• Blaine Pike

MFL teacher shortages. ALL Language World 2021. GCSE speaking endorsements. Bubble writing. Emoji-based MFL resources. Read ahead for more.

Happy Friday!

Hope you've had a great week.

In today's MFL weekly:

  1. MFL teacher shortages

  2. ALL Language World 2021

  3. GCSE speaking endorsements

  4. Bubble writing

  5. Emoji-based MFL resources

  6. How to teach phonics

  7. GCSE MFL Word-A-Day 2021 calendars

  8. The importance of small steps

  9. Funny foreign exchange memories

Without further ado, let's jump straight in!


MFL teacher shortages

You know you're in the minority when your job is put on the official "Shortage Occupation" list.

The government updated its visa application rules earlier this month, primarily to allow healthcare workers from other countries to live and work in the UK.

However, in addition to these roles, they have now added "modern foreign language teachers" to the list.

We may be in a national minority as MFL educators, but then so too are the students who choose to take GCSEs and A Levels in MFL.

Hopefully this move will help keep the posts filled in our schools.


ALL Language World 2021

Last week, MFL's answer to the Oscars took place: Language World 2021.

The two-day event – held by the Association for Language Learning – brought together 50 excellent speakers from the worlds of education, academia and politics (albeit online this year).

One of these speakers was Mme. Chettle Cully (@ECCMFL), who talked about how we can support SEND pupils in primary MFL lessons.

While Chettle referred to primary pupils, the principles behind her ideas for listening, speaking, reading and writing activities can be applied to all students.

Her slides are here, but the complete blog post version (which is definitely worth a read) is here.

You can view the entire schedule of talks from the conference here. The presentations will be uploaded soon and will be available to view for one month.

📂 DOWNLOADS GCSE speaking endorsements While there's no need to hold speaking exams this year – and while many teachers will already have a good idea of each of their students' speaking abilities – the fab team at WeTeachMFL have produced three helpful sheets to help schools who are collecting evidence on speaking in class.

Each sheet contains seven open questions about family, free time and school. Beside each question, there are examples of "Pass", "Merit" and "Distinction" answers.

  • GCSE speaking endorsement exemplar answers: French

  • GCSE speaking endorsement exemplar answers: German

  • GCSE speaking endorsement exemplar answers: Spanish

For those who also want to give written feedback, there is a feedback sheet that can be filled in too.

  • GCSE speaking endorsement feedback sheet

👨‍🏫 INSPIRATION Bubble writing A number of teachers have been sharing examples of their "bubble writing" templates this week.

Encourage your students to practise their extended writing by removing their fear of the blank page. Provide them with a shape to fill and some prompts to help them write creatively.

🖥 APPS & SITES Emoji-based MFL resources I think it's safe to say that this has been making waves this week! French and Spanish teacher @MrThynneMFL has launched a free new website called Emoji Languages.

The site has launched with 22 complete sections already (!) and each section contains both online and offline resources. Each section's resources include a Flippity flashcard deck, a Quizlet set, a printable wordsearch, a printable crossword, a word scramble, a match-up game, a quiz game, sentence randomiser, a bingo card and a corkboard – and all are lovingly decorated with fun emojis to motivate your students! It's currently all in French, but a Spanish version is in the works (and hopefully we can all help to make a German version, too!)

🎓 PEDAGOGY How to teach phonics The news that phonics will be more important in the new GCSE MFL proposals – including a "read-aloud" exercise in the speaking exam, for example – has had teachers discussing their approaches. Kedi Simpson posted on Twitter that her students would ace such a test. She then posted a series of tweets on how she teaches phonics from year 7 upwards.

While she notes that her examples are French-specific, a lot of her ideas and principles carry over to other languages. If phonics isn't something that you're currently teaching, these ideas may help!

🔁 ICYMI GCSE MFL Word-A-Day 2021 calendars The best way to learn a language is to learn a little bit every day. With that in mind, and now that we're back to school, I've created 3 printable calendars for the classroom (French, German and Spanish).

Each month covers a different topic, and each day has a word from the AQA GCSE vocab list – with the easiest words at the start of the month and the more difficult words at the end of month. You can download them for your classroom walls, or share them with your students (KS3 and KS4 - I won't tell!) so that they can print them off at school, take them home and learn a new word every day.

💪 MOTIVATION The importance of small steps I recently saw a version of the image below on Facebook and it's really stuck with me. I may be biased (!) but in no subject is its message more valid than in MFL.

For all those students who struggle with motivation, this should help them to remember that languages are learned one individual word (or rung of a ladder) at a time. (I tried for ages to relocate the original post that I had stumbled upon, but I had to end up finding the version above on Reddit.)

😂 AND FINALLY... Funny foreign exchange memories Were you lucky enough to do a foreign exchange when you were at school? Scott Mills and Chris Stark recall their embarrassing foreign exchange memories on air (1min57)

An apology! In last week's "And finally" section, I shared a TikTok video called "English mum vs French mum", but the link didn't work. I still think it's funny, so here it is again!

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Thank you so much for reading to the bottom. (You rock!)

Hope you have a lovely weekend,



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