Preparing for controlled assessments in MFL is essential for making sure students achieve a worthwhile grade: a range of tenses, structures, vocabulary and of course sufficient content. By Year 11 our students are pretty familiar with the format and just need the time to strengthen and deepen their own answers. Part of this preparation is to improve answers on the basis of feedback from their teacher and peers.
With this in mind I asked Year 11 to work in pairs or groups of three to develop ideas on the topic of “Hobbies” in all the categories mentioned above. I asked each group to note down ideas on a specified focus, grammatical or thematic, note down their ideas on a sheet of sugar paper and after ten minutes to pass it on to the next group who would benefit from the knowledge of the previous one or correct their mistakes and add to it before passing the sugar paper on again.
Then as part of a plenary session students held up the sheets of sugar paper one by one and the class as a whole commented on the combined wisdom of the group on each particular focus. If there were any misconceptions I was able to step in as I did if I felt there was an extension to be squeezed out which students might not have spotted.
Having had great success with this with my older students I will be trying this with my younger students. I am considering using this technique at least once a term to develop the skills of students and allow them to take responsibility for their own progress as well as that of the rest of the class.
In a wider context I think it can only be healthy for the learning process to become one in which students feel they have as much to contribute as the teacher and techniques which allow them to develop a sense of responsibility have to be positive.
Head of German