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Chris Harte
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Posted Oct 20, 2010 at profile
Posted Oct 8, 2010 at profile
Hi Steve, I have not been clear about the purpose of the SOLO taxonomy, it is not a model of language learning, it is simply a way of measuring linguistic understanding, an effective tool which looks at the explicit connections children make to understand a concept, in this case a grammatical concept. I would question your assertion about competency emerges through a process of natural acquisition - in a school context, we strive to give students as much exposure to authentic or semi authentic text/listening materials (something you do wonderfully and share on but to arrive at linguistic competency through natural acquisition in this context is nigh on impossible due to the lack of time. I would argue that the "conscious learning" which SOLO measures is exactly what we need to be doing to support "natural acquisition". I suppose the analogy us that my son is bilingual as my French wife and I only speak French at home. He is 5 and speaks pretty fluent French and English but had no concept of how gender and adjectival endings work, he just does them. This had taken 5 years of immersion. I hope (as Daddys do) that he will become a good linguist with the capacity to understand the grammatical structure of any language he chooses to learn. Being able to see the links he has explicitly made in terms of the language structures he knows will help me to guide him towards fully understanding the grammar concept and applying it. Indeed I would argue that talking explicitly about language understanding is the best way to internarlise a grammatical concept. I hope I have made mypoint more clearly and not muddied the waters! Cheers Chris.
Why do exam boards not listen? Who the hell is coming up with this - I think we should call strike action à la française..
Steve, comprehensible input is extremely important and indeed is how we approach designing each unit of our schemes of learning in KS3,4 and 5. We start of with rich stimuli - full texts, longer listening passages (usually in the form of a video where the visual supports the auditory) - we do not start off by teaching a list of nouns. As you rightly say, our job is to make this input comprehensible which we do through a wide variety of ways - one of which is analysing the language, evaluating what is useful and appropriate in certain circumstances, hypothesising rules based on the rich input and getting the students to then create "original language" based on the original input texts - this allows for differentiation as students can rely more or less on the original text (be it written or spoken) to create their own piece of writing or speaking. If you imagine it like an egg timer shape, we put appropriate whole texts in the top, work from whole text down to word level (first two/three levels of Bloom's) and then we support the students to understand how to put all of the bits back together to create their own whole text output. It is like in DT - here is an example of the clock you are going to make, let's take it apart, evaluate what makes it a good clock, analyse how the constituent parts fit together, then put the constituent parts together to make our own clock - some will produce more or less the same clock, some will bring into play what they learned when they were making bird houses last unit and create a cuckoo clock! I think we need to remember that we need to a blended approach to a language learning curriculum - better communicators in both the TL and in English, ict, rich input, intercultural understanding, developing better learners, developing higher order thinking skills (HOTS). Time would still be an issue if we had 6 hours a week - there never is enough. However, a strong argument to increase curriculum time for mfl is that you are not only delivering a linguistic curriculum, but you are also developing HOTS, getting the students to engage with web 2.0 technology, engaging them in global citizenship through our choice of content etc rather than teaching them how to say what is in their pencil case! I agree with Graham that there is confusion and mixed messages to NQTs depending on where they have done their PGCE - Newcastle (where I did mine) is a centre for developing thinking skills across the curriculum, others do not even make reference to them. I think the best place to do a PGCE will be York from September... What is fantastic is that we are continuing the debate - there is no one way to teach/learn languages and the more we share (merci the better!!!
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Mar 15, 2010