Monday, 19 May 2008

Brief Update...

Too much going on to sit down and spend a couple of hours adding more - hopefully the end of exam classes will free me up a bit.

Just one thing to add: Radio Lingua podcasts on iTunes, and a horde of other Language Learning pods as well. Keep it up!

Monday, 28 April 2008

Links and updates and Coursework

It was a busy week - all coursework supposedly finished, to be moderated Tuesday and sent away. The usual slew of last-minute finishers; I for one will not be sad to see the back of coursework on a purely personal note.

I've also been trying to get inspiration from other blogs and websites, and there are some really good sources available. For some examples have a look at the links on the right (not necessarily the token football-related one...). They've been responsible for making me think over the last few days, which can't be a bad thing. I'll be writing to credit and thank them.

I also want to get on with a blog, linked to this one, with student input, and hopefully work as well. That could conceivably start next week, with year 12 and 13 input to start with.

And then this week, from Thursday until Sunday, a Key Stage 3 trip to Germany, with maybe some mobile blogging as an experiment.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Bad language

Been thinking about this for a while, and it seems a good topic for discussion.

Swearing is a talent, and you can separate people into those who can't and those who can do it properly. It's not big and it's not clever, obviously, but it's certainly a mark of someone who can use language effectively. I had friends in Germany who spoke impeccable English, but as soon as they swore it became apparent that it wasn't their first language. Usually they went way over the top of what was acceptable due to not appreciating the power of the words they were using.

Which brings me to my recent thoughts. The syllabus we teach to secondary pupils in KS3, 4 and 5 only mentions marginally "Youth Culture" and frequently only in a preachy, over-protective way. Yet looking back on my own inquiries when I went on our German exchange at the age of 13, I wanted, without delay, to know as many ways as possible to offend the grown-ups around us. The idea of asking a teacher for this kind of knowledge would have been horrifying. But still; why aren't we teaching what pupils want to learn?

I've pointed our kids in the direction of the BBC Language Learning site numerous times, and they'd never mentioned or spotted the "cool German" area (why does it have to be "cool"? But that's another thing...) so I showed it them. There are some quite fruity phrases included, verpiss dich, leck mich am Arsch etc (though they left off aber kräftig, shame). I instinctively felt quite nervous, without reason. They, however, enjoyed it. My problem is now how to follow it up without causing offence...

Post Number One...

This is very much a learning mission for me. I'm going to try to make this a relevant, interesting and amusing (though I'm aware that won't always be possible given the main topic) area which, in a year's time, will be somewhere to keep up to date with the issues, concerns and problems of language learning in secondary education in the UK and maybe beyond.

I'd like it to be a resource for my pupils to visit to find out more about learning languages, and a way for me to try to stay on the ball with what's going on.

You never know, it might even work!