Well, the build up was good and there was great anticipation leading up to our first ever Teach Meet for teachers from beyond Downe House. When the day itself finally dawned and language teachers from far and wide descended upon us the meeting did not disappoint. There was a real buzz around the room as excited teachers from KS3 to University Level touched base and chatted about language teaching.
Finally the show got going for real. Not that a room full of linguists needed any convincing about the power of language but we started with a video clip from comedian Paul Whitehouse’s football manager which demonstrated just why we need to learn foreign languages.
Then we got going for real. Justin from @vocabexpress talked us through his fabulous website which immediately impressed with its easy to use and engaging set up. There are so many different ways to acquire vocab these days and the tools available on vocab express make the learning process so enjoyable and motivating.
George from @this_islanguage then demonstrated some of the authentic videos and the associated games, and online comprehension quizzes that come with them. The sheer variety of activities that come with each video is amazing and provides for most needs. The audience were duly impressed and signed up for the prizes offered by these two sponsors.
First up after the sponsors was @enzadipotenza from @UniRdg_ModLang who talked through the great work going on at Reading University’s MFL department. We heard about students teaching students and the peer learning element of the OpAL programme which is providing open access to languages for all students. You can read more about the programme here.
There were so many great ideas shared it was hard to keep up. Here is an overview of the other topics discussed.
1) the lovely, supportive @candidagould talked about her new take on lesson starters and improving confidence in writing which has been a real hit with her pupils (and with the TeachMeet who could not wait to ask more questions over wine and snacks).
2) @cristahazell always has lots of great ideas and this time focused on how to get our pupils to speak more, to engage and to lose the fear factor. You could well imagine that her pupils flourish under her care.
3) The fabulous Mary Wood from St Barts showed us her hugely entertaining and worthwhile flashcard game which is excellent for vocab revision. The audience enjoyed the idea and the presentation.
4) Mary Wood also talked us through using memrise which has a bank of vocabulary available and if you can not find what you are looking for you can add your own resources.
5) @basnettj continued the theme of overcoming fear in speaking a foreign language. Her approach was through technology and the use of the avatar.
6) @BGrammaire wowed us all with her grammar songs. What a great idea to reinforce grammar through song.
7) Ali Quick from Isambard Community School in Swindon shared some fantastic extension activities with us. Her challenge box activity impressed us all. Here’s a sample of some of the cards:
In all, a fantastic evening. The atmosphere in the room as language teachers from all sectors and all key stages got together and talked about what they loved doing was not to be missed. You could feel the positivity in the air and it was so good to share ideas and collaborate with like minded colleagues. Thank you to all my colleagues who came along to listen and support and thank you to those of you who presented. The evening could not have happened without you. This was Inset made by MFL teachers for MFL teachers.
So, DHMFLTeachMeet 2014 is over. Roll on DHMFLTeachMeet 2015.