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Showing posts from October, 2022

5 ways to do choral repetition

I imagine most of you use choral repetition, especially with beginners or near beginners. There are good reasons for doing so. Students listen carefully, briefly process what they hear, repeat and get used to using their motor skills to produce different sounds, syllables and words in an unthreatening way without having to perform in front of their peers or a partner. It helps, of course, if the class knows what the material being repeated actually means! It is a handy controlling device for teachers who may feel insecure about class control too; when a class is all repeating in unison there isn't much opportunity to do anything else off task. Teachers also get instant feedback on whether the class is having difficulty pronouncing tricky sounds. Choral repetition can be based on flashcards, flashcards with text, text on the board, an audio text, video text or just things that you say. I also felt that, when doing teacher-led oral work, choral repetition could be carefully timed if

Culturally Responsive Teaching

  The term Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT), first coined in the USA in the 1990s, refers to teaching which is sensitive to different cultures both within and outside the classroom. “It is an approach that empowers students intellectually, socially, emotionally, and politically by using cultural referents to impart knowledge, skills, and attitudes" ( Ladson-Billings, 1994 ).  Issues to do with diversity and racism have come to the fore again in recent years and attracted growing interest in language teaching and education circles in general. It was not a subject on my agenda, I have to confess, no doubt owing in part to the setting I taught in (rural, generally mono-ethnic at that time and mono-cultural). But I think language teachers would do well to be aware of some of the issues at stake, if they are not already knowledgeable about these issues. First, what is culture? One definition has it as the norms, beliefs, and behaviours passed down from one generation to the next

DfE intrusion has gone too far

This post is for teachers in England. Do you remember when, not too long ago, Ofsted were at pains to tell schools that they had no preferred teaching style? In our subject area we’ve had the TSC review of MFL pedagogy (2016), the establishment of NCELP and a revised GCSE for first examination in 2026. All of these have involved the hand of government in various forms (notably the choice of authors and panel members). Meanwhile Ofsted decided it wished to place an emphasis on curriculum, arguing that this is the cornerstone for a school’s success. Its series of research reviews (selective and flawed) have reinforced the notion that learning is about turning declarative knowledge into automatised skill. This is tied up with a view of language learning based on the idea of building blocks (phonics, vocab and grammar - the ‘three pillars’).  This is a one-sided view of language learning and curriculum design, frequently criticised in the second language acquisition research literature. Bu