Author Archives: Lucy Beharrell

A few ideas for implementing the principles in your language teaching


One school  has been working on teaching learners to ask questions  and then giving them small group tasks  where they  have to ask lots of questions – ie. information gap activities, the game ’20 questions’ and ‘taboo’. For more ideas see our ‘Oral Interaction‘ page.


Use challenging texts different from course books, reading strategy check lists, use English reading texts with target language words inserted, then reflect on the strategies used. Also see our ‘Reading‘ page.


Try implementing small things, e.g.  before a listening task, use one of the prediction grids  and then after the first listening, allow learners to discuss whether they thought their predictions were true or not and what were the clues? For more ideas see the ‘Listening‘ page.


Try using writing as a means for introducing a new topic, by encouraging students to use language that they already know and extending/adapting it. For more ideas, see the ‘Writing‘ page.


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Professional Development Clusters for MFL Teachers

Clusters of MFL teachers are now meeting in Reading/North HampshirePortsmouth/South Hampshire, Brighton/Sussex, Cheltenham/Gloucestershire, Oxford, South Oxfordshire and Birmingham. Another cluster is planned for Lincolnshire and Newcastle upon Tyne. The aim of the clusters is to:

• Create time after school to meet with local MFL colleagues and share in your professional development
• Revisit the PDC in MFL principles and use them as a basis for discussion
• Plan with your local colleagues how to apply one specific principle (or more) in your teaching
• Discuss and evaluate the outcomes together at subsequent meetings
Meetings are max 1.5 hours long, and take place 3-4 times per year, hosted by the teachers or teacher trainers involved in the cluster. The work of the PDC in MFL is used as a basis for discussion but the teachers and teacher trainers have autonomy over the clusters and decide what happens in each meeting.
Tanya Riordan opens the first cluster meeting in Portsmouth, May 2013

The first cluster meeting in Portsmouth, May 2013

If you want to get involved in one of these clusters, contact the cluster leaders directly at the appropriate email address given below:

Reading/North Hampshire:

Portsmouth/South Hampshire:



South Oxfordshire:



Lincolnshire or Newcastle upon Tyne: contact Suzanne Graham

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5 quick questions for language teachers

Funding for the Professional Development Consortium in MFL comes to an end in May (though this website will continue to run). We’d like to find out how useful the website and the Principles have been for language teachers. If you can, please give one minute of your time to answer five quick questions about your involvement in the Consortium this year:
Here are some key facts to summarise what has been achieved:
– 300+ participants at 7 free workshops and 3 conferences around England
– 100+ language teachers and teacher trainers have told us they incorporated the Principles in their practice
– 7000+ visitors to the website
– 8 research based principles to bring positive change to language teaching!
If you want to join an informal cluster of language teachers in your local area to meet occasionally and discuss how to develop your students’ language learning skills, then email – we can put you in touch with others nearby who want to do the same.
Thank you to everyone who has been involved and for your support this year!

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The Principles have made a difference to my teaching. Discuss!

We want to tell the decision makers for education in England how many of you have seen the benefit of using the Principles in your language classes. We want to show them evidence of what you have seen – that the development of language skills is something that can raise motivation and attainment in the classroom. So whether you have used just one of the principles as a basis for a lesson, or all of them, please would you leave a comment under this post, to tell us what difference the principles have made to you and your students? Thank you!

If you attended a workshop last summer please also complete our short questionnaire, if you haven’t done so already. The more responses we get, the more significant our final conclusions will be.


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Update – Assessment Framework for Languages

We have posted a revised draft of our alternative assessment framework for languages here. If you would like to try it out in your school, and feed back your experiences and thoughts to us, please let us know. There is also a quick poll to tell us what you think!


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Did you attend one of our workshops last year?

If you attended one of the workshops in Reading, Oxford, London, Bristol, Walsall or Nottingham last year, then you may have been using one, a few, or even all the principles in your language classes. If so, we would love to hear how you have been getting on, so that we can evaluate how useful the principles are in practice. All feedback is very welcome – good and bad! Please download the form and return to

Teacher Report

Thank you!


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An alternative assessment framework for MFL – your comments please!

Calling all teachers and ITE tutors! We would love you to send us your comments on our first draft of an alternative assessment framework for MFL teachers. Our research suggests that the current NC levels of attainment at KS3 for MFL are no longer adequate and may be contributing to the problems that teachers are facing in language teaching. This framework is being drafted to work alongside our eight research-based principles of teaching and learning, as a solution to the problem. It is intended for use at Key Stages 3 & 4. It will be redrafted once comments have been received – please take a look at it and comment below or send us your thoughts to

Draft Introduction, Reading and Listening framework – PDF format

Draft Speaking and Writing framework – PDF format

Or if you prefer to view them in Word:

Draft Introduction, Reading and Listening Framework – Word format

Draft Speaking and Writing Framework – Word format


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Videos available to view!

The process of seeking permissions from parents and carers to post the videos from the PDC in MFL workshops has been a long one, but we are getting there slowly! The first two videos can be viewed on the Videos page, if you have received the password that we sent by email to all delegates and people interested in the Consortium. If you would like access to the password, please contact telling her your name and organisation/school. Watch this space for more videos. All the other materials from the workshops are available through the pages on the top menu bar. You are welcome to download them and share with your colleagues. Thanks!

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Workshop materials now uploaded to this blog!

You can now access the materials and PowerPoints from the workshops on this blog. Use the menu bar across the top of the screen to navigate to separate pages for Listening, Reading, Writing and Oral Interaction. The PowerPoint presentations and other miscellaneous documents can be found on the ‘Other Resources’ page. The video clips shown at the workshops will be uploaded for you to watch as soon as all permissions have been sought from parents/carers, which we hope will happen early in the new term.

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