At #nalasat, an MFL Show and Tell event held in Manchester on 9th November, I shared an idea for helping improve listening skills through reading, making a link between the sound and the look of a word.

In brief, this is the idea:

  • At the start of the lesson, give pupils the text you want them to listen to later on, but don’t tell them that is what is going to happen.
  • Give them a few seconds to look through the text.
  • Tell pupils that you are going to read the text aloud, and they should join in with you when they know what you are doing. Repeat this several times, changing the pattern each time. Suggestions are:
    • Read every other word
    • Read every third/fourth word
    • Start reading from the end of the text
    • Read the first word of each line, then the last word of each line
    • Read the first word of the text, then the last word of the text, then the second word of the text, then the penultimate word of the text etc
  • You can make it as complicated or as simple as your own brain can manage!
  • After a few minutes of fun, put the text away.
  • Later in the lesson, conduct the listening activity, without saying that pupils have already had access to the text.

If you would like a comprehensive overview of everything that happened on the day, you could do worse than read this post by Dominic McGladdery.


It’s Show and Tell time!

If you’re a language teacher in the North West, and you don’t know what a Show and Tell event is, then that means you have to come and find out!

If you do know what one is, then you’ll want to come!

If you want to read about my previous experiences at such gatherings, then there are some posts here.

And if you want to sign up for the Show and Tell event on Saturday 9th November at Instituto Cervantes in Manchester, then you need the link below.

Did I mention it’s free?

Sign up herehttp://nalanwmflsat.pbworks.com/w/page/68992051/FrontPage

Why you should join NALA

I have just spent my Friday and part of Saturday attending the NALA annual conference in lovely Stratford-upon-Avon.

NALA is the National Association for Language Advisors, and I have been a member for around 10 years now.

I find NALA a great source of CPD, information and updates on all things related to language teaching and learning.  Particularly now that I am out of the classroom, it’s been one of the best ways of keeping right up to date with things.

Organised geographically, each region meets regularly (usually termly or half-termly depending on the region), to share and discuss the latest in language education.

Each year, members from all regions are invited to gather for the national conference (often in Stratford-upon-Avon).  This year’s speakers brought us updates and comment from :

  • John Stephens, NCSL
  • Alison Peacock, on the Cambridge Primary Review
  • Josephine Howarth, DfE
  • Carmel O’Hagan, CfBT and Mike Humphreys, Stourport High, on Teaching Schools
  • Lynn Erler, Department of Education, Oxford University
  • Alex Blagona – The Language Learner of the Future?
  • Hugh Baldry, Teaching Agency
  • Fil Nereo, Higher Education Academy
  • Domini Stone, Network for Languages
  • Nikki Perry, NALA and Speak to the Future

As you can see, wide-ranging topics, and featuring key people and organisations.

Despite the name, you don’t have to be a language advisor to join. If you are involved in any way with supporting the learning and teaching of languages in the UK, no matter which sector or stage of education you work with, I would encourage you to join. As well as the CPD aspect, NALA is also a vehicle for engaging with policy makers on behalf of its members.  For example, NALA is currently collating members’ comments in order to respond to the Call for Evidence on GCSE Controlled Assessment, the A level consultation. It will be doing the same for the Primary curriculum consultation, announced – with perfect timing – on the first day of the conference.

Find out more about NALA here, or you can contact me by leaving a comment below (or on Twitter – @Reesiepie) and I can put you in touch with  the relevant person in your region.

What Went Well … Even Better If … Maximising Performance in Controlled Assessments

I attended this event this afternoon/evening, and it was well worth it.  It was organised by the National Association of Language Advisers (North West region) of which I am a member.

I’m sure that to many of you, the information isn’t new, but in case you wanted a refresher, I’ve put my notes below for you to take a look at, or take away!

I apologies to the two speakers, David Mee, and John Halksworth, if I have misinterpreted any of their comments, but hopefully I have done them justice!

Click here to download: Notes from NALA NW Controlled Assessment event

NALA North West Regional Conference

If you’re in or near the North West of England on 1st March and are interested in some quality CPD related to Controlled Assessment, then can I point you in the direction of this event:

You can download the flyer here:


Don’t worry that both of the speakers are Spanish moderators – as the flyer says, it’s the underlying principles and ideas that will be offered which are important.

NALA (National Association of Language Advisers) put on great events, and so if you can make it, I think you would find it worthwhile.