I originally called this “The practical guide to differentiation in MFL”. This is what we learnt on teacher training; adapting your teaching to different learners and learning styles, creating twenty different copies of the same task to show I’d “differentiated”, and laminating everything so I could reuse them. (My poor laminator hasn’t seen the light of day for 8 years!)
I was directed to Mary Myatt’s blog by the lovely Leanne on Instagram. (Join us over there if you haven’t already!!) and what she was saying makes a lot of sense. Differentiation, in a lot of cases, is just “dumbing down”. Having different objectives for different learners makes no sense. Creating different resources for different learners is just time consuming and, more often than not, limits them to what we believe they can do. We have “nuture groups” in our school. The bottom set with pupils who have very low reading ages, EHCPs, social issues etc. I’ve never “dumbed down” with these groups. Yes, I’ve spent longer on certain elements to make sure they’ve understood them but out of our 15 in last years Y9 nurture group, 2 went on to do GCSE Spanish this year and one of those is one of the best in his class. Differentiating a whole class based on perceived ability would have been damaging to him.
So, I’ve swapped “differentiation” with “scaffolding” which seems to be the mot du jour and also better explains most of what I’m talking about here! All of these tips allow ALL pupils to do the same work and have the same understanding, just with a little more support.
Teach to the top and scaffold down!
I’ve credited as many people as I can but if you spot anything that you believe to be yours, let me know and I’ll credit you accordingly!