A Spotlight on: Language Learning in the Primary Years

Published on: 
Sunday, 5 January 2020 - 5:20pm
Jonathan Rodgers



After last year’s successful course, we are running our Developing Language Learning in the Primary Years training again in March with Queen Mary University of London. Our expert teacher Jonny Rodgers discusses what this course will cover and why you should join us on 10th March:

"Informative and thought provoking. A fun way to deliver language."  -  Course Participant, 2019

Who is teaching on the course?

The course will be taught by Professor David Adger, Dr Coppe van Urk and Margaret Ruoan Wang from the Linguistics department at Queen Mary University of London, and Primary Advisory teachers Charlotte Hacking and Jonny Rodgers from CLPE.

What were your aims in setting up this course with QMUL?

Queen Mary University’s Linguistics department had trialled an Invented Languages approach with final year undergraduates and secondary school students with great success. We recognised the method would work really well in the primary phase as we are constantly looking for teaching strategies to promote ideas of investigation, creativity and playfulness which all lie at the heart of this course.

Moreover, we also knew that a second language can often offer a clear lens through which language learners gain insights into their mother tongue. Exploring an invented language can support children in increasing their confidence and understanding of the grammatical components of writing.

What elements of literacy and language development does the course cover?

The course will look at all aspects of language, drawing comparisons between the way the English language and an invented language work. It covers phonology, typography and writing systems, punctuation, intonation, word order, high frequency words and different word classes, plurals, adjectives, adverbs, determiners, syntax and morphology.

Without needing to know what all these -ologies are, it addresses how a language is made up of a variety of different systems, each of which has a huge breadth of options within it.

"This course makes you rethink how you approach grammar teaching." -  Course Participant, 2019

But I’m not a linguistic/language specialist! How does it tie into a primary teaching context?

You don’t need to be because we are!

The course takes the expertise and understanding of specialists but makes it applicable in the classroom setting, and we’ve taken pains to ensure that on the day the activities and learning will be fun, pacy, and interesting, with opportunities to gain exciting new insights in a creative and playful manner. We will be pitching the activities so they will engage and enthuse children but also deliver insights into language learning, phonics and grammar. Teachers will be able to take learning back to the classroom to tailor their own teaching to all ages across the primary phase.

What sets this course apart from other phonics or grammar focussed training?

On the one hand, the expertise and theoretical underpinning of the course is entirely consistent with CLPE’s fundamental ethos, and complements existing training on teaching phonics and grammar in a rich reading curriculum which we know works so well. This means we will be using a high quality book in line with our emphasis on placing high quality texts at the centre of teaching of grammar and phonics.

What is different is the Invented Languages approach, which gives participants a new lens through which to examine their own language, and, as well as being creative, fun and open-ended, promises to be a unique insight into how language really works. It’s an eye-opener!

"Fantastic, thought-provoking course." -  Course Participant, 2019


Find out more about this course...