Linguistic Ambition

We must always maintain high standards and we must always demand the highest level of linguistic ambition possible for each individual student. I believe this most sincerely. It is not always easy to achieve, I agree, but it has to be our goal. One size does not fit all and what is good for one student will be poor, sloppy or downright lazy for another. It is our job to ensure everone is working at their peak.

To give an example ; as part of my work, I go and visit student teachers in their classes and observe lessons. I am struck by how enouraging they are to their pupils – and do not get me wrong because I believe this is a good thing. however, let us not confuse positivity with sloppiness. When a class of Seconde students (15-16 year olds) is asked to describe the Twitter logo

twitter-logo and the pupil’s offering is “It is a bird”, I do not believe that this response merits a “Very good, excellent” from the teacher. For someone with between eight and ten years of English behind him, I would say it is the bare minimum. Where is the liguistic ambition ?

Pupils cannot invent progress for themselves. OK, so a small minority will be reading in English and wanting to try out expressions for themselves, but in my experience, this usually results more often in “I wanna do it” than in any truly ambitious language use. This is more an example of dumbing down, in my opinion. So, to help the students to increase their language quality, we have to provide models of good language for them to then be able to use and adapt and incorporate into their own language production.

Here is an example of linguistic ambition, modelling from the sentence “I go shopping” :


You can see how the various elements are constructed together to create a short paragraph that shows linguistic ambition.

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