Monday, 10 November 2008


As our Vice-Principal pointed out today, in Northern Ireland it is no longer the Revised Curriculum, it is the curriculum that we are teaching in First and Second Year at KS3. Whilst I believe that Modern Languages are and always have been very much 'Revised Curriculum', my colleagues and I sometimes struggle with the whole 'no marking' idea that forms part and parcel of Assessment for Learning. It was therefore with great interest that I went to Sharon Balch's session on 'AfL in Practice'. She covered the topic in great detail, and here are some of the points that she made:-
  • Clear objectives lead to better engagement and more effective learning which in turn leads to improved standards.
  • Lessons are objective-led, and a team (including pupils) meets weekly to see what is working and what needs further work
  • Learning Intentions should be pupil-friendly
  • A consistent approach across the school will see the greatest benefit
  • It is vital to recognise the importance of success criteria, and to develop strategies for effective plenary


  • Display visuals for WALT and WILF, including in pupils' books
  • Include the 4 key skills for MFL in WALT and WILF
  • Create ruler guides ie strips of paper to stick onto the back of a ruler with key vocabulary
  • Create a learning mat for each year group with an emphasis on evidence of each key skill, plus generic vocabulary
  • Provide extension activities to improve listening and writing skills on the back of the learning mats
  • Use target sheets and stickers to give feedback, or get pupils to use them and say why they think they are working at a certain level
  • Use traffic light stickers and statement banks for self- and peer assessment, so that pupils know that a green sticker means excellent work, etc
  • Use very structured task sheets for writing tasks, with detailed lists of what to include in each paragraph. Pupils can then tick off as they cover the point in their essay
  • Share success criteria with pupils for speaking tasks, and then use "2 stars and a wish" for peer assessment
  • Use a 'learning journey' sheet with pupils to gain feedback in a plenary
  • Type all the learning journeys up together to make an excellent revision guide for the pupils

Sharon has found the measurable impact of all of the above easy to see in results, with a huge impact on boys' writing in particular


This is a series of tools allowing pupils to engage with learning as never before, and with the teacher moving from being the lead to being a guide and support. It incorporates the idea of collaborative learning communities, with standards-driven and problem-based learning.The pupils start to set their own targets and to recognise quality learning.

In order to set CSP challenges, pupils should be given task roles, such as Facilitator, Recorder, Time Keeper, Resources Manager and Quality Checker. After the task, it is vital that pupils reflect back on their own work, with questions or a statement as guidance for what they did do as well as what they would do differently next time.

Sharon's presentation was excellent, crammed full of brilliant ideas and practical support. She is the first to acknowledge the vast amount of work that has gone into her fabulous resources but her talk has certainly given me plenty to aim for within my own department for AfL and CSP.

1 comment:


Thank you, Amanda for your kind words and appreciation regarding my session at the IOW Conference.
If anyone else would like further information about my work in AfL and CSP please contact me at:

Madame Balch