Skip to main content

The new KS2/3 MFL curriculum

The KS2/3 MFL curriculum was published this morning after a consultation period.

The key document is here. See page 213 onwards.

Clare Seccombe has done a summary of some key issues

The only significant change to the document I summarised and commented on here is that there will be a free choice of modern or ancient language at KS2 and a free choice of modern language at KS3. This seems to be in response to criticism that the original draft may have been unfair to non-native English speakers, minority languages and other modern languages which had not featured in the original list of seven. It remains a curiosity that ancient languages are acceptable at KS2, but not KS3. I would have been happier to see them out of the equation completely as they usually occupy a place in the timetable where children could be learning a modern language.

So, in essence, we still have a slim document, short on content (in striking contrast to the "pub quiz" style lists of other subjects) and effectively laying out the type of activities children would be expected to carry out. At KS2 children will be expected to write more and have a more sophisticated grasp of grammar. KS3 should build on the foundations of KS2; considerable local cooperation will be needed for this to happen. Will it? At KS3 references to grammar and topics are broad brush, but the references to literary texts, letters, poems, songs and culture are welcome. Current topics can be too dry and functional. Ultimately, the new GCSE examination will dictate what teachers do. Expect a big backwash effect, but little fundamental change in the content of courses, apart from the end of controlled assessments.

There remains the peculiar Govian reference to "great literature" (but not, for example, film). This will be sensibly ignored by teachers. There also remain the references to translation into and from the target language, which I consider to be an unnecessary, ideological inclusion which is too prescriptive for teachers. I thought that teachers were not going to be told how to teach, but I was apparently wrong. It has also been pointed out that there is almost no reference to intercultural understanding at KS2 - this seems like a serious omission which should have been addressed.

But these are details. The most fundamental point is surely that the national curriculum now enshrines the place of modern languages at KS2. Even though over half of publicly funded secondary schools, almost all primaries and all independents can choose to ignore the national curriculum (a totally bizarre state of affairs), it is likely that primary schools will, by hook or by crook - and certainly not with any financial help to train teachers or supply resources -  implement or enhance provision of languages. It will occupy a small amount of curriculum time and be a success where teachers are skilled and motivated, a reluctant duty elsewhere.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What teachers are saying about The Language Teacher Toolkit

"The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence." (Ernesto Macaro, Oxford University Department of Education)

"I absolutely love this book based on research and full of activities..  The best manual I've read so far. One of our PDs from the Australian Board of Studies recommended your book as an excellent resource.  I look forward to the conference here in Sydney." Michela Pezzi, Teacher, Australia, Facebook)

"Finally, a book for World Language teachers that provides practical ideas and strategies that can actually be used in the classroom, rather than dry rhetoric and theory that does little to inspire creativity in ways that are engaging for both students and teachers alike." (USA teacher, Amazon review)

New GCSE resources on frenchteacher

As well as writing resources for the new A-levels, I have in recent months been posting a good range of materials to support the new GCSEs. First exams are not until 2018, but here is what you can find on the site in addition to the many other resources (grammar exercises, texts, video listening etc).

I shall not produce vocabulary lists since the exam board specifications now offer these, with translations.

Foundation Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Role-plays
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (2)
100 translation sentences into French (with answers)
Reading exam
Reading exam (2)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (Word)

Higher Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier)
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier) (2)
20 translations into French (with answers)
Reading exam (Higher tier)
How to write a good Higher Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a…

5 great zero preparation lesson ideas

When the pressure is on and there are only so many hours on the week, you need a repertoire of zero preparation go-to activities which promote input and/or practice. Here are five you might well find useful.

1. My weekend

We know that listening is the most important yet often neglected skill for language learning. It's also something some pupils find hard to do. To develop listening skill and provide tailored comprehensible input try this:

You tell the class you are going to recount what you did last weekend and that they have to make notes in English. The amount of detail you go into and the speed you go will depend on your class. Talk for about three minutes. If you spent the whole weekend marking, you can always make stuff up!

You then make some true or false (maybe not mentioned too) statements in the target language about what you said in your account. Class gives hands up (or no hands up) answers. This can then lead into a simple pair work task where pupils make up their own tru…

Three AQA A-level courses compared

I've put together my three reviews of worthy A-level courses which you might be considering for next September. They are all very useful courses, but with significant differences. The traditional Hodder and OUP book-based courses differ in that the former comes in one chunky two year book, whilst OUP's comes in two parts, the first for AS or the first year of an A-level course. The Attitudes16 course by Steve Glover and Nathalie Kaddouri is based on an online platform from which you would download worksheets and share a logon with studenst who would do the interactive parts (Textivate and video work). The two text books are supported by interactive material (Kerboodle) or an e-text book.

Attitudes16





An excellent resource which should be competing for your attention at the moment is the Attitudes16 course which writers Steve Glover and Nathalie Kaddouri have been working on for some time. You can find it here at dolanguages.com, along with his excellent resources for film and li…

The Language Teacher Toolkit review

We were delighted to receive a review of The Language Teacher Toolkit from eminent applied linguist Ernesto Macaro from Oxford University. Macaro is a leader in the field of second language acquisition and applied linguistics. His main research interests are teacher-student interaction and language learning strategies pupils can use to improve their progress.

Here is Professor Macaro's review:
The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence. So for example the ‘methodological principles’ on page 11 are supported by the research they then refer to later in the book and this approach is very similar to the one that we (Ernesto Macaro, Suzanne Graham, Robert Woore) have adopted in our ‘consortium project’(http://pdcinmfl.com). The point i…