Creating a Modern Foreign Language (MFL) curriculum out of thin air is not an uncommon request as a school may be wanting to introduce a new language that may not have a set curriculum framework or a school may be looking to implement a transdisciplinary approach. Therefore, an MFL curriculum must be developed that links to other subject areas. In either scenario, it can seem like a big ask, but it doesn’t have to be, and the following simple steps below have been provided to help you get on your way!
Step 1: Collect Information
The first step requires one to design a template in which mainstream and other specialist teachers can enter information about their upcoming units – ideally a week or two in advance so you have the time to plan for your classes. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy and can look something like the table below.
The easiest way to share this with colleagues is by using a program such as Google Docs so that all parties involved can enter their information on the same template. If this isn’t an option, you can simply ask teachers a list of questions to be answered via email which you can then enter on to the template.
Step 2: Pick and Choose
After teachers have provided you with their information, you can pick and choose which of the units you would like to tie your MFL lessons into. For example, you may see that in Social Studies the students will be learning about the Olympics and decide that a sports theme would be a great fit for your learners. Furthermore, in looking at the unit description and the provided vocabulary/grammar concepts, you already have a solid base on which to start your planning and can then gather resources accordingly! And if you teach several different levels of MFL ranging from beginner to advanced – all following the same Olympics unit – you can simple scaffold and differentiate vocabulary being taught and activities planned to accommodate the varying levels using a template such as the one below.
To take things one step further in planning for your advanced level students, you may even wish to link to their Language Arts classes and mirror a style of writing they may be exploring or a similar text type they may be reading (fiction, nonfiction) etc. to tighten transdisciplinary connections.
Step 3: Include Your MFL Team
For some of you steps one and two may be enough, but for others the case may be that you are working within an MFL team and are looking to develop curriculums for the whole department. In this case you would simply need to come up with a team planning tool that would allow everyone to discuss which units they are planning to link to and how. It may be that you all choose the same subject area to ensure consistency, or it may be that each teacher decides to make their own connect – either is acceptable; it all depends on your school’s vision and the aims of your department. To help in organizing which direction each team member is headed, a table such as the following could be used.
In implementing the above two or three steps, what once seemed like a daunting task becomes an easy one as by feeding off of mainstream and specialist teacher units, one can watch an entire MFL curriculum unfold before one’s very eyes!
Do you want to implement a system like this one at your school, but still feel you may need some guidance? Contact us, we’d be happy to assist!