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MFL Teacher of the Year

At the end of March, Mrs Campbell, Trinity’s Subject Leader for Spanish, finished her year as the Association of Language Learning’s Secondary Languages Teacher of the Year.

It was a very busy year for Mrs Campbell as she shared her expertise with languages teachers all over the country – and beyond! She went to Berlin in her role of Apple Distinguished Educator, and one of her main missions was to take a dedicated group of Trinity students, the Digital Leaders, to training events, not just for teachers at Trinity, but in our linked primary schools and in many other schools in the area.

Mrs Campbell with other Apple Distinguished Educators

At Language World 2017, held at the University of Nottingham, Mrs Campbell ran a workshop called "Using Technology to Support Progression with Spoken Language". She shared ideas from her action research work borne out of her Flipped Learning project as a Director of Learning at Trinity. Mrs Campbell shared ideas with the delegates about how the use of feedback can support speaking skills and enhance student performance. The workshop was well received as were the resources that were shared via Twitter.

Mrs Campbell

An Interview with Mrs Campbell

To celebrate the end of Mrs Campbell’s ‘year in office’ here are a few of her thoughts about what she has been up to and what she thinks about the teaching and learning of MFL in modern post-Brexit Britain.

How has life changed for you since you became Languages Teacher of the Year 2016 last March?

It has been an amazing year and the recognition from fellow language teachers, especially at the University of Nottingham has made me feel very proud. Having achieved two accolades in two years is something of which I am really proud. I was selected as one of only 600 or so Apple Distinguished Educators in 2015 from thousands of applicants across the globe and then to receive a second award was just fantastic. To have been nominated by my head of department Mrs Rogers was such a proud moment and walking onto the stage at a national conference to receive my Secondary Language Teacher of the Year award last year was incredible.

Since becoming the Secondary Language Teacher of the Year I have attended Language World, a national conference for language teachers to share innovative practice. Mrs Rogers and I spoke at the SSAT Achievement Show, a national education conference, where we presented our action research projects into Student Voice and Feedback. I have attended a global Institute for Apple Distinguished Educators in Berlin and spent a day with some of the Spanish ADE team. I've spoken at the University of Nottingham about outstanding speaking and my recent action research project. I wrote an article for Languages Today magazine about the speaking work we do in class. I have had a teaching resource published by the Apple Distinguished Educator team about engaging reluctant learners. I have run two training sessions for trainee teachers at the University of Nottingham about changing ways to learn with technology. My students and I also won a pizza party competition run by Showbie due to the innovative ways of working in groups we used to write a Red Riding Hood story in Spanish. I have set up a digital leader network within school which currently has 23 members and the student digital leaders have worked alongside our primary schools and hosted a training day as well as running lunchtime workshops for teachers at Trinity as well. I have also been invited to speak at two national forums about the future of Language teaching later this year and I am presenting at this year's Language World conference.

What innovations or changes have you introduced to Teaching and Learning at Trinity?

We are using Showbie in Spanish lessons and recording speaking tests so that we can better assess progress and give accurate feedback. Using technology has proven especially useful in the Sixth Form and we use Google Classroom to share ideas as we prepare for the oral exam and write essays. Showbie is also proving a wonderful resource for homework and we are very close to being paperless when it comes to homework assignments which is great for the environment. Online resources such as videos and songs are useful for revision and the students find these really enjoyable and engaging.

Do you think that the Brexit vote will have a huge impact on language learning in this country?

I think it will have to as we will need to compete independently for contracts and attract business from overseas. This is always more fruitful when conducted in the language of the party with more to offer. If we don't have the linguistic competence in fields such as engineering, marketing and banking our country could lose its competitiveness and lose out on contracts and trade.

What tips would you give to anyone in Year 9 who is about to start making options for GCSE subjects?

I would recommend they think ahead. They will be applying for jobs in the future that probably don't even exist yet. My son is in Year 9 and knows exactly what job he wants and therefore is choosing options to suit that. If a student hasn't decided and therefore can't look at a university or career advice website they should keep their options open. Languages open doors and language skills are highly valued by employers. Languages are often seen as tricky but it is important to know that you do not need to be fluent and you do not need to be 100% accurate in order to get a good mark. It's about being able to communicate and get your point across. Fluency and 100% accuracy is something university students strive to achieve. Being understood using the key phrases learnt in class is much more important at GCSE level.

If you could wave a magic wand, what would you want to see in MFL lessons at Trinity?

I would love to see students being much more independent with their language studies. They have so many resources available to them and knowing how to find the information they need using dictionaries, grammar guides and online resources is a vital skill. I would love to offer students more support with their learning by using flipped learning. Parents often say that they cannot support their children easily with their language learning. This teaching method turns the learning round with students watching an instructional video before the lesson in place of homework and practising their new vocabulary and grammar points in the classroom with their teacher to support them. iPads are an amazing resource for our subject and the ability to record voice, make videos and create comics etc are just a few of the wonderful and engaging things we could be doing in our language lessons.