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Last update: 27/05/2012


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Seating Plans


Target Language

Seating Plans

Can anyone recommend any software for creating seating plans ? At the moment I seem to be endlessly engaged with pencil and eraser, tryingto work out where best to seat my little darlings in the classroom where they will least distract their peers!

Yes, quite a problem! doubt there's any easy software, but perhaps someone will pick up on this!! Don;t know if this will help ...I just use a table in word, and roughly do the following:

put a cross on the seats which I'd rather not use (if class not full)... i.e. back row place 'Really naughty ones' near an aisle and nearer the front for easier, less confrontational exit! seat rest alphabetically and boy/girl Embolden the 'fairly naughties' and colour code pairs which must not be within mutual sight/reach Move them around until the pattern looks OK

For other jobs I do (e.g. reorganising teaching groups) I use a colour code where I use the highlighting tool for name -red = leader; orange = follower; blue = keep separate from someone else; green = vulnerable


19.06.06. HEM

Can anyone point me towards research published on the net which suggests that pupils do better in MFL when setted. particular reference to Year 9 would be helpful, but not essential. Many Thanks

As a manager in a school situation, research can be useful background as to to what 'might / should' be possible, but your main criterion for deciding which way to go I imagine would be the extent to which you can persuade your staff that it is the right decision. If you have staff who are reluctant about a decision, they are likely to be able to show you that the research is wrong! If they have carried out 'action research' and have come up with a conclusion, that's usually the most helpful for your situation I would suggest ... they have tried things out with the pupils, resources and expertise which they have.

I know I'm not being very helpful as far as your original question goes .. like Graham and Ewan, I've seen research for both .....and there was an HMI or OFSTED report which tended to favour setting (if you reallyneeded it I;m sure I could find it, but having looked for 10 minutes it is not to hand!), but that may be out of date now.

Whenever I've made decisions at school whether as HOD recommending to the SMT or as a member of SMT, they have been based on lots of factors, like the curriculum followed, skills of the teachers (both pedagogy and behavioural management), the availability of and access to resources, the general ability profiles of the pupils at the school, general behaviour, parental expectation, and what's going on in other subject areas. I don't think any factor can be taken in isolation, but I would suggest that behaviour is one of the really key factors for this particular debate .. and it could really go either way! I would say that whichever option gets you the best 'learning environment' is the best one!

Target Language

What shall I do if an OFSTED inspector downgrades my lesson because I have not used 100% Target Language?

06.07.2006. HEM

There seem to be 3 strands coming out of this interesting discussion ..

(1) Effective T&L:  is 100% target language the best way of getting effective T&L and pupil progress

(2) Ofsted expectations: (a) What does OFSTED expect to see with respect to Target Language (b)and how does the MFL Framework fit in to this)

(3) Ofsted definitions: what is the OFSTED definition of 'outstanding'?


With respect to the latter 2 ...


(2) (a)Ofsted's 'MFL in KS2, 3 and 4: A distance learning course for inspectors seems to give the context.


I've just quickly flicked through it, and pages 26 and 43 seem to be relevant.  I've copied the bit from p26 below. (It's long-ish).  100% is not expected.


(b) As far as the Framework is concerned, the guidance is very clear that the Framework is not compulsory and that lessons should only be judged the effectiveness of teaching and learning and pupils' progress.



Here's a good page from which you can download the varous documents relating to the most recent framework for inspection:


and here's the relevant bit for 'outstanding'



Outstanding (1) Teaching is at least good in all or nearly all respects and is exemplary in significant elements. As a result, learners thrive and make exceptionally good progress.




If an inspector says that the lesson has been downgraded because you  / your pupils have not sustained 100% TL, I think it would be worthwhile sharing these documents while asking some questions, e.g. ....


.... perhaps highlight from the guidance on use of TL 'The intended approach is pragmatic: what matters is that teaching is effective and that pupils make progress in their understanding and use of the foreign language' and ask the questions ..'was the teaching effective? did the pupils make progress?'


... perhaps highlight from the definition of 'outstanding' the word 'nearly', and note a realistic definition which does not expect perfection for 70 minutes of an observed lesson!

.. overall, focus on the judgement as to effective T&L and pupil progress, and don't get side-tracked into discussing the pros and cons of the different methods which could be used to reach the same end. 

End of reflections.  (For now!).


Helen Myers, MFL teacher & Assistant Head, The Ashcombe School, Dorking, Surrey


I have just completed my final round of observations for the year and I identified that old chestnut 'use of the target language' as an area for development!!  I feel that i've been round the block on this one and I personally feel that i've lost my impetus to us the TL as much as I can due to the fact that we only have 3 lessons per fortnight of French (with the expectation that we maintain results) as well as ensuring that the National Framework is fully implemented across the key stage.  Can anyone offer me any gems or nuggets of inspiration, (bearing in mind that we break up in 3 weeks!) or point me in the right direction as to how I can help my very hardworking department to increase use of TL?


I think I understand fully what you mean!  There are reasons why I feel that target language can cause us problems ...
- when you are trying to establish a friendly rapport with classes and may be you are not known to them outside the language class (it's nice to have a bit of banter every now and then, and that's not always as easy in the TL!)
- when you are giving instructions about what they have to do, and you want to keep the pace up in the lesson
- when they are anxious about not understanding what they have to do
- when you want to talk about the process of language learning
I'm not saying that target language is not an ideal to which I aspire .. I'm just being realistic about kids and teacher energy levels!
Ideas I've picked up from others have been
(a) to make sure that you teach the language of the classroom explicitly .. not just as something which pupils pick up,
(b) to set aside a particular part of the lesson for 'real' talk . pupils expressing what they really want to say .. making it really clear at which points of the lessons you would expect target language talk... they then keep a record of their own phrases
(c) set up a reward system specifically for pupils who produce their own sentences in the target language 'spontaneously'
Some time ago I posted some resources which I used for this on mflresources forum:
scroll down to French worksheets / then there are  3 sheets which may help: class language display + risque record + key phrases for pupil talk
Thanks for asking the question .. I'll try to refresh my own use of TL again!