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August 26, 2010

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Vdawntreader

Yes, oh yes!

valerie

Thanks for this Chris - really really agree. I particularly despair at the paltry teaching time we are given. Just back from Switzerland where my friend's 10 year old is having 4 hours of English a week!! It's no wonder that our kids think they are no good at MFL - they never get anything like the input they need.
Do you feel though that our kids have a very tough time trying to operate in another language with no firm grasp of their own grammar? We have a lot of big ideas to get through to them - gender, cases, verb endings and others Europeans just don't have to worry about these things in order to get started in English! Also prevalence of English in THEIR languages is incredible- Brits are not really likely to get the need for other langs, when we don't even listen to anyone else on the news - automatic dubbing!!
What pedagogy would you advocate? Do you think the SOLO taxonomy is THE answer??
Yours interestedly
Valerie

Chris

Hi Valerie,
I think that some of what you mention needs to be put on the back burner as it is a bit of a catch 22; we are never going to get more curriculum time until we become a subject in high demand, grammar should have come through from primary literacy but his does not seem consistent and English is the predominant language, so why would you learn another language when you know English pretty fluently?
I am currently trying to write up my pedagogy but en gros I would say; compelling contexts, less content and more skills, integrated learn to learn, product based assessments and real audience would be getting close to the ideal.
As for the SOLO taxonomy, I definitely believe it is part of the answer as it gives us a way to measure the links which students are making between concepts and, as we know, making links is how we learn! So for example, a level 5 piece of work could easily be produced from vocab lists and set phrases without ever having to understand any of the language concepts (they need not understand all of the concepts but focus on one or two perhaps). SOLO helps us to write assessment rubrics which show linking of concepts and therefore learning and understanding. A NC level 5 shows us nothing...
cheers
Chris

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