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David Wilson

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About David Wilson

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    Experienced Member
  • Birthday 05/24/1947

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    http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com/
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    Newcastle upon Tyne
  1. Holger: Have you done an online search with MFL and Moodle as search terms? I've just done one and several schools and courses were flagged up: http://learning.thedustonschool.northants....egory.php?id=16 http://www.rsc-london.ac.uk/cms/865/ http://www.ag-consulting.co.uk/mflelearning/tools.htm http://moodle.fallibroome.cheshire.sch.uk/...egory.php?id=12 When I've researched the use of ICT in MFL, I've always started with the problem - the teaching point within MFL I wanted to impart - before proceeding to the solution, which may or may not involve ICT. Choosing the solution before defin
  2. The teaching dream I used to have regularly was one about the A-level German Literature exam. I would go into the exam room to have a look at the paper, only to find that it had no questions about any of the set books I had taught my students. I had taught them the wrong set books, those prescribed either for the previous year's exam session or the following year's. I could barely look my students in the eye and they glared accusingly back at me from their desks. This never happened to me in real life, but I still occasionally dream the same nightmare even though I last taught A-level back in
  3. On the TES Forum, a poster drew my attention to an interesting statistical analysis of the relative difficulty of school subjects when they are examined at GCSE level: http://www.cemcentre.org/Documents/News/su...tiesbyrasch.pdf This topic seems timely as the annual debate goes on about what constitutes a "hard" and a "soft" subject. The traditional universities seem to favour the former, while even brighter school students are increasingly choosing to play safe with the latter at KS4 option time. I'm particularly concerned about the way this trend is impinging on continuation rates for MFL.
  4. I'm glad I moved from MFL into Special Educational Needs in the mid-1990s. When my school was 11-18, it used to be a worry getting enough "bums on seats" to run a one-class (Upper and Lower Sixth together) A-level German course. Now the problem is affecting KS4 MFL. Surely the government must have seen this coming when they decided to make MFL study voluntary after key stage 3. The oft-vaunted rejoinder that primary MFL will compensate for the drop in pupil numbers doesn't give me any satisfaction. I lived through the first, Nuffield, primary MFL initiative back in the late 1960s and early 19
  5. I agree with Graham. I check into the forum regularly, always clicking the "View New Posts" button, and I'm always disappointed when the JFK thread is the only one to be active. These days, I spend most of my "online forum time" with the TES Forum, which has very active modern languages and special needs sections, the two areas that interest me professionally. The TES Forum has the advantage of a "critical mass" of primary and secondary school teachers who are prepared to read messages and respond with advice and opinion. The forum has an excellent resource bank to which I have contributed - s
  6. David, This is an interesting viewpoint and very logical. However, it leaves one very vital step out of the equation. New tools and technologies are not created by teachers and are not developed with teachers as their core audience. Flash, for example, was put together to assist web designers in their work. Therefore, it is up to teachers to spot the potential in these applications and exploit them for their own ends. In the grand scheme of things, Flash is new and we are just starting to unlock its potential. It will only be when usage among teachers increases that we can say with exactly
  7. My main concern is that starting with a computer program - Flash - instead of a particular teaching point/activity/lesson, which any teacher would recognise - is putting the cart before the horse. There will always be a technological divide among teachers so long as the ICT-adept talk about a "new way of thinking" without anchoring it to at least a few curriculum-based examples which would be familiar to all teachers. There has to be a strong, compelling reason to make initiative-weary teachers change their practice and adopt a new teaching tool. In the 1990s, my brother encouraged me to set
  8. Well, you might begin by getting acquainted with the authoritative comparative education textbooks, e.g.: George Bereday, "Comparative method in education" (Holt, Rinehart and Winston) I. L. Kandel, "The new era in education: a comparative study" (Harrap) Edmund J. King, "Other schools and ours" (Holt, Rinehart and Winston) Victor Mallinson, "An introduction to the study of comparative education" (Heineman) Be aware, though that the above may be considered a little outdated: they were recommended in the 1970s and 1980s and I dare say other luminaries may have superseded them. I've just d
  9. Sohair: I know a little about comparative education, having submitted an MEd research thesis on the teaching of English and French in the schools of the German Democratic Republic back in the mid-1980s. I made a point then of studying the authorities on comparative education, including Marc-Antoine Jullien de Paris who founded the discipline, and such luminaries as Kandel and Mallinson. One of the best introductions to the subject of comparative education is Bereday's "Comparative Method in Education", which explains, with examples, how to analyse and evaluate an element of education in one,
  10. My only experience of "Flash" is when websites ask me to download software to run it when I access them. I'm afraid my reaction is simply to exit the site concerned. I commend you on beginning with "how TEACHERS can use Flash" rather than "How to use Flash". I wonder, however, whether that goes back far enough down the problem-solving path. My "take" on problem-solving is that we teachers have to begin with a proper definition of a teaching and learning problem before we start looking round for solutions, some of which might involve information technology. There are so many ICT solutions arou
  11. Last weekend, on another forum, a contributor complained about the plethora of unexpanded abbreviations and acronyms used in educational inclusion in general and special educational needs in particular. I enjoy problem-solving and did some research on existing abbreviations lists, compiled by national government, local authorities and support organisations. No list seemed definitive, or regularly kept up to date, so I decided to compile my own. It's already been welcomed by two online forums dedicated to SEN, so I thought I'd draw colleagues' attention to its existence here. I am sure there ar
  12. Chinese, alongside Arabic and Farsi, is also the American choice of future school foreign language on "national security" grounds, according to a recent American Educational Research Association article entitled "Foreign Language Instruction: Implementing the Best Teaching Methods" at http://www.aera.net/uploadedFiles/Journals...RP_Spring06.pdf It makes interesting reading as it illustrates how much we and the States have in common when it comes to the teaching of MFL in schools. As for the point of teaching MFL in schools, one could argue that most countries will sell things to us in Engli
  13. There's a new MFL-specific "Ask an Expert" session running throughout May on the BECTa Schools website, entitled "ICT activities, resources and approaches for inclusive MFL teaching", at: http://schools.becta.org.uk/index.php?sect...022007631de7c77 I'm delighted to say that Graham Davies' excellent ICT4LT website has finally got a mention on the BECTa site! It's listed among the resources and in one of the answers to questions. Do come and ask a question if you have an interest in the use of ICT with "included" foreign language learners, e.g. those with special educational needs, the gifted
  14. I agree with Graham. During my surgery last year, I was eager to maintain as much control over my life as possible while I was in hospital. Every day I purchase a copy of the Daily Mail, whose anti-state-education stance I abhor, but whose puzzles, cartoons and "answers to questions" I enjoy each morning before school begins. I looked forward in hospital to the man coming round and selling newspapers so that I could do my daily soduku. It kept my daily routine going, something I value very much as a single person. Like lots of people of my baby-boom generation, I grew up listening to the "wir
  15. Having been brought up on the grammar-translation method, I found audio-lingualism a nightmare. During the school year 1968-1969, when I worked as an English Language Assistant in a lycée in central France, I decided to attend a course of lectures for foreigners at the local university. Language laboratory courses were on offer at intermediate and advanced level. With the arrogance of youth, I decided on the advanced course. Hubris soon had its consequences. In the first lesson, over my headphones, I heard 30-word sentences in the present tense which I had to repeat with each verb converted to
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