Sunday, 13 October 2013

Prepostorous. Or is it?

Preposterous = contrary to nature, reason, or sense; absurd; ridiculous
(Collins Online Dictionary)

I think I used all these words at least once when I saw our target levels for KS3. Maybe it was just as well they were a long time coming. The dark, heavy storm cloud of TwoSubLevelsOfProgress has well and truly rained down! I have mentioned this before (Humanity 1...) so apologies for an overlap!

The day after the target levels were put on to Sims, I had a meeting with my line manager, and was going to the meeting, again, with a "These targets are impossible, unfair and a nonsense. I feel disheartened at every progress meeting I go to, where MFL look utterly rubbish compared to most other subjects. Yet I know that students in MFL last year made progress of at least 3 sublevels on average. The Year 9 average was 4 sublevels.

So the meeting started with a "I can't support these target levels each time they appear on the students' reports 3 times a term". But it finished with an awful lot of reflection from me.

I have changed my train of thought and approach completely. The good news for us as MFL deliverers is that the curriculum is now ours to shape. So if Year 8s have level 6s and 7s to achieve, than my goodness that is what we are going to drive them towards.

Questions I asked myself were:

  • What is preventing the students from hitting those very high targets?
  • Why shouldn't they aim for those targets?
  • Why can't they reach those targets with the current SoWs?
  • What do I need to change to make the targets achievable, both as a HoD and as a practitioner?
  • How can I further differentiate to make progress even more steep?
Given that tenses are the doorway to the higher levels, they have to feature from an early stage. And what is stopping that? The curriculum and SoWs!

Not anymore!

So I am reshaping how I teach, how we teach, what we teach, and when. I started the new year with refreshed determination and optimism, and this has only served to increase it. I have said this week of my line manager that "she asks all the right questions, even if I don't feel that they are right at the time", and I am grateful that she is my line manager. She really gets me thinking about what is right. Right for the students.

So to the levels 6 and 7, I will do my best to enable the students to reach the highest heights and join you.


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