Product reviews for Making Every MFL Lesson Count

Kerry Phipps - Frensham Heights School, Surrey
This is a relevant and useful publication for secondary teachers of MFL. Within the context of the post-Brexit landscape, James Maxwell synthesises research-based evidence on teaching and learning and its  application in the classroom, using personal, collective and online experience. He draws on research from The British Council, The Sutton Trust and work from key authors, trainers and consultants such as Gianfranco Conti, Joe Dale and Steve Smith.

Maxwell provides practical strategies within a framework of six interrelated pedagogical principles: Challenge, Explanation, Modelling, Practice, Feedback and  Questioning. These underpin theoretical evidence, and each chapter is clearly structured with helpful -˜Reflective Questions' at the end. Maxwell emphasises that -˜Challenge' should be an overarching aim of  classroom culture, teaching strategies, routines, vocabulary, grammar and the language we use to communicate expectations. He advocates the creation of a -˜healthy struggle zone' of meaningful challenge without overburdening the working memory or causing cognitive overload.

The section on Explanation explores strategies and ideas for introducing vocabulary and grammar, the premise of chunking, the value of phonics and the role of songs and mnemonics as powerful memorisation tools.

Maxwell describes knowledge organisers as a useful road map, containing key vocabulary, concepts and structures, and explains how they can reduce cognitive load in the Modelling chapter. Retrieval Practice is recommended as one of many valuable revision methods, with Quizlet, Quizizz and Kahoot described as effective Apps for vocabulary practice.

In the chapter on Feedback, Maxwell suggests techniques for effective and efficient marking, and for closing the learning gap. He also describes the techniques of -˜Mark Smart' using codes, -˜Stop the Bus', self-marking, and the value of making time for reflection and re-drafting in class. I would recommend this publication as an excellent reference book, full of clear, practical tips, examples and ideas to help with planning and delivering effective MFL lessons.
Guest | 27/10/2020 00:00
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