Curriculum, Organisation and Planning
SEN: Special Education Needs.
AFL: Assessment For Learning.
FFL: French as a Foreign Language.
Located in the South of Leeds, school X welcomes 1825 students, including 330 pupils in its sixth form. Most of the pupils are of white British heritage and about 5% are from other minority ethnic heritages, mainly Asian or British Indian and Pakistani. A very small number do not have English as their mother tongue (141) and the proportion of pupils with special educational needs is 179, which is below average, as is the proportion entitled to free school meals (165 pupils). Ofsted visited the school in 2008 and reported it as satisfactory. But monitoring visits completed in 2010 showed that progress had been made by school X to improve this grade to good. Consequently, the school is very proud of these efforts as it is of its 2010 examination results. The French lesson I decided to write about in this essay occurred in a bottom set year 8 class of 27 pupils. Four of those were SEN students. For this essay, I chose a sequence of 3 lessons whose subjects were quite disparate: in the first lesson, we revised past tense in French; in the second one, we discovered 8 phrases of morning routine and, in the third one, we studied the time. After several weeks working on grammar, the host teacher and I felt that the pupils needed to study something less technical than past tense and closer to their daily life. Morning routine is something they experience every day and they can relate this subject to their own life. In addition, I saw in this the opportunity to use French as the only language in the lesson, as the host teacher usually prefers to use English, arguing that this group is a bottom set class and that it is easier for them to understand if everything is translated. The last lesson of this sequence was devoted to learning time. A subject already mentioned in the lesson about morning routine as each morning activity was linked to a specific time. This essay will first describe every activity I did in the lesson. Subsequently, I will devote a paragraph to the different forms of assessment for learning I used. Then, I will evaluate the lesson and explain what I would do differently if I had another opportunity to teach it. Finally, considering my continual professional development, I will refer to particular standards I have met in this lesson. Presentation in detail of the lesson.
The starter lasted five minutes and consisted in pantomiming the phrases that I wanted to teach to the pupils. Using accessories such as a toothbrush, a flannel and a bathing cap, I pantomimed the actions and named them in French only, without any translation. At the beginning, a bit surprised, the pupils quickly got hooked and each one concentrated deeply in order to be the first to understand what I was pantomiming. When I made sure I had their whole attention, I introduced a funny element: for the phrase “I get dressed” (“je m’habille”), I pretended to be shocked because of the boys staring at me and made them understand, still miming, that they should turn their head. That worked perfectly and the only boy who did not understand what I was expecting was heckled by his peers who were impatient to go ahead and discover what would happen next. Four reasons explain my choice of pantomiming:
Firstly, I wanted to attract the pupils’ attention by establishing a speechless dialogue that everyone, from the weakest to the strongest, could understand. This is very important because it raises the weakest pupils’ confidence if they are able to understand. Mostly, these students feel bored when they do not understand and, as a result, they chat and disturb the class. By using pantomime I avoided this problem and every one participated. Secondly, I believe that the starter is an essential element of a lesson’s success. The way the teacher feels and acts will reflect on the...