ALL London branch
Last update: 27/05/2012
Comments from people who attended and contributed to the 2006 January Event!
From Prim ... (member of mflresources -(writing to tell the forum what happened)
'congratulations' and 'well done' for the ALL meeting in London yesterday. ....
The morning was given over to two inspirational speakers - one who advocates teaching French through geography, and the other who has the awe-inspiring title of Teacher of the Year, described a school environment that most of us could only dream of.....
The committee of the London branch of ALL introduced themselves and proved to be extremely helpful in many ways. Between them, they know - or could find out - whatever anybody could possibly need to know about language teaching, trips, Comenius funding, Whiteboard info, partner schools... and much, much more. More important than their knowledge however, is the fact that they a re all so keen to share what they know, in order to make others' lives easier....
Well done Helen and the team - it was an excellent day. When another is organised, I strongly recommend that you attend if at all possible. It was well worth my early start from Banbury!
From Mona ...(member of mflresources)
I second what you said Prim (sorry we did not meet yesterday). It was an excellent day and I am looking forward to the next one.
Many thanks to Helen and the ALL team.
It was really successful and very enjoyable.
I really enjoyed yesterday - it was an honour to be invited and a pleasure to attend.
Fantastic day and great photos on the website! I felt really proud to be part of it. It makes all the effort worth while! Well done and thanks to all - and particular thanks to Helen, Claire and all the others who put so much work into it
Well done Kathleen and all at LRB!
Great turn out on sat. well done!
It was good to meet you Helen at an inspirational meeting! Well done to all
Congratulations on a very successful event. I found it very enjoyable and inspiring
Thank you very much for Saturday's event - it was first-class. As a school with a bilingual programme, I wish the whole department had been there! I look forward to the next event. Best wishes Duncan
From Kate (full article below!)
Yes wasn’t it fantastic! I have been raving all day about how great it was on Saturday.....I look forward to coming to other events.
From Foxinlondon (TES pseudonym!)
See you in June! I've been at your 'January Event', and it was great. So many teachers telling about their teaching experience with bright eyes!
Article for Francophonie, submitted by Kate Thomson.
ALL London Region Meeting 28th January 2006
A room full of language teachers awaited me, and I mean full. Even as Helen Myers did her opening greeting people were still coming in through the doors.
Neil Jones, from the Elliott School Putney, kicked off the proceedings with his presentation "Engaging Topics for Language Learners". At his school languages are taught through other subjects thus reinforcing another subject as well as the language being taught. Neil gave us examples of how they teach French through Geography, an idea that makes perfect sense considering the topics and language that we teach at key stage 3; countries, places in town, weather, transport, time. The approach to language teaching at the Elliott School comes through CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Teaching) and rests on the principles of content, communication, cognition and culture. This really struck a chord with me, the teaching of languages through interesting content so that there is a secondary purpose to the words and concepts being taught. All too often you can begin to wonder when pupils will actually use the language you are teaching them. In this school French lessons compliment or shadow the teaching in Geography lessons, enhancing pupil understanding of Geography whilst improving their language skills. Neil’s colourful power point presentation took us through the development of the language from French and Geography basics in year 6 through to the comparison and discussion of cultures in Key Stage 4 citizenship lessons. This final section grabbed my attention being a Hispanist, as the examples given were in Spanish looking at civil liberties in Spain.
Neil also talked about the many exchanges that he has participated in, including a trip organised by LECT (League for the Exchange of Commonwealth Teachers) to Canada to witness immersion teaching in action. Neil added that foreign trips are called Field Trips to make the link again with Geography.
The Elliott School have links with a partner school in Burkina Faso which Neil has visited with some of his pupils. Life in Burkina Faso can then be compared directly to life in Putney.
Neil’s talk was peppered with useful ideas that could be used immediately in our own classrooms. He mentioned a number of different materials that he uses including a French television programme called "C’est pas sorcier" written and developed for French children but equally useful in his classroom when explaining geographical concepts.
After a short break the London Branch committee introduced themselves. It was useful to put faces to names and hear some of their tips for language teaching.
In the second presentation Mike Ullmann ‘Teacher of the Year’ and Head of Languages at the Hockerill Anglo European College, talked about successful practice at his school. His passion is the use of target language in the classroom; teachers and pupils communicating at all times, even joking, in the target language. This 100 percent use of target language then prepares his students for the numerous trips and exchanges that are organised every year with their partner schools (an average of 17 trips and exchanges every year)
Mike gave a number of tips to aid use of the target language; using cognates, mime, flashcards, and models from students who do understand an activity. Mike pointed out that, perhaps surprisingly, native speakers are those who need the greatest guidance in 100 percent target language.
At Hockerill pupils are encouraged to study two or three languages in Key Stage 4, including French, German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese. Many of the pupils are "fast tracked" and complete their GCSE in year 9, other groups then complete GCSE in year 10 thus enabling pupils to move on to study AS and A2 languages in year 10 and 11.
Again a bilingual approach is used to teach other subjects at Hockerill. Much of the History and Geography syllabus is taught through French or German. Within the bilingual section of the school there is a commitment to using the target language in class as well as authentic materials (exercise books from France and Germany, books and DVDs)
It is perhaps no surprise then that all students in the 6th form follow the International Baccalaureate Programme. It is a natural transition from the languages and subjects learnt lower down the school.
Personally the two presentations did feel, at times, a little remote compared to my own experience in the classroom. But there were ideas that I could take away and use myself. The use of 100 percent target language has been debated at length, but when you see the results of commitment to immersion teaching it is hard to argue otherwise. Both Neil Jones and Mike Ullmann stressed that where they have taught other subjects through the target language there has been improvement not only in the language but also the understanding of the other subject studied.
Following the presentations we were invited to contribute to the AGM with the committee. Meetings like this of like minded enthusiastic teachers I see as being really important for my own sanity, especially in a time when languages have been made optional and as teachers we seem to be fighting an uphill battle with school management to get our subject recognised in terms of what it has to offer. The presentations reminded me that some fantastic work is taking place around the country and pupils are still being inspired and encouraged to take languages to a higher level.
KATE THOMSON, LEAD TEACHER OF SPANISH, THE HEATHCOTE SCHOOL, STEVENAGE