Teacher Target Language

Topics: Language education, Foreign language, Language school Pages: 11 (4188 words) Published: January 3, 2013
How Teacher Target Language use affects pupils’ confidence to speak in class Identification:
The enquiry has been written to provide insight into Teacher Target Language use within Modern Foreign Languages classes and the effect it can have on pupils’ confidence in a year seven class starting in a new school. Aims:

I aimed to investigate whether the use of the target language by the teacher in the classroom within one year seven class could: * Increase pupils’ confidence to use the target language themselves * Effect the motivation of the pupils to participate in class Dimensions:

Wallasey School is a Local Education Authority (LEA) 11-18 comprehensive with approximately 1,100 pupils and 150 members of staff, situated in the north of the Wirral Peninsula. The intervention was undertaken with one year seven, middle set, mixed, French class, with a total of 22 pupils involved. It took place over two weeks, starting in January 2011. Summary of findings:

* Questionnaires state pupils consider speaking activities the most enjoyable of the four skills to practice in class * Questionnaires identify that pupils consider themselves to be more confident in listening over speaking, but rank speaking over reading and writing * Majority of pupils specified that they felt confident to speak French sometimes * 67% of pupils indicated they felt confident speaking French when other pupils spoke French * 55% of pupils indicated they felt confident to speak French when the teacher spoke French

How Teacher Target Language use affects pupils’ confidence to speak in class Background and context
My reasoning behind this enquiry was mainly based on my own personal experience of both learning and teaching a modern foreign language. During my own primary schooling I remember my French lessons being taught mainly in the Target Language (TL) and I was confident to answer in the TL. However during year seven the majority of language lessons were taught in English; this was due to the majority of pupils having not learned languages at primary school. During secondary school, especially during year seven, when the teacher did use the TL I felt anxious and did not have the confidence to reply, despite my ability, I felt this was from a lack of hearing it used by the teacher and other pupils.

During my teacher training we were told of the importance of using a high percentage of TL within our classes as this is general practice within the subject. Cajkler and Addelman (2000, p.95) also distinguish this, commenting on “the prevailing idea seems to be that teachers should move towards the almost total use of the target language while they are with their pupils”.

Within seminars we discovered the importance that The Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) and the National Curriculum (Pachler, Barnes & Field, 2009, p.115) places on TL use within the classroom and on inspections, this is a key factor that teachers and inspectors must consider.

The criterion remains ‘is the use of English/the foreign language judicious’ – is its use designed to swiftly establish understanding so that learning is quickly consolidated and moved on, or is it a substitute for planned use of carefully structured target language? (OFSTED, 2004)

This has affected my own teaching practice as when I started in October my personal philosophy indicated my interest and importance of using the TL in class 100% of the time, however in practice it was more challenging to implement than I had previously thought. From the external pressure of OFSTED on schools and from discussions with my mentors; I decided that this was a part of my teaching that I needed to improve and extend because at the time my TL use was minimal. This is the reason why I decided to research this aspect of pedagogy. In addition to this I have observed several teachers using a varying amount of TL in their classes. This is significant because it shows that OFSTED and...
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