I loved this session. It really chimed with a lot of what I feel I am already doing – but gave me added impetus and ideas for pushing it forward even more.
If there is one thing that frustrates me above all else in our education system, it is “learned helplessness” – fostered partly by the nature of the Controlled Assessment doctrine currently enshrined within the MFL GCSE. I didn’t become a teacher to create cohorts of little parrots, capable of remembering 6 x 40 seconds of pre-prepared language but at a complete loss for words if suddenly confronted with an unfamiliar or unexpected scenario. (I don’t, by the way!)
And so Rachel‘s breath-of-fresh-air talk on establishing a can-do, self-reliant, independent ethos within the languages classroom really spoke to me. I already employ a SNOT trail (Self, Neighbour, Other resource, Teacher, picked up from Dom McGladdery, I believe), but Rachel went even further, talking of empowering pupils to step out of their little comfort zones in a wider sense: for example, by making ALL your resources available to your pupils (via iTunesU, Drive or DropBox) so that they can continue/shape their learning as and when they need to, in and outside of the classroom. Teaching them how to use a dictionary PROPERLY is also a key prerequisite, so that you don’t end up being a walking one (and they don’t resort to the dreaded G**gl* Tr*nsl*t*…)
This is a previous blogpost that Rachel wrote on the topic, which explains much of her thinking much more clearly than I have!