Welcome to the new academic year!  And to the PGCE students I met around and about on courses and conferences last year, welcome to your new career!  To help you on your way, I’m kicking off the year on the blog with some daily articles from the archive which are intended to help you find your way through information overload in your first week.  Have fun as you start your new job!

There are lots of things coming up in this new year which I’m very excited about.  Friday 19 October sees my first collaboration with Philip Allan, the INSET provider – I’m presenting a 6-hour course entitled ‘Teaching Tenses Through The Target Language’ which looks specifically at strategies for teaching this important element of grammar in Spanish.  This is a brand-new, intensive course which we’ve been planning for the last year.  For full details of the course, to be held in London, and to book your place, click here.

Then on Saturday 20 October, my third visit to Language Show Live! at Olympia, London.  I’m presenting a new seminar called ‘gramMAGICal structures’ from 12.00-12.45 p.m.  Some readers know that since before I became a teacher I have also carried out professional engagements as a magician and I’m a member of The Magic Circle in London.  I’ve always been fascinated by how magic and teaching can work together as a way of helping pupils to use language communicatively, whether they watch a trick performed, learn how to do it or by learning to perform it.  We’re going to look at that in some depth in my seminar and I’ll also show how this can be used in a Challenge Day setting for whole year groups.  Magicians can rest easy – like all members of The Magic Circle, I’ve promised not to reveal professional secrets – but you will learn some simple and effective tricks that your class could learn and perform within the time you’d have available in a lesson or in a Challenge Day session.  Come along to Language Show Live! – it’ll be great fun!

Towards the end of term, Philip Allan are holding their Foreign Languages Teachers’ National Conference in London on Thursday 6 December.  Jo Peach, Duncan Byrne, Nick Mair, Greg Horton, Joe Dale and Martine Pillette are all presenting sessions relating to quality of teaching and inspection frameworks, the future of MFL teaching, CLIL, severe grading, communication in the classroom, blogging, Year 7 transition … and then little old me presenting a session called ‘Mind the Gap’, which will look at an approach to differentiation using preferred learning styles.  As always, Philip Allan days are always great events, brilliantly organised and worth coming along to.  Hope to see you there!

As I’ll be over in the UK for the conference on Thursday 6 December, I also have either Wednesday 5 or Friday 7 December free in my diary – if your school is one of those considering having me in for a day to consult on teaching methodology, this is a great time to do it!  Just drop me an email (info@JamesStubbsLanguages.co.uk) and we can discuss your requirements.

And one last thing…  Next July, 8 teachers will have the opportunity to come to my language school in Madrid to take part in the very first International Training Course, a 4-day event with a very specific brief – to train MFL teachers in how to teach communicatively through the medium of the target language.  I’m limiting attendance to 8 teachers so that we can really get to grips with all the issues involved over the four days and so that I can show you how to roll out the training across your department when you return to your school.  All the details will be posted on my website www.JamesStubbsLanguages.co.uk very soon!  If you want to be the first to hear about it, drop me an email and I’ll make sure you don’t miss a thing!

So, Happy New Year!  Let’s get started!