Stepping Out of the School Gates

Another bend in the road is fast approaching. After more than seven years at William Clarke College as Head of Languages and then Assistant Director of Student Learning, I am leaving to take up a new role at NESA. This will be a totally different experience for me as I’ll be working on syllabus development in Languages – years 7-10 and not working in a school. I’m really excited to focus my creative and professional drive back into languages education – something I’ve been missing a lot in the last year or so.

I have enjoyed working at my current school and feel I’ve made an impact in some small way. It will be very sad leaving, especially the students in my Year 11 French class whom I have been teaching for many years – we even travelled to France together in 2019!

The position is temporary until the end of 2023 and then, who knows…

Photo by Marco Bicca on Unsplash


Remote Learning – Organisational Tools for Students

Photo by STIL on Unsplash

With many students across the world being taught remotely right now, the team at my school have recognised the need for students to be much better at managing themselves and their time. We need to give them the tools for success so I made a quick video tutorial to help them use their Outlook calendar more effectively to plan their day.

Let me know what you think. Credit to Simpletivity for the idea!

Languages Classroom Techniques

I have been delving into the world of formative assessment and the work of Dylan Wiliam. While his name and ideas are not new to me and you, I have decided to use more of his recommended techniques in my French classroom, particularly with year 8. I found the Classroom Experiment videos to be very helpful in doing this. So, what have I tried?

no hands up

  • No hands up – everyone gets thinking time and anyone could be picked to answer a question.
  • Mini whiteboards (very successful) – everyone is the class has to show their understanding which then flows into how I continue the lesson.
  • Secret student – I am the only one who knows who is going to be responsible for the whole class’s behaviour and depending on how that student behaves, the whole class either get a Class Dojo point or not.

As a staff committee we are working through the key ideas from Wiliam, which will then shape our school conference next year. I want to try out some of the methods beforehand in order to really understand their impact on student learning. One of the best known techniques is no grades on student work, which I will be trialing with my Year 11 class soon.

What has worked in your classroom for formative assessment and student achievement?