Tuesday, 7 July 2009

What's happening in MFL?

Too much, I hear you say! Below is a quick update and timeline for what is happening in MFL currently...

Sept 09 - New Secondary Curriculum has been introduced in Years 7 & 8.
- The Revised KS3 Framework will have been published.
- Revised National Curriculum Levels circulated.
- New GCSE courses start with change of emphasis (30% Speaking and Writing).
2 skills short course available
- First year of new A2.
- Next 5 Diplomas on line (including Business)

Sept 2010 - New Secondary Curriculum in Years 7, 8, 9
- Next 5 Diplomas (including Travel & Tourism)

Sept 2011 - New Primary curriculum starts
- Languages, Humanities and Science Diplomas start.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Authentic resources

If you are searching for authentic resources to help you with cross-curricular subjects, including the environment, the website below will hopefully be of help. It has been created for Candian schools and I believe that some of the resources are truly excellent:

Monday, 29 June 2009


If you are introducing IB (16-19) in your school, please feel free to get in touch. St John's will be starting its third year of IB delivery come September.


Interested in Content and Language Integrated Learning? Not quite sure what it is? There are now a number of schools across the country who are experimenting with delivering whole subject areas at KS3 in a Modern Foreign Language - immersion. Chenderit School in Northamptonshire is one such school. This link takes you to a video case study:

You could also google Willink School in Berkshire & Elliott School, London to see what they are doing on their webpages.

Schools embark on CLIL in order to engage and challenge learners, to raise expectations, to use language for real purpose, to develop different kinds of language and to develop language learning skills, among several other things. If you are considering starting on a smaller scale, the links to the resource banks below will hopefully give you access to plenty of materials to encourage you and to start you off...

Just choose a subject area and follow the links.


Happy working!

SLN update 2009

The face of the SLN is changing, but not disappearing altogether! For the last 2 years, 3 SLN have run across Wiltshire: West Wilts led by Jenny Coldwell at Clarendon College; North Wilts led by Dave Wicks at The John Bentley School and South Wilts led by me at St John's. The number of SLN running nationally has been reduced but we have just heard that we have been successful in our bid to one run SLN for all Wiltshire Secondary Schools. The first meeting of 2009-10 will be held at The John Bentley School: 'ICT as a tool to motivate and support literacy skills'; in Feb 2010 Clarendon College will host: 'Sharing of ideas and experiences of other MFL courses to encourage uptake of MFL at KS4'; and St John's will host a final meeting: 'Developing tasks to extend speaking and writing skills, with a particular focus on Year 9'.

We are delighted that the new bid was successful and look forward to seeing you at one of these meetings in the new year.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Vocab learning - free application

Interlex is a free Windows application that helps students learn vocabulary in a foreign language quickly and easily. The program is built around a simple idea: first you compile a list of words and phrases, then you test yourself until you have learnt them. Thanks to Andrew Quilley for this useful free tool! Go straight to the website by clicking this link www.vocab.co.uk or going to the link in the general section on the right. This website is also well worth visiting for the large number of language links which can be accessed from the home page.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

FAQs about the new GCSEs for MFL

Click here to visit the page on the CILT website with questions and answers about the new GCSEs in MFL.

Freizeit - song from Youtube!


Songs for Teaching

A website for using music to promote learning. Click here http://www.songsforteaching.com/ or go to the general section on the right.

Cool German!

Want to show some street cred? Here is the BBC's essential guide to young German people's slang by Andrea Hoffmann, presenter of their beginners' online course German Steps. The expressions have been divided up so you know what to say and what not to say. Here's the link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/german/cool/

Teacher's Pet

The Teacher's Pet is a word processor toolbar that can transform any text into fun classroom activities.The software can create crosswords, bingo cards, jumbles, word search puzzles,flashcards,cloze tests, pair-matching puzzles and much more. Go to the general section on the right or click here: http://www.teachers-pet.org/index.html

La Grande Fête du Chocolat

10 - 19 October is "La Grande Fête du Chocolat" in France. Details can be found here: http://www.lagrandefeteduchocolat.fr/

Hot Potatoes

The Hot Potatoes suite includes six applications, enabling you to create interactive multiple-choice, short-answer, jumbled-sentence, crossword, matching/ordering and gap-fill exercises for the World Wide Web. Hot Potatoes is not freeware, but it is free of charge for those working for publicly-funded non-profit-making educational institutions, who make their pages available on the web. Other users must pay for a licence. The website address is in the general section on the right. Click here to go to the site: http://hotpot.uvic.ca/

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

New websites for French and Spanish added

Two new websites have been added today with resources for teachers of French - http://www.francais-extra.co.uk/ and Spanish - http://www.espanol-extra.co.uk/ . Both websites offer a wide selection of free resources.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Websites for A Level German

