Rachel Hawkes

Other Ideas

Parents into lessons

We invite parents of Y7 students to come in to observe a Y7 Spanish lesson. This has been very successful over the last three years. It gives parents an opportunity to update their perceptions of language learning. If we reflect that the default perception will be language learning as they experienced it 20 years ago, then it's not hard to see why the simple act of observing a languages lesson in the 21st century does so much to change their view of the subject! It's also just one more way to build home-school links and contribute to the transition phase. Here is the letter to parents which shows how we organise the observations, plus our evaluation form that we ask parents to fill in. Here is an example of parental feedback:

1. Did you enjoy your observation experience?
Yes! The children did too! Visual and interactive lesson. Teacher welcomed all questions from us as well as class. Relaxed but disciplined. I now know a little Spanish!

2. What was one thing you noticed about the pupil learning during the lesson?
Emphasis is on speaking and understanding without ‘passing through’ the English. So hopefully they will learn and think in the language. Quite a pictorial approach which seems really effective and pupils were very engaged. Despite knowing no Spanish I found it really easy to follow.

3. What was your impression of the teaching methods used in the learning you saw during the lesson?
"I liked the variety of methods used e.g. visual interest with the interactive whiteboard, teacher speaking in Spanish so children had to listen vey carefully in order to know what to do, question and answer all in Spanish, competition between girls and boys to encourage participation, writing in books in response to recorded questions – linked to whiteboards pictures; children talking to each other."

4. Was this an experience you would recommend to other parents?  If so, please give a reason.
Certainly. Good to see the children in class – one feels far more removed from their education once they enter secondary school. Every parent should see how a good teacher interacts with pupils. If we are given the opportunity to observe, we should take it!

Arsenal Double Club

This is a fantastic initiative set up with Arsenal Football Club and organised in conjunction with the Goethe Institut, the Institut Français and the Consejería de Educación. It is really manageable because it is a project that runs for a set number of weeks within one term. The programme is made up of language sessions of 45 minutes each focusing on football language followed by a 45 minute football training session delivered in the language. You can run the programme in French, German, Spanish and now Portuguese. This is something we are doing with Y8 students this year - targeting those that we think will enjoy combining language with football!

For further details, contact Julie Stoker
Email:  jstoker@arsenal.co.uk
Tel: 020 7704 4148

Arsenal Football Club plc
Highbury House,
75 Drayton Park
London N5 1BU


Goethe Institute


Institut Francais

Think German Campaign competitions

It's useful to be on the look-out for national and regional competitions too! The Think German website is updated regularly with new competitions and opportunities.

In the past they have held a lovely competition for students of all ages and abilities based around German fairytales. Just entering competitions like this can be really motivating for students (much more so that I often think it will) and you can always reward them internally if their entries don't win at a national level.

Spanish Consejería de Educación

Spanish award

The Consejería de Educación has run competitions in the past, including "School of the Year" for schools in Britain that teach Spanish.