Having won the Vocab Express European Day of Languages Championship last September and the National Language Championship this year, Dartford Grammar School for Girls is a great ambassador for language teaching and learning. We spoke to Karine Kleywegt, curriculum team leader for Modern Foreign Languages, about the school’s approach to languages.
Karine and her team work from one central priority: ensuring the enjoyment of language learning through high quality teaching. By fuelling student curiosity, interest and enjoyment, and creating a positive attitude towards learning about different cultures and communities, students have developed a great appreciation and respect for languages.
To motivate her students, Karine finds it useful to provide opportunities for spontaneous use of language about something students are interested in. Group/pair work is also valued as students are able to support one another and become more confident in their abilities. Role play too is used to engage students and make learning feel less like work!
Like a lot of teachers today, Karine also finds the use of new technology a successful way of motivating students, particularly the use of Vocab Express in class, for homework and to take part in the language championships.
So what are the main benefits?
Vocab Express has…
…made it easy to keep students on track: “Whether used as a lesson activity to refresh students’ memory of vocabulary recently learnt, or as a homework task, Vocab Express’ desktop orientated word card display and native audio files engage and stimulate students. What’s more, teachers are able to visually track and monitor student progress and use these results to gauge where students are at with their learning.”
…improved students’ pronunciation: “Having access to native speaker audio files supports the learning process, offering a strong grasp of pronunciation and accurately taking into account the intonation of words crucial for many languages.”
…developed a healthy competitiveness in students: “It is important to encourage a sense of achievement by praising and rewarding students for their efforts and progress. Vocab Express’ language championships and competing against other schools have created a real sense of community spirit and have increased awareness of languages across the school. The championships appeal to a competitive side we didn’t know our students had!”
…raised student attainment levels: “Vocab Express provides an excellent platform for students to display their knowledge of modern foreign languages whilst helping them to increase their vocabulary at the same time. It’s active learning at its best.”
Find out more about Dartford Grammar School for Girls.