Sunday, 8 December 2013

Adapting Pie Corbett's Talk for Writing for MFL or What we can learn from primary schools

In many of the wonderful teachmeet /show and tell/ pedagoo events I have attended in the last 12 months, I have been reminded of the great work that primary schools do with their pupils, and how little awareness I have of them as a secondary school teacher.

At #pedagoowonderland I was lucky enough to be able to attend a workshop led by @RachelOrr about Pie Corbett's Talk 4 Writing and how she used it in her primary school, and there were a lot of great ideas. This is the first time I've hear of Pie Corbett, and this website explains it in more detail.  The aspects of it which caught my attention were the following:

Using actions to help pupils think about punctuation and connectives.  My favourites? Salute the capital letter, the finger click for a comma, a karate chop and clap for an exclamation mark.  There are some pupils in secondary school for whom these kinaesthetic shortcuts in MFL could really benefit. If I have understood it correctly, the approach is about internalising the language, and embedding the language in a fun, memorable way.  I liked the actions for certain storytelling words or connectives.  Teaching these with an action would enable the class to stay in the target language.

The approach had 3 stages:
Imitate - the pupils learn the story with actions, internalising the language
Innovate - whilst "hugging" the original, changing certain aspects
Invent - using the starters and connectives for their own story

The pupils would use storytelling "maps" with pictures and symbols.  I liked this idea as well.

Whilst we do this to a certain extent in MFL, I have never tried to do a whole story like this, and I would worry about spending so long on imitation.  However, this has a real impact on literacy in primary school.  Why shouldn't it help some of our pupils who really struggle with MFL?  Food for thought, maybe?

Many thanks again to @RachelOrr for a thought-provoking session.

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