Gee Macrory

What do MFL students and teachers need to know about language? 

Gee Macrory


Manchester Metropolitan University

MFL teachers have in recent years been faced with revised National Curriculum requirements (2014), as well as the 2014 introduction of primary languages at KS2 and new GCSE and A level specifications (2016). In addition, a recently published review* of modern foreign languages teaching practice in key stage 3 and key stage 4 offers a new set of recommendations. In the light of these changes and publications, it is timely to review what knowledge about language MFL teachers might need to have to facilitate successful language learning on the part of their students. Current and previous documentation sets out requirements for students in terms of knowledge about language, including at a language-specific level, but this talk will address the extent to which these allow the students to achieve the curriculum or examination aims, or to become competent and successful language learners. A related issue is that little guidance is on offer for teachers in terms of the knowledge about language they might need. This talk will also then consider the implications of curriculum requirements for teacher knowledge, at both primary and secondary phases of schooling and discuss the potential challenges in equipping teachers, particularly in initial teacher education, with the knowledge they need and the understanding of how best to deploy this in the classroom.



*Teaching Schools Council (2016) MODERN FOREIGN LANGUAGES PEDAGOGY REVIEW A review of modern foreign languages teaching practice in key stage 3 and key stage 4