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.


The Olympic spirit – the Winter Youth Games

January 6, 2012

2012 –  Olympic year!  Whilst preparations are being finalised for the London games in July many of us teachers will be thinking about how we can exploit this in our classrooms over the coming weeks and months.  What may not yet be on everyone’s radar is that the Winter Youth Olympic Games are taking place from 13th – 22nd January in Innsbruck.  This is in fact the inaugural Winter Youth Olympics and is for young people between the ages of 14 and 18.  The first Summer Games were held in Singapore in 2010.

This will mark the third occasion that Innsbruck has been an Olympic host city (the Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976).  The Innsbruck 2012 official site is in three languages  (German, English and French) and so provides plenty of authentic material and language about winter sports and the Olympics in general, including a section on the Olympic values (excellence, respect and friendship) and the mascot, Yoggl.

The Winter youth games could be exploited in a number of ways, and could easily fit into some existing/traditional schemes of work:

  • For those teaching German it is an opportunity to focus on Austria and the geography of the country, perhaps following the torch relay (Fackellauf/relais de la flamme), now into its 11th day.  There are links to information in German about each place on the relay route which could be exploited for skim reading e.g What could a visitor see/do in Eisenstadt?
  • The Torch relay page has links to “A day in the life of a relay runner” in French and German, so this could form the basis of a reading exercise where learners put sentences in the correct sequence.
  • The Fanshop could easily be form the basis for teaching about prices, souvenirs, clothes and materials
  • The timetable for events can be used to practise numbers, dates and times
  • There is an animated film (Yoggl goes CEP) featuring the mascot Yoggl;  this has images associated with many of the Olympic themes and values which could be exploited for oral and written work.
  • Another short video Innsbruck 2012 Freeze flashmob could be used to practise/revise vocabulary for winter sports

And much more……..


Stevenage SLN meeting 30.06.10

July 1, 2010

It was good to meet with teachers from the Stevenage SLN yesterday.  We focused mainly on the issues to do with the new GCSE specifications and considered how the foundations are laid at KS3 or even earlier!  Slides are available on the Presentations page