CPD workshop: Teaching Grammar through Reading at KS2

Due to last year’s success, another CPD workshop called ‘Teaching Grammar through Reading at Key Stage 2’ workshop was held on Wednesday 9th April 2014. The workshop was run by Dr Urszula Clark who is a Reader in English at Aston University. She also has many years’ experience in teaching English grammar.

The aim of this event was to help Primary school teachers prepare their pupils for the Key Stage 2 Grammar test that will be taken by year 6 pupils across the country in May.Through practical, group-based exercises, this workshop focused on how to teach pupils the ways in which verbs or processes represent experiences in fiction and contribute to the representation of character.

Delegates from seven different schools in the West Midlands and two university lecturers attended the workshop. One teacher said, ‘I’ve gained a better understanding of how I need to help KS2 students’ progress to KS3!’ Another teacher commented on how the session made her revisit her previous grammar and look at sentences in more detail.

Many thanks go to Dr Urszula Clark for making this workshop such a great success.

Deutsch International! at Aston University

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Wednesday 19th March 2014 was Deutsch International! This was the final in a series of Routes into Languages cultural events in collaboration with Network for Languages and the Centre for Language Education Research at Aston University (CLERA).

The event was for Year 8 pupils of German and featured three workshops from Aston students and native speakers from German speaking countries around the world. The countries covered were Belgium, Austria and Germany.

The aim of the event was to show German as a world language and inspire pupils to continue studying German at school and beyond.

We were very fortunate to have Alex Pickering, the Special Projects Advisor from the Goethe Institut in London,who kindly came to talk to the teachers while the students worked in their groups. Alex was also responsible for judging the best poster created by the pupils and the best speakers of German. On this occasion, the winning country was Belgium. Congratulations to them on such a wonderful team effort!

The event was a great success: sixty pupils and eight teachers from local schools turned up on the day.

Many thanks to Jenny Price and Elpiniki Lamproglou for leading the event; to Alex Pickering for his time, wonderful CPD inputand professionalism;to the student ambassadors for running the workshops and of course to all the pupils and teachers who made the effort to come and make this event worthwhile.

Theoretical Approaches to Second/Foreign Language Acquisition and/or Learning

In a recent post on the blog “Foreign Language Education in the 21st Century”, Jürgen Kurtz, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany, writes:

In a recent paper published in the Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition (Herschensohn & Young-Scholten 2013), Florence Myles looks at “the major theoretical families that currently exist in SLA research” (2013: 46). Comparing the most influential linguistic, cognitive, and sociocultural frameworks and approaches to second language acquisition, she identifies a number of divergent trends and “a plethora of different and seemingly conflicting claims” (2013: 46), arguing that due to the complexity of language and language learning “a single SLA theory is currently beyond our reach” (2013: 70). I agree in principle but there remains the question as to “where all the different and sometimes conflicting approaches originate from” (2013: 70). According to Myles, most of the seemingly irreconcilable theoretical positions that are under discussion today originate from conflicting views of the nature of language and language acquisition, but she remains relatively vague in this respect (2013: 70). Here are my thoughts on this: …

To read more, click here:

Theoretical Approaches to Second/Foreign Language Acquisition and/or Learning.

Survey: Investigating MFL teachers’ engagement with research

Colleagues from the University of York are investigating MFL teachers’ engagement with research and would like YOUR input:

Help needed!
What are your perceptions of research?
Have you ever used it? Would you like to? 

A group of researchers and teachers at the University of York are trying to find out about language teachers’ views about research and evidence, and about any engagement they have with research.

Please spare 15 minutes to complete the survey.

We are interested in knowing about the kinds of research activities that teachers engage in – such as reading about research online, in newsletters or in journals, hearing about it at workshops or conferences, or doing it yourself.  We’d also like to know what kind of evidence teachers consider to be important, for example, what tells teachers that something done in the classroom was effective? What kinds of problems do you think research might address? What informs the way we assess learning?

Please circulate the survey link as widely as possible!  The more responses we have, the more we can say about how engagement could be improved between research and teachers.

¡Una Fiesta Hispánica at Aston University!

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Wednesday 12th March 2014 was the second in a series of Routes into Languages cultural events in collaboration with Networks for Languages and the Centre for Language Education Research at Aston University (CLERA).

The event was for Year 8 pupils and featured three workshops from final year students and native speakers from Spanish speaking countries around the world. The countries covered were Chile, Peru and Colombia.

The aim of the event was to show Spanish as a world language and inspire pupils to continue studying Spanish at school and beyond.

We were very fortunate to have Natalio Ormeño Villajos, the Education Advisor from the Spanish Embassy Education Office who travelled from Manchester to talk to the teachers while the students worked in their groups. Natalio was also responsible for judging the best poster created by the pupils and the best speakers of Spanish.

The event was a great success: sixty-two pupils and eight teachers from local schools turned up on the day.

Many thanks to Jenny Price and Elpiniki Lamproglou for leading the event; to Natalio Ormeño Villajos for his time, generosity and professionalism; to the student ambassadors for running the workshops and of course to all the pupils and teachers who made the effort to come and make this event worthwhile.

CLERA Researcher of the Month: Pam Moores

CLERA has a broad range of researchers and research candidates working in many different areas of language education. Each month, we feature one of our researchers to learn more about them, their work and their interests.

Pam MooresOur Researcher of the Month for March is Professor Pamela Moores, OBE. Pam also worked for the Open University before coming to Aston University, where she has spent the majority of her illustrious career. Until August 2013, she led the School of Languages and Social Sciences in her role as Executive Dean. Pam has been involved in language educational policy on a national level for many years, serving as chair of the University Council of Modern Languages and playing a central role in various MFL initiatives, including Routes into Languages.
Her research interests include the French print media, national and regional titles, and the street press, and she has published on media coverage of elections; issues of regulations, diversity and balance; and representation of women in the media.

Click here to read her profile.

Jour de la Francophonie! at Aston University

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Wednesday 5th March 2014 was the first in a series of Routes into Languages cultural events in collaboration with Networks for Languages and the Centre for Language Education Research at Aston University (CLERA).

The event was for Year 8 pupils and featured three workshops from final year students and native speakers from French speaking countries around the world. The countries covered were Belgium, Congo and Martinique.

The aim of the event was to show French as a world language and inspire pupils to continue studying French at school and beyond.

We were fortunate to have Yves Letournel who came from the Cultural department of the French Embassy to talk to the teachers while the students were enjoying their workshops. Yves was also responsible for judging the best poster created by the pupils and award prizes.

The event was a great success: sixty pupils and ten teachers from local schools turned up on the day.

Many thanks to Jenny Price and Elpiniki Lamproglou for leading the event; to Yves Letournel for his time, generosity and dynamism for the teachers; to the student ambassadors for running the workshops and of course to all the pupils and teachers who made the effort to come.

We hope to repeat the event next year.