Saturday, 29 January 2011

Radio5Live phone in with Tony Livesey about why languages / which languages

Late night show with Tony Livesey Thursday 27th January 2011. Overall a positive message for learning languages I felt .. and I really look forward to Tony's show in French on 27th June 2011!

I'm parking this here temporarily for friends who asked how it went...

For the next few days, the programme is stored here:

Intro [00:48:14 ] Conversation [00:57:00]Farewell [1:06:16]

Sunday, 16 January 2011

BETT 2011

I very much enjoyed the short time I spent at BETT this year. Met up with old friends e.g.

  • Dan Bowen at Babcock 4S,

  • the team at Sanako,

  • Justin at Vocab Express,

  • Martin at TaskMagic - I keep discovering new things that software can do .. really really useful

  • The Fronter people (who showed us how to link content)

  • Steve Glover .. my original inspiration fro all things ICT!
...but also looked at some new stuff which I'll be passing on to others at school e.g.

  • Shakespeare in bits - looked a great way of getting into Shakespeare

  • Serious Games Interactive - citizenship issues coming to life

  • Languagelink - a way of accessing speech therapy for primary - will roll out to secondary

  • Some fantastic music hardware and software which allowed us to make music by breaking infrared beams with our hand (James has the card - will add link - I want one for ME!)

  • Xdream - the real biking simulator .. simply amazing! (loved it even though I was so soundly beaten by James!)
The highlight was Teachmeet. Well done to the organisers who engendered such a fun, comfortable atmosphere as well as ensuring an efficiently run event; congratulations to all the presenters who provided a great spread of ideas; commiserations to those who were psyched up to present but were not picked by the random fruit machine, and greetings to the many people I met and talked with around the tables and while eating pizza afterwards. A special 'Goddag' to my new Danish friends who had spent the day with me and Joe Dale at The Ashcombe School on Thursday.

The machine chose me to be the first one to do a 2-minute nano presentation. I talked about some lessons I have recently done with Year 10, when I 'mediated' their interaction with real French people in Secondlife. My talk is from 45:22 - 47:39 here (thanks to Leon Cynch for capturing this) (and grateful thanks to Johh Davitt, the camel thrower, for sparing me despite 17 second overrun ...!!) and the short slide show which should have been showing as I spoke is here (thanks to Ian for persevering with the link and getting some of the photos to show, and to Alan for telling me about Twitter fileshare in the morning). The lesson plans are here in the SLExperiments pb wiki. I regret that I did not give a public MERCI to CathyChou Bea and the wonderful people at Arcachon (including Tupper Weir .. DevLink Garside .. Eve Kazan .. Janis Allen) whose dedicated work and love for their island has made this possible.

I have uploaded pictures taken at BETT here on my flickrstream, and added them to the group here. I'd love people to add captions so that I can get to know more names!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

OFSTED report / English Bac

Sadly we have yet another OFSTED report which could be construed as criticising language teachers.

These are interesting times with much change, uncertainty and opportunities.

Tomorrow will see the publication of performance tables which will include the English Bac measure.

Undoubtedly there will be much ‘huffing and puffing’ about what this might mean.

Stepping aside from that, what is positive from the perspective of the language community is that there is now a performance measure with a high profile whereby it is to the advantage of a school to have more pupils within a cohort gaining a C grade GCSE in languages.

Although there are various aspects it does not include (Asset / NVQ / Applied or grades below a C grade etc. etc.) .. YET it does provide an incentive for schools to get more students continuing with ML.

And therefore I feel that we should be positive and optimistic and reflect on the great work which ML teachers have been doing at KS 4 (and KS3 to prepare for KS4) to continue to maintain an enthusiasm for languages .

We are all aware of the challenge which the new Controlled Assessment regime poses, but equally we need to recognise that this was the outcome from Lord Dearing asking teachers what they wanted and the imperative which was given to move from the 7-minute one-off oral test.

Whereas we were very aware that because of performance measures currently and previously in operation, such as CVA, studying ML at KS4 was potentially detrimental to a school’s ‘performance’ and OFSTED judgement, we are now in a situation which promotes getting a C grade per se (rather than in comparison with other subjects) .. and there is an opportunity to be grasped here.

We still need to continue to press resolution of the ‘Severe grading ‘ agenda (see here BUT to use a metaphor, we are now on the front foot rather than the back foot.

In conclusion, I’d like to urge a positive response so that we can be offering constructive suggestions in response to the English Bac and highlighting the successes of ML at KS4.