This year I was fortunate enough to be invited to give a workshop at the Language South East Conference on the benefits of using the excellent educational teaching and learning platform Zondle. Zondle covers all subject areas but this workshop looked specifically at various ways to use it effectively with MFL.
One of the main themes of the session was the motivation of boys. Delegates were engaged in discussions as to whether boys are motivated differently and how we can encourage and engage them in the MFL classroom. The need to provide good role models and tap into their competitive side was highlighted as a strategy to hook boys into modern foreign language learning.
Comparisons were made between famous sports stars who play or have played abroad. These included icons such as Gareth Bale, Jonny Wilkinson, Gary Lineker, Ian Rush, Pepe Guardiola, Paul Gascoigne and David Beckham. Those who became fluent in another language and who failed to to do so was pondered. What were the reasons for linguistic success? What were the barriers to success? The inspirational idea that ‘where there is a will there is a way' was promoted as a means to engender self belief and increase confidence among young people, many of whom may struggle with and fail to see the value of learning a foreign language.
Delegates were then shown how to create their own topics which they could set as home learning tasks, as formative or summative assessments or use for team play in lessons. The high score nature of the global gaming culture taps into boys' competitiveness and here is where Zondle,-with its wide variety of games and the fact that students can compete with each other- works wonders. The fact that the leaderboard can be updated every 30 seconds only adds to the intense levels of competition between pupils and classes.