This year for me feels like the time to start to change my approach a little. As I've mentioned before, I now feel free from the previous presures of training, NQT and Masters and I've also been at my school for a year. Over the last term I've been reading more blogs, paying more attention to things and really reconsidering the way I approach things. I think it all started at ResearchEd back in September, when I wrote this post. Now I feel that I am able to focus on my teching in a different way, I have created a reminder list for myself when planning, something to remind me of what I could be including in my lessons and to help me stick to the basics I guess. These are the kind of things that I hope will just become natural parts of my planning in the future, and some of them already are. I think my ideas are really beginning to change, and what I used to think made a good lesson with lots of bells and whilstles and gimmics no longer is. I don't know if this is due to the type of school I now work in, but I hope not. I'm sure my ideas are going to continue to change over the next year and I look forward to it!
So, what have I included and where has it come from?
1) Taking the simplest additions first, I have used my findings from my dissertation (blogged here) to think about the extended curriculum in our school. I've already blogged on that here, so I won't go into that now.
2) Balanced use of the textbook. In the past I hardly used the textbook, over the last year I've used it a lot more. I know now that I need to balance this and know when to take the best bits from it.
3) Video listenings (such as this from @spsmith45). I know I don't do enough listening at the moment and there is only so much available in a text book. Something like this which can practice relevant language and also interest the students could be just what I am after.
4) Increase exposure to new language and structures before expecting students to produce language (As shown here by @gianfrancocont9). I've already been doing this more of late, but now I think I'll be making a more conscious effort.
5) Simple starters and plenaries that can be used again and again and become part of routine. I really like the resources that have been made by @thebadpedagogue, many of which are great for MFL lessons. His resources can be found here.
6) More flipped learning, or revision of grammar and vocabulary for homework to embed the learning. I reently read this post by @lancslassrach. The post made me think about whether I would like students to 'teach themselves' more often. I think the conclusion I have reached so far is that I wouldn't want to use class time on students teaching themselves something that I could teach them in half the time. However, the idea of students reading/watching something prior to the lesson in order to practice it in class does appeal. I also intend to set more homeworks where students practice the vocabulary and structures from the lesson in order to free up lesson time for other things.
7) Keep it simple! I read this post by @jessicalundx a while back and have been implementing a number of the things she suggests for a while. Jess made me think about what I was doing, much in the same way as the ResearchEd talks I mentioned earlier. I'm doing a lot more reading aloud and various types of writing. Activities which wouldn't usually feature highly in my year 7 lessons but that I think are making a difference.
8) This point is very much linked to the previous one for reasons that will be obvious. I, like many others, have been fascinated by a certain school of late. Having read this post, again by @spsmith45, I have been experiementing with a few more ideas. There are a few that I've not taken on board, for instance I still use elements of pair or group work. I don't see this as an issue, so long as it is used sensibly. I am not the sole source of listening input, when other classes in the school are using the textbook listenings etc I feel I could disadvantage my class by doing this. I'm still using the textbook, but am supplementing with a lot more of my own texts. So, I haven't blindly taken on everything I have read, but I am certainly using these methods to help me find my own.
I'm sure there is more that could go here, but this post is already long enough! I'll update on how I'm getting on soon.
2017 - the year my approach gets better, not just for my workload but for my students too? I hope so.