Members of the Modern Foreign Language department talk about how they are adapting to the online environment
As we head into week two of term three of the current school closure, it is heartening to see our staff and students adapt to an online learning environment with enthusiasm and a desire to maintain a high-quality learning environment. Ms Pauline Gilme (French) and Ms Sophie Devonshire (Spanish) from the Modern Foreign Language (MFL) Department are two of our superstar teachers ensuring that students are staying ahead of the curve as they remain safe at home.
According to Ms Gilme, preparation of lessons has to be thought through to translate well to distance learning. Her use of a range of resources means that students' course work is diversified and engaging.
"My students revise their French vocabulary using awesome programs such as 'Linguascope'. This application allows students to work on their grammar using sentence-builders and has proved to be one of my best tools. My younger students also use online research to look into aspects of French culture, which are different to ours," she said.
Meanwhile, Ms Devonshire uses some other methods which take away the difficulty of not being face to face.
I am a big fan of quizzes, so using the building blocks of Spanish grammar they log in to either 'Quizlet' or 'Kahoot' and participate in a fun test to see how they are developing. Also, I encourage students to use the online learning platform 'Seneca'. It's free, and it has unique algorithms for GCSE students to increase their knowledge," she remarked.
The MFL Department shares resources across subjects translating the course material so that it fits in with their specialisation. This, and regular check-ins including weekly 'Zoom' meetings, ensure students receive diversified and creative lessons.
"Nothing beats face-to-face interaction with students. I love being able to see their expressions in a classroom setting and creating lessons that require real-time collaboration. Still, in the absence of that I know we are giving it our all until we can get back into the classroom", Ms Devonshire muses.
With that said, parents have been positive and understanding of the challenges faced by teachers such as Ms Devonshire and Ms Gilme. The first week was a challenge, but our practitioners have been able to strike the right balance of screen time with downtime. The students themselves are enjoying the new challenge, and they are communicating that to parents who see the effort Shrewsbury is making to keep their children focused.
"We are making sure that things don't get stale either. I have plans for students to create their own learning videos where they pretend to be YouTube influencers. I model this in French first and then ask them to make their own. I am sure that the results will be ‘fantastique!’" Ms Gilme exclaims.
Meanwhile, Ms Devonshire has been adding a musical element to her distance learning classes.
"KS4 have recently enjoyed activities based around uplifting (and sometimes a bit cheesy) Coronavirus charity songs which are really popular in Spain at the moment. I can't wait to post some on social media!"
We look forward to the results, so make sure you regularly check our social media pages.