Mixed level languages classes at Year 8


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Mixed level languages classes at Year 8 What are your students saying? Presentation by Anne Jacques at AFMLTA conference in Sydney 2009

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Mixed level languages classes at Year 8

  1. 1. Language learning in transition What are our students saying? Anne Jacques 2009
  2. 2. Overview Background to the study; the current position of languages in NZ Outline of the case-study Data from the survey Summary of themes from the interviews Introducing the best educated man of his time
  3. 3. Sir Thomas Tom of Appledore
  4. 4. http://www.wordle.net/.
  5. 5. Impetus for research  New Zealand’s new curriculum 2010 establishes Learning Languages as a new learning area.  Contestable Government funding to support initiatives in languages at Primary school.  Hill, K. & Ward, S. (2003). "Passing the baton: the transition from primary to secondary language programs." New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics 9(2): 19 - 36.
  6. 6. Riccarton High School Christchurch, New Zealand Co-educational, 950 students 32 nationalities Decile 7 Languages: French, Japanese, Māori All Year 9s (Year 8s) must choose a language for the year.
  7. 7. Pūtaringamotu – taku turangawaewae
  8. 8. Survey of whole cohort Languages previously studied French Chinese Other French Japanese Māori German Spanish Māori Spanish Japanese Chinese German Other
  9. 9. A typical class
  10. 10. Themes Experiences and motivation An environment of diversity Collaboration Mixed-level classes
  11. 11. Experiences and motivation The importance of relationships: “so I wouldn’t be a nif” “to connect with family” “’cos Māori words are similar to Samoan” “I have relatives and stuff that speak Japanese” Teachers, travel Activities – songs, “real stuff”
  12. 12. An environment of diversity Diversity Multi-level Risk-taking scary, less confident, embarrassed, shy, gets on everyone’s nerves, jealous
  13. 13. Tensions The “expert” role: “but I don’t so much like showing off as such, ‘cos then people just – they get jealous or they just get sick of you showing off and – sometimes you can get away with it if you know when to stop showing off, but … a lot of people don’t know when to stop.” Frustrations at slower/faster students An academic hierarchy
  14. 14. Collaboration - ako Working together Comprehensible input; input + 1 In the mixed class, if you haven’t done it before, you can pick up things from people that have. I think it’s a better idea to, like, just leave it as it is with the mixed thing, so…because then the people that know things can…help the people that don’t, yeah, that know… that don’t know as much and don’t understand. I think I’ve gotten better. I think it’s a lot…Not better as in learning more words, or more things to do, but better in, like, pronunciation, understanding.
  15. 15. …it only takes a couple more minutes, and they’ll get it, and it’s like, yeaaahh, yeah, ok. It doesn’t feel as if it’s holding the learning back, or anything else. It’s just taking a little bit longer, and you get the result for everybody knowing it instead of just half the people.
  16. 16. Mixed-level classes Mixed groups Occasionally separated Choice of activities “like there were three different levels, like, three piles of sheets, and some of them were, like, hard, medium and easy, for you to, like, choose one…”
  17. 17. “ It’s just…it’s good…helping people is kinda cool, ‘cos you know that…you’re not just helping yourself, like, not like… you know what I mean?...Like, doing something else so that other people can have a good chance and that…that makes it better”
  18. 18. You learn stuff easier, easier, when you’re like, enjoying it more.
  19. 19. See you in QUEENSTOWN NZ Association of Language Teachers: Biennial International Conference Scaling remarkable linguistic heights CULTURE CURRICULUM CREATIVITY Sunday 4th July – Wednesday 7th July 2010