Modern foreign language teaching – what the evidence has found

The Teaching Schools Council has published their latest report into modern foreign language teaching. 

Expert reaction on the teaching of modern foreign languages from Caroline Conlon, lecturer in Languages in Education for the PGCE Languages course at the UCL Institute of Education, London:

“The London Providers’ is the name given to the Greater London university initial teacher education (ITE) providers. The London Providers meet twice a year to share experiences, approaches, examples of best practice and responses to on-going challenges in our subject which still endures a risk of fragility with issues around uptake and teacher shortages.

Our experience and research has found that ongoing discussions about MFL pedagogy, informed by advances in theory and grounded in classroom experience, can have a positive impact on practice. Our university-school partnerships create an environment for reflective practice, encouraging a spirit of exploration and experimentation. As Jane Jones (Chapter 1) says, ‘ …there are a great many accounts of small-scale research projects undertaken by MFL student teachers and teacher, but these often remain hidden, unshared and unpublished.’

This book highlights the advances that have been made by some of our partner schools who are taking risks to explore creative approaches to motivate learners and to encourage them to experiment with and use their Foreign Languages to communicate ‘meanings that matter’ (Hawkins). The eight chapters share the strengths and successes which these relationships bring to our subject, focussing on current challenges faced by all MFL teams. These include teachers as action-researchers, the creation and nurture of resilient MFL teams, KS2-KS3 transition, literature, film, translation and formative assessment in the target language.

The partnerships are enriched by London’s dynamic, diverse, multilingual profile where Foreign Language teachers are able to contribute to learners’ wider language development.”


Read more: ‘Success Stories from Secondary Foreign Languages Classrooms’ – Models from London school partnerships with universities, by Colin Christie and Caroline Conlon


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