A new group of websites for students and teachers of A Level German is now on this site - please scroll down on the right of the page. These websites are sourced from support material for the new AQA AS/A2 examination specification. Websites in the main German section may also prove useful. If you know of any good websites to add to either section, please email us at the addresses shown and we will be pleased to add them.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Integrating ICT into the MFL classroom

Joe Dale - featured in the TES in January 2006 - has an excellent blog which covers just about everything you're ever likely to want to know about integrating ICT into the MFL classroom. The blog address is http://www.joedale.typepad.com/ and can also be accessed in the "Other blogs" section on the right. Many thanks to Joe for this hugely helpful resource.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Games for MFL

Two websites with useful ideas for games which can be used in MFL have been added to the "Websites for MFL (general)" link on the right. They are also accessible here: http://www.britishcouncil.org/languageassistant-arc-games.htm and http://www.gameskidsplay.ca/.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Ideas for brightening up a classroom

This website was suggested by a contributor to the Yahoo! MFL resources forum and contains free materials, including plans for models of buildings such as Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower which are certain to brighten up any classroom! Click here: http://cp.c-ij.com/english/3D-papercraft/building/index.html or go to the link in the general section on the right.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Law of Languages

A Chinese police officer prepares to welcome multinational visitors to Beijing for the Olympic Games, by learning how to greet and welcome people in a range of languages. This could be useful for the European Day of Languages on 26 September.

Developing Teachers.com website for languages teachers

This website contains much which MFL teachers will find interesting - including a range of useful tips. Click here or go the link on the right: www.developingteachers.com

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Vocational Languages resource bank

"Are you just beginning to offer languages linked to other vocational subjects? Or have you been doing so for some time? Either way, the Vocational Languages Resource Bank (VLRB) offers example resources to help you on your way! The website also presents a wealth of ideas for teachers to develop their own materials." The website can be accessed here http://www.vlrb.org.uk/index.asp?p=home or via the link in the general MFL websites section on the right.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

MFL programmes on Teachers' TV this week

The following programmes may be of interest to teachers of MFL. If you miss them, they can be downloaded from www.teachers.tv
"Starting off this Wednesday 16 July at 1pm is Modernising Urdu, a look at how one Urdu teacher is borrowing techniques and adapting resources from other MFL teachers to modernise the approach to teaching Urdu. (Watch online)
1.15pm, we look at one MFL school department that believes dynamic Assessment for Learning in MFL keeps students on task and teachers focused on the next steps for all ability groups. In Secondary Assessment for Learning – MFL, different classes are put under the spotlight as teachers use different techniques to encourage AFL. (Watch online)
The last half an hour is dedicated to our popular
From Good to Outstanding series that looks at how teachers can go from being rated as ‘good’ to ‘outstanding'. In this programme, MFL teacher Rebecca Wills wants to improve. Watch as she is observed and then helped to implement positive change. Will she make the grade? Tune in on Wednesday 16 July at 1.30pm to find out or watch online."

ICT case study: Using wikis at KS4 to promote and support exam revision

The MFL Faculty at Gordano School in North Somerset is developing wikis to support and engage pupils in exam revision and independent vocabulary practice. Click here to visit the CILT page with details of this case study http://www.cilt.org.uk/14to19/ict/gordano.htm

Number of primary schools teaching languages almost doubles since 2002

There has been a big leap in the number of primary schools teaching children foreign languages.
Minister for Schools and Learners Jim Knight welcomed news that 84% of primary schools now teach children another language, up from 70% on the previous year and nearly double the 44% in 2002.
Research from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) published today shows that traditional languages dominate, with French being most popular (89% of schools which teach languages) followed by Spanish (23%) and German (9%). But a small number (under 3%) offer Italian, Chinese, Japanese or Urdu.
Read more by clicking here http://www.dfes.gov.uk/pns/DisplayPN.cgi?pn_id=2008_0130

White lion cubs born in Germany -arrh!

Rare white lion cubs have been born in Stukenbrock safari park in Germany. There is a link to the Yahoo.de story here http://de.news.yahoo.com/ddp/20080714/tsc-safaripark-stellt-nachwuchs-der-weis-e24321a.html

ilanguages - Teaching the usual in an unusual way!

This website may be of interest to teachers considering how to respond to the new curriculum starting in September 2008 for Year 7 students. On this website you will find resources and links to websites that will enable you to deliver your lessons a little bit differently and inspire your pupils. There is also a link to materials for NVQ language units, including a Scheme of Work. The website can be accessed here http://www.ilanguages.co.uk/ or on the links on the right.

