Digital learning and Oral fluency in the MFL classroom – Rescuing the neglected skill through an integrated framework

The Language Gym

downloadA pivotal principle of language learning which must be at the heart of any methodology one decides to implement in the MFL classroom, is that – as posited by Cognitive Skill Theory (e.g. Anderson, 2000) – the four main language skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing) are learnt exactly in the same way as any other cognitive skill, through lots of practice and formative feedback on performance. Yet, in 25 years of teaching, in the majority of lessons I have seen speaking and listening skills are practised insufficiently and definitely not to the same extent as reading and writing are. When speaking occurs, it is usually within the context of teacher-to-student  rather than student-to-student interaction.

I still recall vividly the uproar I caused amongst some colleagues when, a few years back, as Head of French, I proposed to them that every lesson should include at least 15 minutes of student-to-student…

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