Skip to main content

#MFLTwitterati Podcast






Well, this is some exciting news for language teachers! Joe Dale is launching the brand new #MFLTwitterati Podcast! sponsored by Linguascope. Joe's been working for months putting together the first installment of the series, with considerable help and enthusiasm from American teacher Noah Geisel.

On the site Joe writes:

"The podcast is aimed at anyone interested in language education at all levels, as well as fans of EdTech and is divided into specific sections. We begin with the radar section where Noah and I talk about an idea, resource or new app or web tool update which has particularly caught our eye recently. Then comes the #mfltwitterati takeaways where Noah and I discuss tweets tagged with the #mfltwitterati hashtag that have particularly resonated with us. Next, we have the MFL show and tell section where members of the #mfltwitterati describe a class activity they have found to be effective or an event they have attended. Following that is the techtalk interview where Noah and I speak to a language educator about how they are integrating tech into their practice and we unpack some of their tips and tricks."

Having had a sneak preview I can tell you that you'll hear a wide variety of voices and practical MFL classroom ideas, with input from lots of teachers on the front line. I would certainly give it a listen and consider contributing to future editions.

I'm sure you'd agree Joe deserves huge credit for all the help he offers to teachers around the world, especially when it comes to digital technology. He's been at the forefront of online networking between teachers around the world for a good few years.

So one thing I particularly like about this initiative is the fact that it crosses borders. We tend to be very parochial in teaching, paying little attention to what's happening in other countries. This podcast, along with other initiatives such as the GILT Facebook page (Global Innovative Language Teachers), contributes to a wider, more eclectic perspective on language teaching.

I hope it goes on to be widely listened and contributed to. If you want to sign up go here:

The address is https://mfltwitteratipodcast.com/

Listen to the welcome message here.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The latest research on teaching vocabulary

I've been dipping into The Routledge Handbook of Instructed Second Language Acquisition (2017) edited by Loewen and Sato. This blog is a succinct summary of Chapter 16 by Beatriz González-Fernández and Norbert Schmitt on the topic of teaching vocabulary. I hope you find it useful.

1.  Background

The authors begin by outlining the clear importance of vocabulary knowledge in language acquisition, stating that it's a key predictor of overall language proficiency (e.g. Alderson, 2007). Students often say that their lack of vocabulary is the main reason for their difficulty understanding and using the language (e.g. Nation, 2012). Historically vocabulary has been neglected when compared to grammar, notably in the grammar-translation and audio-lingual traditions as well as  communicative language teaching.

(My note: this is also true, to an extent, of the oral-situational approach which I was trained in where most vocabulary is learned incidentally as part of question-answer sequence…

Delayed dictation

What is “delayed dictation”?

Instead of getting students to transcribe immediately what you say, or what a partner says, you can enforce a 10 second delay so that students have to keep running over in their heads what they have heard. Some teachers have even used the delay time to try to distract students with music.

It’s an added challenge for students but has significant value, I think. It reminds me of a phenomenon in music called audiation. I use it frequently as a singer and I bet you do too.

Audiation is thought to be the foundation of musicianship. It takes place when we hear and comprehend music for which the sound is no longer or may never have been present. You can audiate when listening to music, performing from notation, playing “by ear,” improvising, composing, or notating music. When we have a song going round in our mind we are audiating. When we are deliberately learning a song we are audiating.

In our language teaching case, though, the earworm is a word, chunk of l…

Designing a plan to improve listening skills

Read many books and articles about listening and you’ll see it described as the forgotten skill. It certainly seems to be the one which causes anxiety for both teachers and students. The reasons are clear: you only get a very few chances to hear the material, exercises feel like tests and listening is, well, hard. Just think of the complex processes involved: segmenting the sound stream, knowing lots of words and phrases, using grammatical knowledge to make meaning, coping with a new sound system and more. Add to this the fact that in England they have recently decided to make listening tests harder (too hard) and many teachers are wondering what else they can do to help their classes.

For students to become good listeners takes lots of time and practice, so there are no quick fixes. However, I’m going to suggest, very concisely, what principles could be the basis of an overall plan of action. These could be the basis of a useful departmental discussion or day-to-day chats about meth…

Responsive teaching

Dylan Wiliam, the academic most associated with Assessment for Learning (AfL), aka formative assessment, has stated that these labels have not been the most helpful to teachers. He believes that they have been partly responsible for poor implementation of AfL and the fact that AfL has not led to the improved outcomes originally intended.

Wiliam wrote on Twitter in 2013:

“Example of really big mistake: calling formative assessment formative assessment rather than something like "responsive teaching".”

For the record he subsequently added:

“The point I was making—years ago now—is that it would have been much easier if we had called formative assessment "responsive teaching". However, I now realize that this wouldn't have helped since it would have given many people the idea that it was all about the teacher's role.”

I suspect he’s right about the appellation and its consequences. As a teacher I found it hard to get my head around the terms AfL and formative assess…

Five great advanced level French listening sites

If your A-level students would like opportunities to practise listening there are plenty of sources you can recommend for accessible, largely comprehensible and interesting material. Here are some I have come across while searching for resources over recent years.

Daily Geek Show

I love this site. It's fresh, youthful and full of really interesting material. They have an archive of videos, both short and long, from various sources, grouped under a range of themes: insolite (weird news items), science, discovery, technology, ecology and lifestyle. There should be something there to interest all your students while adding to their broader education. Here is one I enjoyed (I shall seriously think about buying tomatoes in winter now):




France Bienvenue

This site has been around for years and is the work of a university team in Marseilles. You get a mixture of audio and video material complete with transcripts and explanations.This is much more about the personal lives of the students …