10 tried and tested language learning activities that never fail to engage students, brought together by Languages editor and experienced MFL teacher Sheena Newland.

by Sheena Newland
10th September 2020



Starting out as a new teacher or PGCE student is really exciting but it can also be incredibly daunting. You have so much energy and enthusiasm. You know exactly what you want to teach. But it can take time to figure out how to help students actually learn. There's so much to think about at once, from planning to behaviour management to marking.

When I think back to my own training year (nearly 20 years ago now), I wish I'd had access to the wealth of resources and teaching ideas available to PGCE students now. MFL teachers are always generous about sharing their ideas online, and there's a proliferation of great education blogs, podcasts, resource websites and social media teaching groups to choose from.

However, sometimes there are almost too many sources of inspiration out there and it can be overwhelming. Where to start, when you're right at the beginning of developing as a classroom teacher? I wanted to put together just 10 tried and trusted activities that new teachers could use and practise and adapt. Ideas that all MFL teachers have in their toolkit, which can be easily tweaked to suit the language, topic and level that you are teaching.

The 10 ideas that I have picked are all activities that my colleagues and I use time and time again. They engage students, make learning fun and help to embed new language and skills. I've included simple instructions, tips for different approaches and links to example resources on our website that make it easy for you adapt or overwrite the content. The ideas include competitive games, pair and team work activities, starters and plenaries, and skills work.

These ideas and resources have all been used in training sessions that I run for MFL PGCE students at Bristol University. Here's a quick summary of the 10 activities:

  1. Dominoes
  2. Vocab crunch
  3. Quiz, quiz, trade
  4. Mind reader
  5. Scrambled sentences
  6. Translation activities
  7. Four in a row
  8. Dice activities
  9. Running dictation
  10. Odd one out

You can find out more about how to use and adapt these 10 teaching ideas in the resource below.

 






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