The early bird catches the worm…..

June 8, 2014

ALL red logo….but time is running out to register for the early bird rate for the June Event organised London branch of the Association of Language Learning.  This takes place next Saturday June 14th at SOAS (School of Oriental and African studies), starting at 9.55 a.m.

The speakers include Rene Koglbauer (ALL President elect), Tim Crapper, Colin Christie and yours truly!  For ALL members the charge is only £10 if you register by tomorrow (Monday 9th June)  and £25 for non-members.  For student members of ALL it’s free.  The early bird rate assists with planning for catering purposes, so we do encourage you to register early.  The easiest way to register is via Eventbrite.  You are welcome to turn up on the day, but it will cost an extra £5.

So, don’t miss out – book NOW!

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Beyond the text book

April 23, 2013

Looking forward to meeting teachers at Anglia Ruskin University today for the event organised by Routes into Languages and OCR.

We shall be looking at ways of addressing some of the issues identified by Ofsted as being in need of improvement in the report Achievement and Challenge, and developing pupils’ language skills that do not rely on the use of the text book.

A .pdf copy of my presentation is also available here.


Time for Action!

August 31, 2012

The last week of the Summer holidays will have seen many teachers beavering away at preparations for the start of the new school year.  It’s very easy once we’re back into the swing of things to lose sight of the bigger picture so taking a moment or two in this final week to pause and consider some of the wider issues concerning the future of languages and language teaching could be no bad thing.

There are currently a number of consultations going on which are due to end within the next few weeks; this means that time is running out if we want to have our say.

The future of A levels

The first is a survey run by Ofqual on A level reform which runs until September 11th.  Ofqual has published a consultation document on its proposals which include changes to assessment as well as to the content and structure of A levels.  Amongst other things Ofqual is proposing an end to the January series of exams and a limit on the number of resits that can be taken to one; this will be with effect from September 2013. They are then looking for revised content for some “priority” subjects to be taught as from September 2014;  languages are included in a group of subjects that could form part of the initial phase of reforming the content of what is to be taught.  A summary of the proposed timetable of reform is in paragraph 82 of the consultation document.  The questions to which Ofqual are seeking responses are listed at the end of this document, and the means of responding are here.

Languages at KS2

Secondly there are just 4 weeks left to make your views known on the government’s proposals for making languages compulsory at KS2.  The consultation  document can be downloaded from the DfE website as can be the response form.  Alternatively responses can be sent to the Association for Language learning who will collate responses that have been sent to consultation@all-languages.org.uk  by September 14th.

Save community languages

Finally there is an online petition to OCR in support of retaining a broad spectrum of languages that are accredited under the Asset languages scheme.  At present OCR is planning to offer Asset languages qualification in just French, German, Spanish, Italian and Chinese from 2014;  this represents a cut from the current of offer of 25 languages (many of which are community languages) and is OCR’s response to government policy that does not recognise an Asset language qualification as part of the Ebacc.

Join the Campaign for languages

Finally, Speak to the Future is THE  campaign for languages and has a whole host of resources which can be used to make the case for and promote languages and language learning – could be useful in the lead up to the European Day of Languages on September 26th. There is also the opportunity to show support for this campaign.


An Inspector calls

July 5, 2012

I had a great day down in Croydon yesterday at the Exploring Excellence in MFL conference.  As promised I have uploaded the slides from my keynote address An Inspector calls.

In my talk I referred to the subject specific guidance for Ofsted inspectors making subject survey visits;  the full document can be downloaded here and the information about changes to the inspection framework from September onwards is here.  I also referred to the Ofsted report Modern Languages:  achievement and challenge 2007 -2010.

I have written in previous posts about some of the things covered in my talk, such as making the most of occasions like Mother’s day to develop intercultural understanding and the use of Wordles.  I also referred briefly to Greg Horton’s group talk project and gave an example of a joke as an authentic resource.

When it comes to using video clips and audio clips there are a couple of useful tools that can help you make the resources more accessible to your learners.  Many video clips, such as those from Youtube can be downloaded using Realplayer and then converted using Realplayer software to other formats including .wmv (to play using Windows media player) and .mp3 audio files.  Audacity is a very useful free recording and editing tool which can be used to slow down the speed of an audio track;  I have written about how to do that here.


ALL London June event

June 12, 2012

I’m looking forward to the ALL London branch June event this coming Saturday morning, June 16th.

As ever there are some terrific speakers.  Rachel Hawkes, a favourite of ALL London is back – her talks are always inspirational and full of practical ideas that can be used immediately in the classroom.  James Stubbs will also be there talking about “Sowing seeds for spontaneous speaking” – an aspect of language learning that is likely to be on the radar of any Ofsted inspector lurking near your classroom.

I am also particularly interested in hearing Jeremy Harmer, a renowned TESOL specialist;  having been trained in and taught some EFL myself I think there is a lot of common ground between the teaching of foreign languages and English as a foreign or second language particularly in the field of practical methodology, so it should be an interesting session.

Full details of the event to be held at the LSE are on the ALL London branch website.


Group talk – ALL London Greg Horton special

March 12, 2012

It was great to see so many people give up their Saturday morning to hear Greg give us the follow up session to his talk at the ALL London January event.  A report of the event has been posted on the ALL London website together with photos and the progression chart he showed us.


ALL London – Greg Horton special

February 29, 2012

Those of you who came to the ALL London branch January event will have heard Greg Horton talk about his amazing project Group Talk.  He has agreed to come back and give us part 2 of his talk which goes more into the nuts and bolts of delivering Group Talk on the morning of Saturday March 10th at Westminster Academy (near Royal Oak tube station).

He will deliver Part 1 of his talk again first, for anyone who missed it in January or who wants a refresher, and then do the second part.

Full details of the event and a booking form are available on the ALL London blog.