Firstly, there is an article How do they and we know they're learning? by Aileen Ward from Portobello High School in Edinburgh on her experiences of using ‘traffic lighting' and ‘increased wait time' with a class of disenchanted S3 pupils. We think that there must be others out there who have tried out strategies from the ‘Assessment is for Learning' initiative and we hope that Aileen's article inspires you to write about your own experiences of trying out a new methodology – both good and bad!
The second contribution comes from a group of S3 pupils at Kilmarnock Academy who were given eight prompt questions about their language learning experiences. They make for fascinating reading and raise a number of issues that may be relevant in other schools, too.
Just as we were going to press we received two sets of questionnaires completed by Primary pupils. The first group, a P6 class from as far north as Whiteness in Shetland, has been doing French for the last six months; the second group, a P6/7 class from Midlothian, has been doing German. We would like to thank the pupils in all the schools who took the time and trouble to let us know their views.
Finally, there is an overview of the Innovative Funds projects . You may remember that these projects were supported by SEED (Scottish Executive Education Department) between 2002-2004. More information on these will be published on the MFLE (Modern Foreign Languages Environment) dedicated website, which is to go live sometime in late April or early May. We will keep you updated on further developments – so watch this space!
Aileen Ward, Portobello High School , Edinburgh
In June 2003 the Department was asked to participate in the Assessment is for Learning Project. I was very pleased to be able to take part in a project which gave me funding to have thinking time and to take forward the fruits (if any) of my deliberations.
Download full article as PDF - How do they and we know they're learning?
The Learner Voice 1
A group of S3 pupils at Kilmarnock Academy were given eight prompt questions about their language learning experiences. What they said makes for fascinating reading and raise a number of issues that may be relevant in other schools, too.
Just a quick look through the articles raises a number of questions, such as:
Some of the pupils express disappointment at not being able to pursue a second language. Is this a problem in your school?
Others indicate that they have already set their sights on a particular job (although we do not know what that is) and see no vocational relevance for language learning. Perhaps there is a need to engage with pupils about how language skills contribute to pupils' wider preparation for life? What kind of careers advice are pupils given? Does it simply start from their current interests or does it take into consideration how Scotland's society may be changing over the next decade or so?
With respect to the latter it was interesting to note that several pupils in the class spoke a language other than English at home. Are you aware of how many pupils in your class would fall into this category? Has this affected your teaching methodology?
There were differing views on the meaning of ‘ICT' – for some pupils it clearly still means simply ‘working with a computer'.
Finally, whilst the Smart Board has proved a hit with this particular group, not every class will have access to such a device, which raises resource issues.
Let us know what you think! You could also try out your own pupil self-evaluation – perhaps with a different year group – using (or indeed adapting) the prompt questions we provided to our pilot group. It takes less than a teaching period to complete.
If you would like to read the pupils' responses, please download the pdf file - The Learner Voice 1 - Questionnaires
The Learner Voice 2
We received two sets of questionnaires completed by Primary pupils. The first group, a P6 class from as far north as Whiteness in Shetland, has been doing French for the last six months; the second group, a P6/7 class from Midlothian, has been doing German.
To read a pdf file of all the questionnaires which were returned, please dowdload the pdf - The Learner Voice 2 - Questionnaires