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Chris Lowe's "stretch and challenge" idea

Chris teachers at an independent school in north-west London and my attention was drawn to an excellent idea he has had for stretching the most able students in his school.

Here is his blog together with the resources needed.

http://chrislowemfl.wordpress.com

He has provided a menu of challenges for students from Y9 to Y13. The focus of these challenges is on cultural awareness, or intercultural understanding, if you prefer that term. Students may choose from the list for their year group, produce a well-documented project in English and present it for evaluation. As they complete each task they get a stamp on their Costa coffee-style reward card. When they get five stamps they receive a special Headteacher's award. I suppose alternatives to that might be house points or certificates, depending on what reward system your school has in place.

Here are some examples of the challenges for Y10 pupils:

1. Is the Eiffel Tower a cultural icon?
2. Is there a reason why romance is so often attributed to Paris?
3. To what extent are French stereotypes true?
4. Is France a centre of culinary excellence?
5. Create a profile of a Francophone country.
6. To what extent is it easy to travel to France from London?

They are clearly challenging topics, but within the range of some students. By the way, these tasks are not limited to a chosen few - all students are entitled to try them.

I like this idea very much. If teachers preferred the challenges to be focused on language rather than culture it would be easy to come up with suitable ideas. For good to excellent Y10s they might do a recorded speaking task, or a writing task, on topics such as these:

1. Interview avec un Français/une Française (e.g. a language assistant, teacher or other French speaker)
2. Mon journal oral/écrit de la semaine.
3. Le journal de mon échange/ma visite en France.
4. Le portrait d'un personnage que j'admire (sport, cinéma, personnage historique, musicien etc)
5. Compte-rendu d'un film français que j'ai vu.
6. Création d'un blog avec au moins cinq billets de blog.

Check out Chris's blog at the address above for the complete list of tasks and his Costa reward card.


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