Introduction Year 7 Year 8 Year 9

Defining plenaries  

Section 3 (Appendix 1): From Framework to classroom describes the plenary of an effective MFL lesson:

‘The lesson closes with a plenary session, handled as much as possible in the target language, in which key learning points are drawn out. Pupils are actively involved in the plenary and are expected to explain in precise terms what they have learned. John is helping the class to build and re-apply a stock of classroom language and expressions so that pupils can say what they have learned and understand what they are going to learn in lessons and over time. John also helps the class identify links not only with previous learning in their MFL lessons but also with lessons elsewhere in the curriculum, especially those involving English and literacy. He is not afraid to use subject-specific terminology (including some target language items) and expects pupils to follow and do likewise as far as possible.’

MFL Framework: Section 3 (Appendix 1)

Effective plenary sessions are focused on assessing the learning of the students. They are intended to help students become aware of the importance of the concepts they have met and the appropriate use of the language they have learned. Much of this assessment of the teaching objectives has historically been done covertly in the MFL classroom, with the teacher reflecting after the lesson on the accomplishments made within the allotted time. The MFL Framework is quite clear that this process should be an integral part of the lesson and that it should, by necessity, involve the students. They are to become more active in assessing their learning needs.

The intention is to develop the analytical skills that will enable students to become more effective language learners, and to ensure the links between knowledge and the effective use of the target language are clearly signposted. Language acquisition is to become a process of construction rather absorption. The required emphasis is upon developing a clear structure that promotes effective learning rather than delivering a bank of knowledge based upon the syllabus content, and hoping that students will acquire their language skills through some sort of educational ‘osmosis’. The plenary is the recommended methodology that will inform this process of language-learning construction.