First up in the series is the concept which I’m most passionate about, that of thinking differently, of imbuing lessons and schemes of work with a real “Meaning that Matters”. I’m afraid I do not believe that asking questions about the contents of a bedroom is going to inspire any young individual that learning a language can make a huge difference to their life. Sadly so much of the motivation to learn a language depends on the charisma and inspiration of the teacher delivering the content, not the content itself. How often have we all enjoyed teaching an individual who thrives for a year, then the following September we’re informed by their next teacher that they’re really struggling, not capable or just not interested?
At the moment our pupils walk down the corridor from our classrooms to find themselves in a scenario where debate is encouraged on the proviso that they can back up their arguments, where contributions are welcome if people have an opinion. Yet do we give our pupils enough of those opportunities in MFL where the transactional role-play is still so often king? The great work done by Greg Horton with his Group Talk concept (if you don’t know what I mean, watch the Teachers TV video to be inspired!) is a great first step, but is not the final one- our content must be right as well. So this year I look forward to learning far more from the likes of Rachel Hawkes, Vincent Everett, Chris Harte, Suzi Bewell and Neil Jones with a view to adding a huge level of intercultural understanding and project work to my approach to language teaching.