Reflection on Lang Dept TAI Term 1 2015

Problems – student surveys

Student surveys not completed by all students (6 out of 12). Survey analysis below. This analysis shows that most students feel they can learn up to 20 words a week, they feel that vocab learning is very important in learning a language, however are only mildly interested in actually learning a new word when presented with it. The preference was for learning words in context with learning words individually close behind (as done with LP) Most students found a variety of learning methods best, with use of cognates, guessing, and context trumping looking up words. Most students mentioned using words in sentences as essential for learning, with only one mentioning LP as a useful tool for learning and remembering vocabulary.

The second survey looks at a specific topic and Lang Perfect learning modes. It shows that students prefer Spanish to English (this is the easiest mode), that only 1/3 of students are using the aural mode effectively (hearing and repeating the word); that most students feel that 15-20 minutes a day on LP is required for learning; and Language Perfect being the perceived most effective mode of learning (closely followed by teacher, word reference and context).

Problems – letter home

There was no opportunity given for parental response. In future it would be a good idea to give parents a survey link to gain their response and also to provide student login details and link to LP learning site so that parents can have a go themselves.  This would be more conducive to gain their understanding  and support for student learning outside the classroom.

Problems in delivery and completion:

  1. tests not working on ipads initally
  2. student absences were consistent and prolonged in this term
  3. teacher had to learn how to set up homework tasks and tests
  4. student have not yet adopted the rhythm of practice then test on Friday
  5. student resistance to independent learning meant poor task and especially test completion
  6. Attempted to set up similar cycles with other senior levels including VCL.

Problems with department collaboration:

Time – there is no time allocation for yet another PD requirement from us, which means that all other dept business is either neglected or we have to allocate other meeting times to attempt to work through the research requirements for this inquiry.

Numbers – we are a small and fragmented group of specialist teachers, therefore not everyone is taking part in the TAI although they were involved in initial planning.  In effect half of the dept staff have withdrawn to do inquiries in other departments where they teach the majority of their classes or to do an independent TAI. This left two language teachers attempting a dept TAI with little ability to delegate or share responsibilities.

Problems with support :

  •  We have been given no support in planning an effective TAI. As a result we have undertaken a difficult and time consuming research process, which may or may not benefit further learning.  Collaboration with other departments to see what they were doing (beyond an idea in a template) would have been effective in helping formulate a better enquiry in terms of practicality and outcomes.
  • The time frames have been tight, with constantly changing criteria and expectations.
  •  It would have been much better to start with an individual teacher inquiry to be documented and appraised
  • There have been no templates provided for effectively appraising this TAI so we have adopted an example provided by Lucia Ju.

Reflection and conclusions

  1. Due to only two teachers being involved we have resolved to focus only on Y11 use of Language Perfect and feed the results of this inquiry into department to consider LP use at other levels in 2016.
  2. In consultation with colleagues, found that while Maori had not yet started the TAI learning cycle due to an injury and late start in teaching this term, Japanese had chosen to do both homework tasks and tests in class. This ensured completion at least by attending students, and provided better data.  We have concluded that we will all allow students time in class for tests and/or review/homework tasks.  As we are tasked with creating independent learning habits, I will make clear to students the expectation that they learn the vocabulary with LP before the test.
  3. Tests will therefore now be administered in class at the beginning of class each Friday.
  4. Surveys will also be completed in class for future terms.
  5. A further letter home with analysis of LP, opportunity to trial it personally, and a survey link to encourage parental support and understanding should be sent in Term 2.
  6. Data analysis for each student should be shared with them – via projector in class. Students should be aware that their attitudes and learning regarding vocabulary are being investigated to motivate them to participate more.

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