On Tuesday 18 June languages teachers from across Oxfordshire joined languages lecturers from Oxford University to share their expertise in Oxford’s first ever MFL teachmeet. A teachmeet is a bit like a conference but each presentation lasts for a short period of time – usually two or five minutes. Each presenter explains an activity or technique which has worked well for them. It’s about sharing best practice, inspiring others and making connections with other educators.
The event was organised by Helen Swift, University Lecturer in Medieval French and Schools Liaison Officer for the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, and the heads of languages in the OCL (Oxford City Learning) schools: Cheney, Wheatley Park, Matthew Arnold, St. Gregory The Great and Oxford Spires. These schools work together to share ideas, challenge and support each other. 35 teachers and lecturers attended the event. Most of the teachers were from OCL schools but there were also representatives from Henry Box, Bartholomew and Didcot Girls.
There was a great range of presentations on diverse teaching strategies and how to employ them with language learners from Year 7 students to undergraduates. We moved from techniques likely to engage young beginners (the use of mobile phones and movie-making in lessons) to the intricacies of teaching Proust and German poetry to undergraduates. This was a key feature of the event: it enabled teachers and lecturers a glimpse into each other’s worlds. We now have a better understanding of the particular challenges we face and have been able to share techniques which can be successful in both the classroom and the seminar room.
The teachmeet was a great success and demonstrates the readiness of teachers and lecturers to learn from one another.