Sophie Ellis


What sort of MFL teacher do I want be and why?

 

I would say that the most important quality for a languages teacher is being able to inspire your students. Unfortunately, I feel that there is a real stigma attached to languages and a huge problem in secondary schools is a lack of effort and enthusiasm from students as they don’t even give the subject a chance to captivate their attention and enrich their imagination. So firstly, I would like to share my love of languages with my classes, not only of the language itself but also its culture and history, because I imagine that many students would connect better to the subject if they see it as more than just a grammatical structure and vocabulary sheets.

Secondly, I aim to be approachable. If a student is interested in a topic and wants to know more beyond what I have taught in class, I would be glad to help with anything extra. On the other hand, if there is a student that is struggling with anything we have learnt and needs more time or explanations, I hope that they would feel comfortable and confident in coming to me for help.

I would like to encourage students to be creative and independent. For example, if they are stuck on vocabulary, I would want them to first have a think about possible answers drawing upon prior knowledge of the language and its similarities, then to discuss with a partner, and then use a dictionary. I think it is very important for the students to learn to think for themselves and as a teacher I would not just want to teach them the curriculum and how to pass exams, but to also teach them how to be learners who are inquisitive and self-sufficient. Furthermore, I aim to have a classroom where the students co-operate, collaborate and communicate so that they can support each other and learn to work in a team.

I also want to ensure that I get the best out of each student, regardless of their starting point, by using differentiation and always making sure that I have extension tasks for the more able students so that I never have students that are not being challenged and stretched by the work I set. I plan to familiarise myself with every students specific learning style/difficulties and any behavioural or emotional difficulties so that I am able to cater for individual needs.

Finally, with regards to behaviour, I aim to be as consistent as possible with a firm but fair approach, as I know that school may be the only consistent domain in the lives of certain students. I understand the importance of starting every lesson with a clean slate and always treating each individual equally. I want the students to be aware of the consequences of misbehaving, and that they will not change depending on the day, time or person. However, I think it is important to start the class positively, with high expectations and let them know exactly what it is that I expect and how we can achieve it together.