certainly thought that having to sit still and not move from your seat whilst teaching would be a great challenge.  The class teacher stayed in the lesson so was learning alongside the children, and was therefore able to choose volunteers, manage the classroom, circulate whilst pairwork ensued and do all  the things that the videoconferencing teacher could not do from afar. They also reinforced the 20 minute input, warming up the class prior to the conference and completing tasks set by Ana to be done between lessons. I would have thought that teaching via videoconferencing might be somewhat impersonal but we were reassured that a rapport did build up between class and teacher.  All in all it seemed a great idea and something well worth looking at as a way of supporting Primary Language learning.  The project website to find out more is
and the website for the school is www.thw.coventry.

The two sessions run by the British Council in the lunchtime slots gave details about e-twinning and other projects they run such as Comenius, Leonardo, Erasmus, Grundtvig and 'transversal measures' such as Arion.  I must admit to have been flagging somewhat by this stage and I didn't take as many notes as usual, but both Liz Hitchcock and Paul Burrows promised to send us their presentations so that made me feel less guilty!  It was good to hear the pros and cons of these ventures from people who have participated and there was a presentation from a teacher at a multicultural Oxford school of her work with a quite wealthy school in France to produce Romeo and Juliet in French and English.  The pupils from the partner school were visiting this week and she had left them exploring Oxford to present!  It was fascinating to see the comments of the pupils involved and to consider the impact it had on both schools.

The last session I attended (apart from the Plenary and close!) was Death by Powerpoint - keep your finger on the trigger by Joe Dale. I have heard all about Joe's presentations and also read his highly insightful blog in awe of his skills, and had also managed to miss an opportunity to hear him speak at the Education Show so was looking forward to this session.  I wasn't disappointed by the presentation (although I was peeved to discover that I don't have a sufficiently up to date version of Powerpoint to use triggers!)  I won't go on about it as you can access the whole thing on Joe's blog http://www.joedale. but I was once more itching to have a go at some of the ideas he put to us.  Loads of very practical things like using control and p to turn the cursor into an pen, and the b key to make your screen go black.  I also liked  TWAG TWO (today we are going to work on) as a variation on WALT (we are learning to) and WILF (what I'm looking for)  Well worth staying awake to hear!

I found all the Plenary sessions intellectually challenging - and I liked that!  It's good to know that I still have a few brain cells left - although they were struggling to assimilate all the information at the time, they are now catching up and picking out ways in which the research presented can affect my teaching, my outlook and my attitude to language learning.

All in all, I had a great time - I even met a gentleman on the OUP stand who used to teach at the secondary school I attended (before I went there) - cue half an hour of reminiscing about the teachers some of whom are still there!

I deliberately sent this to the whole forum so that everyone who wants to read it can get a taste of what was happening and perhaps be inspired to look at the web references for themselves.

Thanks to all those who organised the event - I'll have to start working on my Head now to get funding for next year!!!

Lisa xx

Ann Pendray

I just wanted to say how much I appreciated meeting up with some of you folk. My priority now is to join ALL and save up for next year's conference cos i don't want to miss out on seminars again. Thanks Lisa for sharing about some of them.
I've just had a holiday session with one of my GCSE pupils who can't attend lessons in school (complicated story) and it was so good to see she had been accessing French websites about endangered species and sending questions off to word reference forum. She is determined to somehow pick up Spanish (we don't do it in our school so I may look for a course to do with her) and do two languages at A level. It was easier to be enthusiastic about sharing with her when I had come back from meeting with people who so unselfishly share their expertise.  The slow, relaxing blossom filled, daffodil -lined journey back to Liverpool through the Oxfordshire countryside helped as well! Thanks everyone.

Volker Green

Ref: Plenary - Expanding Horizons - David Graddol

If you want to read up on David's lecture on the importance of English and thus of other languages over the next 4 decades, have a look at his book which can be downloaded here: He did say that he couldn't publish his lecture notes but said that this book contains most of the info and graphs... Thank you very much, David, it was a very challenging yet inspiring lecture and I recommend the book to all linguists!

Jen Sutton

I loved every minute and came home on Cloud 9 I haven’t responded straight away because I needed time to think things through, but one of the highlights has not been mentioned yet, so I thought I would tell people who didn’t attend the session entitled: ECreativity in Language learning. This featured the work of Julie, who against veiled criticism carried on with a project to motivate her Y8 group by getting them to script and film rôle plays rather than try to get them to write wordy, misspelled essays on "Mi colegio" or equivalent. She uses iPods and other emerging technology like their mobile phones to produce the "film-lets" She was questioned (quite rightly) by the budget holders as to the need for such up to date equipment, but she stuck to her guns and fought for the kind of resources kids are used to and even have at home. These kids became immersed in their projects, had a lot of fun, were seldom off task and then chose to continue on with the subject at KS4. Not only that but their grades showed marked improvement. She brought the kids along with her on Saturday (that shows commitment for a start!) who spoke of how important it was to them, and using the modern technologies made it more fun and relevant, There was a point where I was moved to tears and silently became angry that we are constantly driven by cash instead of speaking to the kids in their own language in order to teach them ours. How dare we pretend that students’ education comes first but present it to them with outmoded equipment when outside the classroom they are used to hand held computers and a range of tools for modern communication. No wonder they think school is uninteresting. Well done Birmingham City Learning Centre, well done Julie and well done the students!


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