Saturday, 7 March 2015

Standing out or outstanding? #ililc5

This is the first of 2 talks I gave at #ililc5.

I used a powerpoint presentation which I was going to post here, but it wouldn't make a lot of sense without my commentary.

So I've decided to reproduce it here.

If you were there it will act as a reminder, if you weren't there then I hope that it makes some sort of sense...

So, here we go...

Imagine a slightly hunched, bespectacled man in his mid-40s, who thinks he's cool but he's wearing a checked shirt, reading it to you....

Standing out or Outstanding
Tips, ideas, routines and tools.

The idea for this talk came from an old blog post of mine, outstanding lessons plans in which I questioned a trainee teacher's motives for wanting to be outstanding. This X-factor world in which we live seems to be full of people wanting to be the best without putting in the time, making the mistakes, or gaining the experience.

I shared Jackie Beere's Perfect Ofsted Lesson criteria.
It's an article about what Ofsted would want to see in a perfect lesson.
I agree with all of them except the one which says:

Delivering skills and content essential for passing exams

This one worries me. It's not the reason I became a teacher.

Then I talked about time management.
Not just planning lessons but planning planning, planning lessons, planning marking and planning your freetime. I put forward the point that if you're in a situation where you find yourself with seven sets of books to mark on a Sunday night, then you're in the wrong school, the wrong job, or both.

My next piece of advice was:

Get a friend. No, get 2 friends.
This is important. Everyone needs somebody to talk to.
No man is an island. (Unless he's in the bath. This joke belongs to a UK comic, Norman Lovett)
This is your first friend. The one who'll make you a coffee and remember your birthday.
The second friend is your critical friend. This is the friend who'll tell you that your schemes of work are rubbish and that your marking is terrible.

You also need to avoid negative people: The dinosaurs in the staffroom who complain about anything and everything, or perhaps the new teacher who continually drones on about how good their previous school was. (Why didn't you stay there then?!!?!)

Next: start networking.
You've no idea of the talent and ideas out there on the net unless you get involved.
Share your work and ideas and others will reciprocate.
Join Facebook, twitter and the ALL.
Join Tinder!
OK, don't join Tinder, but the other 3 are essential for any teacher of MFL.

My next tips:

  • Make it interesting.
  • Make it relevant.
  • Make it fun. This doesn't mean playing games. 

Then I talked about planning:
Use your schemes of work. If you don't use it, it's not a scheme of work. Change them, adapt them, but use them.
Share your objectives and outcomes with the students.
(There is nothing worse than being given a task and not knowing why you're doing it!)
Ask your students: Why are we doing this?  Why do you think we're doing this?

I warned against reinventing the wheel.
There are plenty of good websites dedicated to MFL crammed to the brim with excellent and free resources.
eg. Lightbulb languages, languages resources, etc. etc.

Don't be scared to go off piste! Sometimes, if the kids don't get it, don't force it. Try a different way or try something completely different. As long as they know something new or can do something they couldn't do before, your lesson was not a failure... Stop being so hard on yourself!

Now it's time for: Routines

Plan your marking!
Concentrate on one skill per week.
Get the students to self and peer mark.
Trust them!

Plan for your AGT and SEND students.
Use differentiation ideas from my #ililc4 presentation.
Have a look at Chris Fuller's and Jon Meier's slideshare presentations.

Next I talked about Target Language
I plugged Steve Smith's blog about TL.
I ranted about use of TL:
It should be the students using TL, not you!
(We know you can speak French/German/Spanish, if you can't you shouldn't be teaching!)

I then mentioned using a carousel of activities.
This is small groups doing different activities for 10 minutes at a time.
It gives the teacher to spend time with students who need it and it can be invisible differentiation.
It saves on photocopying, too.

Next I mentioned Lego, poetry, pronunciation games and thunks.

The tools I talked about were:

Duolingo for schools
Wie geht's? app
Garry Mills' guide to Zondle
memorize now
fun with languages
yakit kids

And that was pretty much it.

It seemed to go down quite well.

If you have any questions or comments please post them below.