Bili And The Curriculum

Emily Gasche, the MFL network lead for Oasis academies lets us know what drew her to Bili and her experience of setting her school up.

Emily, the MFL network lead for Oasis academies lets us know what drew her to Bili and her experience of setting her school up.

As Head of Department and National Lead Practitioner for a UK-wide academy chain, I am constantly reflecting on our curriculum. Everything comes down to curriculum: student enjoyment of our subject, uptake at KS4, how our students commit knowledge to their long term memory and more recently, exposure to culture and the role our curriculum has in increasing student tolerance of others. Under the new Ofsted framework, the intent of your curriculum will be assessed according to whether it is coherently planned and sequenced, whether knowledge and skills are accumulated over time and whether fluency and independence and promoted for all students.

So how can we be sure our curriculums are indeed ambitious for all? Dan Owen at Ofsted, recently outlined that a sound curriculum should be able to show that it is hitting every element of the National Programmes of Study. This is no mean feat, especially if we consider the additional ‘responsibility’ of MFL being one of (arguably, the) best-placed subject in the curriculum offering to promote cultural capital amongst our students. It was in reflecting on our own curriculum offering and its ability to hit all of these elements that I wanted to try Bili. Bili struck me as an ingenious way to support and complement our existing curriculum (students work on tasks that correspond to their learning, such as ‘My Free Time’), whilst also enabling students to interact with and learn about real target language speakers.

Bili struck me as an ingenious way to support and complement our existing curriculum

Signing my school up (‘onboarding’) was really straight forward. I simply entered a little about our context and the number of students I had available to match with a partner school. I approached a school in France and was pleasantly surprised when the teacher there came back to me immediately and we were matched. Students enter their personal information and are paired with a partner in the corresponding class with similar interests – think international pen pals but without the faff or delays of international postage! As the class teachers, we were able to dictate the task students worked on. Paired students then read, mark and respond to their partner. So, in addition to building student confidence in reading and writing in the TL, here students are applying the language for a real purpose. One of our students remarked, “it was fun and interesting and a great chance to practise my French, with a real French pupil!”.

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