Website for German resources

I am very grateful to Yvonne Clerehugh, an AST of MFL in Norwich, who has agreed to me placing a link to her excellent website on my blog. There is a huge range of resources here, from KS3 to A2 level. The site can be accessed by clicking here http://www.yjc.org.uk/ or via the link in the "Websites for German" section on the right. Herzlichen Dank, Yvonne!

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Tour de France

This is the link for the official "Tour de France" website: http://www.letour.fr/. Another good website (in English) is http://www.steephill.tv/2008/tour-de-france/. A Video showing the route of this year's race is available on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fe9IRIqjr7I


Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery. Access the site here: www.wordle.net or on the link in the "General websites" section on the right.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

2008 Olympic Games resources

The Modern Languages Teachers' Association of Victoria has created some excellent materials in a variety of languages (including French, German and Spanish) to accompany the Olympic Games. They can be accessed by clicking here: http://corporate.olympics.com.au/index.cfm?p=737 or clicking on the link in "Websites for MFL".

You're a winner with Languages!

I found these two stickers on the website of the Modern Languages Teachers of Victoria website which can be accessed by clicking here: http://www.mltav.asn.au/. They certainly give out the right message!

TV listings websites

TV listings websites for French, German and Spanish are now listed in the relevant website areas on the right. There are hundreds of channels broadcast free-to-air. See the section below about how to receive them at your school by satellite.

The European Day of Languages (EDL), a Council of Europe initiative, is held annually on the 26 September to celebrate language and cultural diversity. The Day was first celebrated in 2001, the European Year of Languages and involves more people every year. The aims of the EDL are to

  • To alert the public to the importance of language learning

  • To increase awareness and appreciation of all languages

  • To encourage lifelong language learning

Resources, including posters, quizzes, activities can be obtained from the Council of Europe link (above) or from the CILT webpage for the EDL by clicking here: http://www.cilt.org.uk/edl/.

TES - Modern Languages noticeboard and resources areas

A link to the TES MFL noticeboard area has been added to the "Websites for MFL" section on the right and can also be reached by clicking here:

http://www.tes.co.uk/noticeboard/modern_languages/. A link to the MFL resources portal is in the same section or can be accessed by clicking here: http://www.tes.co.uk/resources/Resources.aspx?start=browse&subjectId=18.

GermanTeaching.com - with a dash of ginger and soy!

This website is a must for teachers of German and one I wish I'd found sooner. There is a wide range or excellent resources available, including tongue-twisters and jokes. Click here http://www.germanteaching.com/ or on the link in the "Websites for German" section on the right.

Step into German - for music!

German teachers looking for German music could do well to look at the the Step into German website. The website includes a large number of videoclips, lyrics and and extensive worksheets for many of Germany's current bands. The website can also be reached by clicking the link in the "Websites for German" section on the right.

Sunday, 29 June 2008


Create free educational games, activities and diagrams in a Flash! I first came across this website at a meeting of the North Wiltshire SLN for MFL and have used it regularly ever since. There are lots of possibilities for use in the MFL classroom. I particularly like the random name / word picker (see right) and the countdown timers. Click here: http://www.classtools.net/
The training zone for teaching and learning languages at Key Stage 2. There are some interesting case study videos here. Have a look at "Teaching Chinese" - inspiring!

"Have fun playing while learning languages with www.languagegames.org online games! Is it possible to learn while playing games? Of course it is! The games you will find here are much more effective at helping you acquire foreign language skills than other types of exercises."

Foreign Language TV by satellite

A wealth of foreign language TV programmes can be received in the UK by satellite. Many of these are broadcast "free-to-air", meaning no subscription is necessary. To receive broadcasts, a satellite dish (pointing at the appropriate satellite) and a digital satellite receiver are required. There are in excess of 40 German channels available free-to-air on the ASTRA satellite at 19.2 degrees east. Programmes in French, Italian and Spanish can also be received from this satellite. Another satellite for French, German, Spanish and especially Italian is HOTBIRD at 13 degrees east. The satellite ATLANTIC BIRD 3 at 5 degrees west has some free-to-air French channels, including France 2, 3, 5. TF1 and M6 are also free-to-air, but are analogue rather than digital channels. The satellites mentioned here are not the satellites from which UK Sky broadcasts are broadcast. These are the ASTRA satellites at 28 degrees east. The following channels are available: Sky channel 794 - Deutsche Welle TV (German/English), 795 - TVEi (Spanish)799 - TV5 (French). Euronews is also available at Sky channel 509. The language on this channel can be changed at via the "services" menu (go to "system setup" and then "language and subtitles.") The audio for this channel can be French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese or Russian. Details of which satellites broadcast what are available here: http://www.lyngsat.com/

Friday, 27 June 2008

Germany for kids

Philip, an 11-year-old boy from Frankfurt, guides readers around webpages and gives information (in English) about his country, friends, school, hobbies and what life is like in Germany. Click here to go to the website: http://www.germany.info/relaunch/culture/life/G_Kids/

