Personalised learning in primary modern foreign languages: tips and tools

We’ve been giving our regular subject forums this term a personalised learning twist, and first up in October was our primary modern foreign languages forum (which also included a brief mention of ancient languages).

Set in the context of digital strategy, blended and in-person teaching and learning, concurrent, synchronous or asynchronous, personalised learning is another element in the matrix of possibilities, permutations and configurations for a teacher to consider. Sound overwhelming? It needn’t be. There are many digital tools that can help and are well suited to creative use – discover some of our favourite apps below. 

In our Erasmus+ Empower2Learn project (with partner education organisations in Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden) we’ve been looking at tools, platforms and online systems through this personalised learning lens. In the project toolkit we’ve created for teachers we organised them into four different ‘directions’:

  • tools which can be used in any lesson (many of our regular CLC favourites fit here - Padlet, Jamboard, Kahoot, Mentimeter, among many more)
  • subject-specific apps and platforms (which may feature adaptive learning or AI – for adult language learning the popular Memrise and Duolingo fit in this category)
  • portfolio systems for instance SeeSaw 
  • broader whole-school platforms or systems (such as Google Classroom or Microsoft 365

What is personalised learning? 

Like many terms in education it means different things to different people (and there is an extensive academic background, part of which we’ve surveyed within our E2L project). We explored participants’ different perceptions using a Mentimeter live word cloud in this term’s subject forum.

Here’s the working definition that we’ve agreed in the E2L project for personalised learning:

“Learning that empowers students to become active in their learning pathways and tailors their learning activities to meet their needs, abilities and interests”

Drawing on the academic research, we can identify some specific dimensions:

  1. Objectives (learning goals)
  2. Personal characteristics
  3. Type of learning
  4. What is being personalised?
  5. Who/what is doing the personalisation?
  6. How is the personalisation carried out?
  7. Impact / beneficiaries?

In the forum we also considered key points from a recent report on modern foreign languages teaching from the British Council and an Ofsted blog from this year. One of those key points is that it’s important to realise that learning languages at primary level isn’t simply about acquiring vocabulary.

Apps such as Kahoot sometimes get a bad name if only used repetitively to drill vocabulary. However, the facility to read text in a variety of languages, embed clips or audio judiciously and use not just multiple choice format but, for example, puzzle or word cloud options mean that they can be used more appropriately.  With Kahoot, self paced learning for pupils set up by the teacher is also possible.

Give it a try 

  • Duolingo schools: free platform with features such as a teacher dashboard and feedback to learners (multiple languages available)
  • Model speaking or collect children speaking in variety of ways including directly in to Padlet or other similar apps

 

Padlet example

 

  • Explore the options with Google translate on a tablet or smartphone - not only text based but the options to translate real life text via the camera, to translate audio into text and to speak back a translation

The opening section of the National Curriculum MFL programme of study states that: “Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world.”

This series of British Council Great Languages Challenge resources are worth exploring to help with this general wider language awareness:

 

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New to subject leadership in primary school computing session 1, 2 and 3

23/11/21,
15:45
- 17:15

This programme is designed for primary teachers who have recently taken on responsibilities and leadership for technology and computing. It will cover curriculum planning, tools and resources, methods for supporting colleagues and progression and assessment. Colleagues will be expected to attend all three sessions. The third session will be held in a school and will include classroom visits.

Further details for sessions 2 and 3 to follow:

Session 2: 9.30-11.30am Thursday 27 January (virtual)

Session 3: TBC (in person)

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Upcoming CPD

New to subject leadership in primary school computing session 1, 2 and 3
New to subject leadership in primary school computing session 1, 2 and 3

This programme is designed for primary teachers who have recently taken on responsibilities and leadership for technology and computing. It will cover curriculum planning, tools and resources, methods for supporting colleagues and progression and assessment. Colleagues will be expected to attend all three sessions. The third session will be held in a school and will include classroom visits.

Further details for sessions 2 and 3 to follow:

Session 2: 9.30-11.30am Thursday 27 January (virtual)

Session 3: TBC (in person)

23/11/21,
15:45
- 17:15
KS1, KS2
Computing subject leaders, Headteachers...
Computing and Online safety conference for primary schools
Computing and Online safety conference for primary schools

Diving deep into all things computing, this conference will consist of two sessions. Participants can choose to join us for the full day, or book for just the morning or afternoon separately.

Online Safety & Data Security (am)
This session is for computing subject leaders, senior leaders, safeguarding leads and other relevant school staff. Falling in the lead up to Safer Internet Day 2022 (Tuesday 8 February), the morning of the conference will have a particular focus on online safety, bringing together a variety of external resources with expertise from within the CLC team to help schools get to grips with the complexities of online safety and data security.

Leading Computing in the Classroom (pm)
This portion of the day is for computing subject leaders and teachers interested in the use of technologies across the curriculum. It will include policy and curriculum updates as well as practical workshops and opportunities to hear from colleagues in other schools.

01/02/22,
09:15
- 15:30
EYFS, KS1, KS2
Business leaders, Computing subject leaders...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
25/11/21,
09:30
- 14:25
KS2

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

The Garden Museum
21/02/22,
-
KS1

The CLC is once again partnering with the Garden Museum to offer a partnership project for KS1 pupils (primarily suited to Yr2). Located next to Lambeth Palace on the bank of the Thames, the museum has an inspiring collection that provides the ideal stimulus for young learners to explore the world around them.

Pupils will use technology alongside the museum’s collection to explore the wonderful world of seeds.

  • How are they planted?
  • How do they spread?
  • What is inside them?

 The Garden Museum has a large collection of seeds and tools that pupils will engage with.

These half-day sessions will take place at the Garden Museum.

There is a limited number of dates available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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