Thanks for dropping by my blog!
Every now and again I post an article or two on all sorts of Modern Foreign Languages teaching which I’m enthusiastic about. Please feel free to leave a comment – this is intended as a place where the practical side of teaching a foreign language can be discussed – and if you find something useful or you think someone else might, please do share it using the buttons at the foot of each post.
I have taught French & Spanish now for almost 25 years and over this time I have worked in 5, 11-16 or 11-18 comprehensive schools in the state sector, from very large to quite small, and I was Head of MFL in 3 of them. For just over 3 years I ran a language school I set up in Madrid, where I taught English as a foreign language to primary and secondary age children and courses for adults. More recently, for the last two years I have been Head of French in a Prep School in East Anglia, my first experience of teaching in an independent school, and in the September 2020 I will be moving across to our Senior School to take up the role of Head of Modern Languages there.
For the whole of my career, my focus has always been very much set on the how? and the why? of our teaching. I trained at St. Martin’s College, Lancaster, (now the University of Cumbria) under James Burch, and I have continued to collaborate with James on a number of projects ever since. I worked with Wendy Ward for 7 hugely inspirational years and I still want to be like her when I grow up. Wendy (Bromidge, as she was then) became very well known for the ground-breaking video course she produced with James Burch back in 1993 and published by CiLT, Learning to Communicate, and it’s still amazingly inspirational.
In Madrid I taught at my language school, Hello James!, and ran courses in aspects of communicative methodology for MFL teachers in the UK and in Spain. I’m particularly interested in maximising the use of the target language in teaching and learning, especially through the development of linguistic routines, and in inductive approaches to teaching grammar. As a magician and a member of The Magic Circle, I also really enjoy using magic in teaching to make some memorable moments in the classroom. Whilst in Spain, I regularly nipped over to the UK to run INSET courses for teachers of MFL and to speak at conferences and schools by invitation, which I continue to do when time allows. Some of these courses were filmed and released in DVD format and supplied to teachers and schools all over the UK. Currently, they are unavailable… but watch this space!
I love teaching, and I really enjoy learning from other teachers, too. Please remember that none of the articles I post on here is intended to convey the idea that I think I’ve got it all cracked now, and I can pontificate via cyberspace on what we should all be doing! In fact, it’s not having it all sorted that keeps me interested and keeps me searching. So join in the discussion, and please – teach me a thing or two! All views expressed here are, of course, my own. If you want to get in touch, please use the contact form below – your email address and message will reach me but they will not show as public on the blog.