French and German websites for children

The Institut National de la Consommation (INC), France, and Medienpädagogische Beratungsstelle, at the NÖ Landesakademie (LAK), Austria, analysed French and German language children's websites for the CISA project, co-financed by the EU Internet Action Plan. You can access the list of websites here: http://www.net-consumers.org/policy/topsites.htm

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Call for GCSE languages regrade

Head teachers and language experts say it is harder to get good grades in modern languages than other GCSEs. They are calling for exam grading in modern languages to be brought into line with other key subjects. The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) says the system is unfair and is putting pupils off studying modern languages. You can read more about this here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7254744.stm

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

SLN meetings

I've attended two very enjoyable SLN (Strategic Learning Network) meetings for MFL teachers in Wiltshire this week. The first was a lunchtime meeting of the West Wiltshire SLN run by Jenny Coldwell at Clarendon College. Jenny has put together an exciting Action Plan for the second year so I urge colleagues in the West Wiltshire area to get involved. Today I attended a meeting of the South Wiltshire SLN run by Sue Drake at Marlborough School. Alternative accreditation was the main agenda item today and information was shared about the CBLC, British Airways languages certification, FCSE and NVQ. There was also an interesting talk about early entry GCSE in one of the schools represented at the meeting. Sue has also put together an exciting Action Plan for 2008-9, so please get involved! The North Wiltshire SLN is run by David Wicks at John Bentley School in Calne. Coaching and developing the new MFL curriculum feature on the Action Plan for this area. If you work in a North Wiltshire school, be sure to send someone along to the next meeting!

Why study languages?

This website, http://www.he.courses-careers.com/languages.htm, contains some powerful messages on the importance of language skills and dispels a few myths at the same time! I've added a section called "Promoting Languages" to the weblinks on the right.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008


The city of Montréal could be an alternative to a French city if you're thinking of a cultural project on a location outside France. This website includes an impressive film as well as lots of information about this beautiful city. Click here http://www.tourisme-montreal.org/Accueil or on the link in the French website section.

MFL publishers

Some websites of publishers of MFL materials for schools can now be found in the "MFL publishers" section on the right - please scroll down. You can email me at pxl@abbeyfield.wilts.sch.uk with additions.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Languages Work

The "Languages Work" pages on the CILT website offer MFL teachers a wealth of materials for promoting language learning. Click here: http://www.languageswork.co.uk/ . Under resources, you will find some materials including PowerPoint presentations including "Why study languages?" and a guide to languages and careers.

Euro 2008 à Gorseville

The number of "Gorseville" videos on Youtube continues to grow with this latest edition! Click here: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=RemccB-Uo6k

New MFL curriculum

I have set up a new list of websites related to the new MFL curriculum on the right. The ALL website page contains some particularly useful information. Click here http://curriculum.qca.org.uk/key-stages-3-and-4/subjects/modern-foreign-languages/index.aspx?return=/key-stages-3-and-4/subjects/index.aspx to go to the MFL portal, where you can download the revised Programme of Study and amended Attainment Targets.

Teachers.tv - MFL materials to use in the classroom

Teachers.tv not only has some excellent CPD material for teachers of MFL, it also contains videos to use in the classroom. The following programmes can currently be downloaded: Extra (French, German, Spanish), Hennings Haus, Chez Mimi and Aventuras Vascas. Click here http://www.teachers.tv/mfl or on the link in the general websites section. You will find the programmes amongst the programmes listed. All these programmes can be downloaded to your computer, but you will need to set up a (free) user account first.

Foundation Certificate of Secondary Education (FCSE)

The AQA examination board has introduced a new qualification - the FCSE - to bridge the gap between Entry Level and GCSE. This is a Level 1 qualification. One of the aims of the qualification is to promote uptake of MFL in KS4. Further details can be found here http://www.aqa.org.uk/over/qual/fcse.php or by clicking the link in the AQA section on the right.

Certificate of Business Language Competence (CBLC)

The OCR examination board (http://www.ocr.org.uk/) offers a vocational language qualification from Entry Level up to Level 3 in the CBLC. These qualifications are being offered successfully in a number of schools. Links to the Entry Level courses can be found in the OCR section on the right. They are available in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russsian and Japanese. At Entry Level, the CBLC is a 100% speaking based course, with four modules. The modules are assessed by a visiting examiner, at a time chosen by the centre.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Jacques Brel - Madeleine

This song by Jacques Brel is good fun and great for reinforcement of tenses!

Teachers.tv - MFL

Teachers.tv has a wealth of materials for MFL teachers. These can be downloaded if you have a (free) account. For CPD, this is well worth a look.
See the link on the right.