Schools supporting excellence in languages

9 September 2013

Were you able to get a ‘Schools supporting excellence in languages’ folder produced by the Centre for British Teachers (CfBT) earlier this year? The document showcases work undertaken across 34 teaching schools and their alliance schools, and covers a wide range of language projects from KS2 to KS5. If you didn’t receive one of these packs, you can access the 'Schools supporting excellence in languages' material online.

Projects were DfE-funded (Languages Support Programme) and followed on from teaching school alliance-specific language audits, and considered recommendations outlined in the 2011 Ofsted report Modern Languages: achievement and challenge 2007-2010. Participants were keen to share their learning as widely as possible, so school website details are included in the resource.

The action research projects were grouped into the following areas.

Action research in languages teaching schools 2012

  • Grammar
  • Language improvement
  • Languages for all
  • Leadership and management
  • Reading and writing
  • Schools in challenging circumstances
  • Spontaneous talk
  • Transition
  • Using authentic materials.

It’s worth spending some time looking through the different project reports to focus on the research most relevant to your teaching needs, but the following projects particularly attracted my attention.

  • Using film to develop listening and speaking skills in KS4
  • Using authentic materials to support reading in year 9
  • Key Stage 4 to Key Stage 5 transition
  • Developing students’ ability to use the target language spontaneously
  • Creating opportunities for more independent reading, and for extended and creative reading
  • Classroom talk.

Previous action research has also been published by the CfBT: Action research in languages teaching schools 2012. This includes the following projects:

  • An exploration of pupil views towards different approaches to listening activities in language lessons
  • An exploration of the use of Group Talk in Year 7 language lessons at Crofton School – the effects on speaking as well as writing
  • An evaluation of integrated content and language teaching on pupils’ skills and attitudes
  • Students’ engagement with independent learning of languages
  • Motivation in learning modern foreign languages
  • An investigation into the reasons for the low uptake of modern languages at Key Stage 5 at Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School and Language College
  • Towards a universal approach to grammar.

You may also find it useful to consult some earlier languages updates that refer to some of the areas covered in the 'Schools supporting excellence in languages' folder:

Best wishes, 

Alistair Drewery
Languages Subject Advisor

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