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Improving listening skills MFL

Improving listening skills

The most difficult skill?

Having seen lots of posts on social media and received a number of messages about how to improve listening skills (especially since the release of the latest GCSE results), it seems really clear that this is the skill that both teachers and students alike struggle with the most. So, how can you improve your listening skills, either to pass an exam or simply to be able to understand real-life conversations in a foreign language? How can teachers help their students to develop their listening skills, without simply doing ‘test’ after ‘test’ – i.e. describe the task, play the recording, repeat the recording, go through the answers, rinse and repeat – which, let’s face it, is pretty boring for everyone!

improving listening skills MFL

Ideas for good practice

I’ve reflected on my ideas for good practice in this area and what follows are some of the things I do to help both myself and my students become better listeners in a foreign language. The tips here are intended as practice in lessons, rather than what to do during the exam, but if activities like these are done regularly, an actual listening exam should be a doddle!

OK, so you might not be quite as excited as these kids… but you get the idea!

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September – a time for resolutions?

I’ve always found the start of the new academic year to be a great time for making resolutions… much more so than January, which in the world of education is in the middle of the year and dark and cold and somehow already feels too late to be making resolutions. However, in September, I’m full of energy after a lovely summer holiday, excited about teaching new classes and meeting new students and colleagues, and generally much more motivated to get the shiny, fresh, brand new academic year off to a great start!

So, with all this abundant energy, I’ve made 3 ‘September Resolutions’ to focus on this academic year…

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Reading books in another language

I’ve recently been challenged to post 10 book covers on Facebook that have ‘rocked my world’ and it got me thinking about reading books in foreign languages.

Before I start singing the praises of reading books in a foreign language, I have to say this loudly and clearly… it’s really hard! I find it takes me at least twice as long to read a book in another language, and it takes more than twice as much determination to finish reading the book as it does when I read one in English. But then the sense of achievement when I finish it is probably about 10 times as great … so it’s all worth the effort in the end!

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using language games

Playing games is a great way to learn languages!

Whether you are playing traditional word games, such as I-Spy or 20 Questions, or purpose-made board games and card games, playing while you learn is a great way of staying motivated!

Particular favourites of mine are the shopping list game from Orchard Toys, which is even available in French (along with a number of other great games) – Orchard Toys French games Continue reading “Playing games is a great way to learn languages!”

Learn vocabulary with memrise.com

Our favourite website to use for vocab learning is memrise.com

It’s free to join, and there is something for every level.

We have lots of courses on memrise, especially if you are studying for your GCSEs, so check them out and have fun while learning some new words!

https://www.memrise.com/course/1522065/aqa-french-gcse-new-spec-general-vocab/

https://www.memrise.com/course/1142252/aqa-spanish-gcse-school-and-jobs/

https://www.memrise.com/course/1142199/aqa-german-gcse-school-and-jobs/

You’re never too old to learn a language

Many people think that you can’t learn a new language once you’re an adult… but research shows this simply isn’t the case!

http://www.fluentu.com/blog/can-adults-learn-a-second-language/?lang=en

Furthermore, being able to speak another language can actually keep your brain more active and help to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia.

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/news/article/164/bilingual_brains_are_more_resilient_to_dementia_cause_by_alzheimer_s_disease