Exploring Subject Pedagogy. French- past tense I have addressed French as an area that needs further development. I have highlighted in my weekly evaluations my concerns about teaching a year 9 class as I strongly feel that my knowledge would be stretched far beyond its limits. However, as I am keen to improve and enhance my linguistic skills, I have taken on board the challenge and done my most to ensure that pupils are given ample opportunity to understand and manipulate the language.
Given that the pupils are a bottom set, I eave found it even more challenging to cater for their needs, however, I have created a lot of authentic resources, been proactive in terms of seeking advice from other members of staff and made full use of my subject knowledge audit as a way to enhance my knowledge and understanding of French. I used the current unit of work provided by the department and made some amendments with the permission of the main teacher.
I explored the different assessments (formative and summarize) that the unit of work aimed to incorporate by the end of the term and made note of hither the activities incorporated in the unit of work addressed all four skill areas. I also made sure that the activities detailed were appropriate for their current level. Once I had obtained sufficient information, I decided to look at the resources available (textbooks) and used this as a tool to help me understand the vocabulary and structures that pupils needed to know for each unit.
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As aforementioned, pupils were working towards a level 4 which is way below the national level for their age group. To ensure that the content of the work illustrated in the textbook was appropriate for their level, I had to adapt all the material and create my own resources and power points to water-down the text so that it was do-able but at the same time presented opportunities for a challenge.
Once I had a sound understanding as to what topic I was expected to teach, what the content of the topic entailed, the levels the pupils expected to achieve and the vocabulary used, I decided to draft a lesson overview and calculate approximately how long each topic would take to deliver in the given timeshare (Easter).
Once the lessons had been mapped ND the direction confirmed, I decided to analyses the vocabulary for each unit and highlight the potential difficulties that pupils may encounter so that I could use my knowledge to find an appropriate solution such as making flashcards so that pupils could have more opportunity to practice challenging concepts, making sure that my explanations are concise and clear, making provisions for reinforced activities and extension tasks etc. I regularly conversed with my subject mentor and identified areas in which I had concerns.
Based on her advice, I was about to reflect on how articulacy grammatical concepts in French should be delivered to the class. It was thought that the best way to introduce the past tense to weak students was via constant repetition and reinforcement activities. I decided to use a lot of hands-on activities to help pupils engage in the task and to more importantly, understand the concept. In addition, I used a lot of questioning techniques and made sure that pupils were given sufficient opportunities to work together to solve tasks instead of the exercise being completely teacher-led.
Even though this is a bottom set class, I eave always maintained the belief that pupils should take more accountability and responsibility for their learning irrespective of their ability. Therefore, I tried to devise ways in which pupils could become more independent and less needy. I shared my ideas with my subject mentor and she seemed to very enthusiastic about the notion and encouraged me to pursue my quest for greater autonomy in the classroom. By making subtle adaptations to the unit of work, I believe that I was able to incorporate a greater element of fun and appropriately matched the tasks to pupils learning needs.