Flexible teachers

Issue: Volume 94, Number 20

Posted: 9 November 2015
Reference #: 1H9cxa

TPDL assists primary and secondary teachers to increase their ability to speak another language, as well as the theory and practice of teaching it. This may involve Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Spanish or a Pasifika language.

Wenlian Ding – also known as Cindy Ding, was (and still is) a mathematics teacher at Kelston Girls’ College in Auckland when she began teaching Chinese. A native speaker of Chinese, Cindy has a pivotal role in the school’s plans to have Mandarin available as an international language in the school curriculum. In 2014, Cindy completed TPDL for the support and learning offered to new teachers of languages.
“TPDL helped me to perceive language teaching and learning from a different perspective. As a second language speaker myself, I learned English in the traditional ways and it took me quite some time to obtain fluency whereas TPDL has proved to be more effective by promoting students to communicate as much as possible in the target language,” says Cindy.

Gerald Yang – A physical education, health and mathematics teacher at Freyberg High School in Palmerston North who has been teaching Chinese during an optional lunchtime lesson to students and staff. To improve his skills, he enrolled in the TPDL programme this year and has commented that the new strategies he is learning have opened his mind and changed his ideas about language teaching. “I was not comfortable being a language teacher before, but now I feel much more comfortable,” says Gerald. In 2016 Gerald will teach a year 9 Chinese class and build up Chinese language in the school curriculum. He also intends teaching an after-school class, so parents and others can participate.

image of Alex NaAlex Na – A native speaker of Mandarin, has taught business studies, accounting and mathematics at Auckland’s Rangitoto College for several years and began teaching Mandarin in 2014. Alex has been doing TPDL this year and as part of this programme has taken the opportunity to put himself in the learner’s shoes – in more ways than one. Not only has he completed the theory course and had facilitators in his classroom, but he has also been learning German. The programme has “extensively broadened my horizons in second language teaching and acquisition, and has inspired me to explore diverse approaches to my teaching of Mandarin.”

Jo Bradbeer – from Birkdale Intermediate School in Auckland had been teaching art for 15 years when her principal gave her the opportunity to teach French and to do TPDL.
Jo has also increased use of other languages in the art room. “Ultimately the art learning takes precedence in the art room, but use of a second language is encouraged.” Jo finds it great to hear the students using another language. “It has become part of the culture of the school.”

Jeffrey Thomas – Up the road from Birkdale Intermediate lies Birkenhead College where Jeffrey Thomas, a teacher of food technology and hospitality now also teaches French.
Jeff completed TPDL in 2014 and has enjoyed seeing children in another dimension and likes that they get to see him in a different way too. “Off-task behaviour has lessened; pastoral issues have reduced while quality teaching moments have increased – all good really!”

Jeff has found the ability to fuse together the two learning areas really easy. “I find many opportunities to use French to extend food tech and vice versa.” “I have found the extra subject stimulating and it has given me a ‘pick me up’ within my day, which can be quite demanding in a foods room. I love the mental challenge which language teaching gives me.”

image of Lutz WeberLutz Weber – Another food technology teacher is Lutz Weber at Hastings Intermediate School. In 2013, as a native speaker of German without training in teaching a language, Lutz started teaching German using the Ministry of Education resource ‘Ja! An Introduction to German’.

In 2014 Lutz completed TPDL and found that “everything changed for the better’’. Lutz says the big difference for students was that they started really using the language – with errors of course – but they were communicating meaningfully in German. What’s more: learning a language that was new for all had a positive spin-off for students considered of lower ability.

image if Lose SamasoniLose Samasoni – trained as a secondary mathematics teacher 15 years ago. Two years ago she began to teach a dance class at Marlborough Girls’ High School so that students could perform in the Pasifika Cultural Festival. Many of the students were native speakers of a Pasifika language and the others were New Zealand born-students from Pasifika families. It was important for them to maintain their languages and culture and to have them affirmed. So Lose included languages learning as a part of the dance programme, and she did TPDL.

Lose felt that even though she was a fluent speaker of Tongan and Tuvaluan, she needed professional learning about how to teach a language. Working with teachers of languages helped her to think about and consolidate her ideas, to implement strategies for language learning and gave her confidence as a languages teacher.

More information about the TPDL programme is available at:
www.tpdl.ac.nz(external link)

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 4:37 pm, 9 November 2015

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