6 books every language teacher should read during the lockdown

Independent Thinking on MFL: How to make modern foreign language teaching exciting, inclusive and relevant

Learning a new language has the power to transform a life, as well as help break down the barriers that seem to be re-emerging between nations, cultures and people. Yet few people in the UK look back on their MFL lessons with fondness, and even fewer can go beyond the basics of bitte, por favor or s’il vous plait when they do attempt to stretch their foreign tongues.

They would, however, if they’d had Crista Hazell as their teacher.

Drawing on her many years of experience as an MFL teacher, head of department and senior leadership team member, Crista takes teachers on a tour of how to get the teaching of a new language right. From how to hook students in the minute they enter the classroom to ensuring that the vocabulary sticks, Crista shares tips, techniques and inspirational ideas geared to help teachers build confidence, increase enjoyment and improve outcomes as they take their MFL teaching to a whole new level.

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Fun Learning Activities for Modern Foreign Languages

Students learning modern foreign languages often comment that it is just too hard to learn, and remember, all of vocabulary presented to them. Yes, there is a lot of content that needs to be covered, and a lot of vocabulary that needs to be learned. But there is a way of making this process engaging and motivating. Language lessons needn’t be full of grammar worksheets, endless drilling and rote learning lists of vocabulary.

Learning languages isn’t always fun and games. But these aren’t games; they are fun learning activities. And they can help revolutionise language teaching; enabling teachers to authoritatively impart knowledge while fostering a thirst for knowledge and love of learning in their students.

First, the Vocab Fun Learning Activities (VFLAs) learn the vocabulary in ways which will improve recognition and recall. Then, the Fun Learning Activities use this vocabulary knowledge to build sentences and paragraphs; explore and use this language while keeping the whole class engaged and actively learning. The activities are designed to encourage all students to participate and learn more through enjoyment.

Based on Jake Hunton‘s extensive classroom experience, and underpinned by research into how students learn best, each activity comes complete with a detailed explanation and plenty of ideas for variations, differentiations and extensions. The activities come with example vocabulary lists in French, German and Spanish as a starting point, which are all available for download via a link provided in the book. However, the activities will work effectively in any language and with any vocabulary list of the teacher’s choosing, and can be adapted to suit every topic, learning objective and age range.

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Breaking the Sound Barrier: Teaching Language Learners How to Listen

This book is for language teachers who want to help their students become more effective listeners. It focuses on the processes involved in aural comprehension, blending the latest research evidence with over 200 engaging listening activities, as well as lots of useful practical classroom ideas and lesson sequences.

Chapters include the principles of “listening as modelling”, developing phonological and lexical retrieval skills, grammatical parsing, interpersonal and task-based listening. There are also chapters on how to make the most of songs, cognitive and metacognitive strategies, assessment and preparing for examinations. The final chapter offers a framework for language teachers or departments who wish to develop a strategy for improved listening. The book aims to place listening at the forefront of lesson planning. Gianfranco Conti and Steve Smith have around 60 years of classroom experience between them and a track record of offering instantly usable, low-preparation activities for the classroom, supported by second language acquisition research. Their handbook The Language Teacher Toolkit is already widely used around the world. Too often, classroom listening is neglected by teachers and a source of fear for learners; how can we make it a successful and enjoyable experience for all? This book is unique in its genre, in proposing a different and more impactful answer to this question.

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Making Every MFL Lesson Count: Six principles to support modern foreign language teaching

James A. Maxwell‘s Making Every MFL Lesson Count: Six principles to support modern foreign language teaching shows modern foreign languages (MFL) teachers how they can take their students on a learning journey that both educates and inspires.

Writing in the practical, engaging style of the award-winning Making Every Lesson Count, experienced MFL teacher James A. Maxwell empowers educators with the strategies and know-how to boost their students attainment, engagement and enthusiasm in the MFL classroom.

Making Every MFL Lesson Count is underpinned by six pedagogical principles – challenge, explanation, modelling, practice, feedback and questioning – and helps MFL teachers ensure that students leave their lessons with richer vocabulary, a better grasp of grammar and the skills and confidence to put the language learnt into practice. Bursting with templates, examples and flexible frameworks, this gimmick-free guide provides educators with a range of practical techniques designed to enhance their students linguistic awareness and help them transfer the target language into long-term memory.

James skilfully marries evidence-based practice with collective experience and, in doing so, inspires a challenging approach to secondary school MFL teaching. Furthermore, he concludes each chapter with a series of questions that will inspire reflective thought and encourage teachers to relate the content to their own classroom practice.

Suitable for MFL teachers of students aged 11-18 years.

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100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers: Outstanding MFL Lessons

Split into sections on grammar, vocabulary, speaking, listening, reading, writing, translation and revision, 100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers: Outstanding MFL Lessons presents tried-and-tested ideas that cover all aspects of the modern foreign languages (MFL) curriculum. Experienced MFL teacher, Dannielle Warren, shares interactive games and activities to support and challenge all students learning a modern foreign language. This accessible resource presents suggestions for helping students revise effectively and strategies for marking and feedback to enable their progress. It is suitable for all MFL teachers, regardless of the language they teach, and includes examples in French, Spanish and German. With online resources and ideas ranging from pass the parcel to drawing dictation, 100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers: Outstanding MFL Lessons is ideal for all teachers in need of some inspiration and fresh ideas.

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100 Ways to Teach Language Online: Powerful Tools for the Online and Flipped Classroom Language Teacher

From Shane Dixon, the author of the best-selling 100 TESOL Activities for Teachers, comes an updated and expanded edition now revised for the online language teacher!

100 Ways to Teach Language Online will give you simple, powerful, and effective teaching tools as you make the switch from a traditional classroom to an online setting. Designed to be practical, the activities in this book will get students to communicate and interact, and make language come alive in the online classroom while still meeting the needs of the digital learning environment. This book is organised in easy to follow categories that include the most common activities in English language teaching, as well as a lesson planning overview. The lesson plans are broken up into Warm-ups, Guided Practice, Independent Practice, Listening Activities, Reading Activities, Writing Activities, Speaking Activities, Vocabulary Activities, and Teaching Language Learner Autonomy. Above all, this manual is your toolbox, meaning that it is best used when you feel stuck or unable to think of how best to teach a particular subject matter. In other words, think of this book as a way to jumpstart your brain… especially when it stalls. The activities are academically sound, easy to follow and implement, can be easily adapted to a number of contexts, take little or no time to prepare, and are adaptable to all learning levels. Whether you are new to online teaching or simply need a quick reference guide to get your creative juices flowing, this is the book for you.

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