Planning for differentiation - regional networking event for teachers of languages to adults

Date: 12 June, 2010
Location: York St John University, York
Event type: Seminar (supported by the LLAS guest speaker fund)

Location map | Event report

Martine Pillette will be a guest speaker at the Planning for differentiation seminar for teachers of adult language learners (foreign languages and ESOL).

For several years YSJU has collaborated with Coordinators of Adult Ed language teachers from York, East Riding, North Yorks and other locations in Yorks and Humber to provide these teachers with some limited but coordinated training and supported assistance. This has previously been funded via Comenius Centre, or CILT Netword and a small contribution by the group of LAs involved, but this funding is no longer available. We feel Adult Ed teachers are an isolated group who deserve our support. YSJU will provide basic refreshments and a room for the day and should this bid be successful it is hoped that due to the success of previous regional networking sessions delegates will pay a nominal fee to cover the outstanding speaker costs. Previous evaluations are very positive and the opportunity to meet in languages specific groups as well as to benefit from high quality external speakers is much appreciated. Differentiation is a challenge for all language teachers and one that was requested by current Adult Ed Teachers and Martine is a national expert.

When teaching languages to adults, tutors often need to take account of a range of previous learning and a range of levels. How can the languages experience be made challenging and engaging for all students? How can the learning be personalised without harming group dynamics? Through concrete examples of a generic nature, Martine will explore a range of approaches which can be applied to any language. Participants will then be able to explore such approaches in the light of their own students during the workshop that will follow this session.

Event reports

Planning for differentiation - regional networking event for teachers of languages to adults

by Ann Gregory (Languages Centre manager)

We are very grateful to the LLAS for their funding contribution to support the above event, which proved a very successful session.

For several years, a group of managers of language tutors in HE, FE and AE in the York area have met to share ideas, information and to arrange seminars and workshops for their tutors. Many of these tutors work in part time jobs across several institutions, or work completely in isolation, with very little or no formal training. Our joint sessions have tried to address this gap, and with limited finances we have provided valuable opportunities to network and create mutual support systems.

It has also been important to bring in a speaker or presenter from outside the area, and this time we were fortunate to have Martine Pillette, an independent consultant, to talk about ways in which the diverse needs of members of the same class could be addressed. This included exemplification on differentiations by outcome, task, text, resources, interest, teaching methods, range and levels of support. Martine’s wealth of experience and practical, accessible ideas were clear, and she gave us the opportunity to try them out ourselves.

The participants came from across the region, from all of the sectors mentioned above, and from a range of language backgrounds. This provided interesting group discussions, and opportunities to exchange contact details and our own ideas. In the final session, we re-grouped in language-focus groups, so that we could share specific suggestions for teaching.

The evaluations were extremely positive (e.g. What did you find least useful?- ‘Nothing’) and delegates were very relaxed and open in their questions and comments. Those we met later were very enthusiastic about what they had learnt and very much appreciated the opportunity to network. There were lots of emails being exchanged.

We hope these sessions will continue in the next academic year