Sunday, 16 October 2011

I am not an MFL teacher

The more I find out about literacy and maths in MFL teaching, the more I think that I am not an MFL teacher at all.  It would appear that I am, in fact, a teacher of all subjects, using the medium of Spanish or French.

I reinforce literacy and maths from the students' previous key stage.  I explore traditional music and art by artists from other countries.  I cover geography and cultural identity, and aspects of history such as the age of exploration and William the Conqueror.  I examine health and healthy lifestyles as well as other aspects of citizenship and the PHSCE curriculum.

Is it the same for teachers of other subjects?  When I explain acute accents in French, I always refer to acute angles in maths.  Do maths teachers refer to acute accents in French when teaching that aspect of geometry?

Is this true?  Am I being conceited about the importance and value of my subject?  Or am I showing classic MFL-teacher insecurity, the insecurity of one who has to constantly justify the worth of their subject?

I would be very interested to hear your comments and thoughts.


  1. I guess this stems from the fact that our subject is all about the medium (language), not the content. This is one reason many kids do not take easily to language learning when they might like, say, history. This is what forces language teachers to be particularly creative because we know that our subject matter is not inherently interesting to most children.

    At A-Level it gets more interesting because you get focussed much more on real subject matter and teaching MFL becomes like teaching general studies through a foreign language.

  2. Sometimes I think the best way to promote EDL is to get teachers of other subjects to point out why languages are important and valuable. It's sad that MFL teachers have to work so hard to justify their subject when it does link into so many other subjects. Language is ultimately communication, communication between people, promoting an identity, establishing beliefs and values... and this naturally encompasses other subjects. (Am I now being conceited?)

  3. We should all teach in a cross-curricular way and should have the chance (timetabled) to link up with atleast one other subject to make that happen. All subjects have links and well done for pointing out links to other subjects.

  4. Hi Clare
    Insightful post and I am here reading it on a day when my PGCE MFL trainees have a session on how they can integrate numeracy and literacy into their MFL lessons. I will be encouraging them to read this post and to leave you a comment!
    Keep up the good work - it's great to reflect and for what it's worth, I think you do an absolutely amazing job of inspiring us all (#MFLtwitterati)on an almost daily basis so I can only imagine it is the same for the children you teach.
    Best wishes, Suzi Bewell