Modern Foreign Languages

Are you considering becoming a teacher of French, German, Spanish or Mandarin?  Our PGCE course, based on a close partnership between the university and local comprehensive schools, offers you an exciting opportunity to become an effective and confident classroom teacher for the 11-19 age range.

The Modern Languages PGCE course, which offers a wide variety of learning opportunities, is designed and implemented jointly by colleagues in schools and the university working in close partnership.

It is not our aim to prescribe particular approaches to teaching Modern Languages, but rather to enable you to draw on the full range of different sources available to you for your own professional learning – and in so doing to develop a clear and reasoned understanding of the sort of teacher that you want to become.  Tutors on the course, who have many years of classroom teaching experience as well as teacher training experience, will guide you and support you in this exciting but challenging process.

Specifically, the course aims to:

    • provide a flexible and personalized learning experience, in which you receive close monitoring and support from colleagues in school and university;
    • provide up-to-date insights from language learning research alongside practical experience in the classroom (you will be in school during 29 of the 36 weeks of the course);
    • provide you with a framework for developing your teaching in which research and theories can be tested in practice and reformulated through practice;
    • encourage you to develop a systematic approach to self-evaluation, which will become a model for you both during the PGCE year and in your further career development;
    • help you maintain high levels of subject knowledge.

Specifically, the course will help you to become an effective and confident teacher by providing you with the following:

  • the ability to draw on your own experiences of language learning in a positive and reflective manner;
  • the ability to observe other practitioners in the classroom and to understand their decision making;
  • insight into theories and findings from research into Second Language Acquisition, helping you to understand how adolescents learn a foreign language;
  • opportunities to learn from school students themselves about their experiences of language learning and the barriers they encounter;
  • opportunities to learn from and to share good practice with other beginning teachers working in different school contexts;
  • practical advice on the preparation, teaching and evaluation of languages lessons; on how to assess and monitor students’ progress; on promoting positive behaviour for learning; and on responding to the diverse needs of individual students;
  • many ideas for using and adapting a range of foreign language materials in the classroom;
  • opportunities to try out and systematically evaluate a range of teaching approaches in a range of classrooms over an extended period of time.

The programme includes the exploration of a number of general themes within a broadly communicative approach to language teaching:

  • promoting language learning through high quality oral interaction;
  • developing skills and strategies for reading, listening and writing;
  • designing effective tasks for foreign language learning in the classroom;
  • developing learner strategies and learner autonomy.

The programme also includes the consideration of many specific issues and techniques.  The following are just a few examples:

  • integrating new technologies into language teaching;
  • developing effective questioning techniques in the MFL classroom;
  • developing effective approaches to teaching grammar;
  • organizing effective pair work and group work;
  • using authentic resources to provide foreign language input – e.g. video, audio, web pages, literary texts, etc.;
  • developing a framework for managing the foreign language classroom;
  • promoting spontaneous target language communication in the classroom;
  • organizing educational trips and visits.

Applying for the Modern Foreign Languages PGCE course.

We currently offer the following Modern Languages options:

  • French
  • French with German
  • French with Spanish
  • German with French
  • European language with Mandarin (please note the European language must be French, German or Spanish and you must have a working knowledge of French).

Applicants who are not native speakers of the main foreign language they are offering are required to hold a degree (or equivalent qualification) in which 50% or more of the topics studied relate to the main chosen language.  Ideally, they should also hold at least an A level or equivalent in any other foreign language they offer. For example, a native speaker of English applying for the ‘French with German’ PGCE option might hold a degree in French and an A level in German.

We also welcome applications from graduates who are native speakers of the target language.  In this case, their degree may be in a subject other than the language itself (for example, a degree in English).  Native speakers offering a second language should also hold the equivalent of an A level qualification in that language.  Native speaker applicants would ideally (though not obligatorily) have some direct experience of the UK education system – for example, as a foreign language assistant.

Finally, we are happy to receive applications from graduates who speak all of the foreign languages we offer.  Although you would need to apply for one of the five course options listed above, we would try where possible to give you opportunities to work with learners of all the languages you offer.

PGCE MFL picture gallery

Page last modified: October 23, 2017