Meaningful play: having principled and purposeful fun in the language classroom
From sentence builders to fluency-development activities
A current dominant pedagogic trend in the UK advocates the total ban of games from the classroom as a reaction to the overuse of games by modern language teachers. Whilst he is against the misguided and unprincipled use of games in the language classroom, Gianfranco will argue in favour of what he terms ‘Meaningful play’ ie the purposeful deployment of ludic activities which foster engagement and are rooted in a clear pedagogic rationale.
Such activities, he believes, if sequenced logically and in a principled way, have an important place in an L2 teacher’s toolkit, especially with beginner learners. After discussing the fundamental tenets of his approach to ‘Meaningful play’ Gianfranco will outline an exemplar instructional sequence.
Founder and owner of the popular language learning website The Language Gym, Gianfranco is an applied linguistics MA and PhD graduate with many years of classroom experience. He has taught Modern Languages for nearly 30 years both at primary, secondary and university levels.
He has researched the impact of metacognitive strategies training and error correction on L2 essay writing under the supervision of Oxford University Ernesto Macaro both during his PhD and a large-scale project in English comprehensive schools documented in Professor Macaro (2001)’s book. In his current role as Visiting Fellow at the University of Reading, he has lexicogrammar acquisition, listening instruction, metacognition, error correction and learner autonomy as his main research interests.
Formerly head of languages at various schools in England and abroad where he has developed and implemented his instructional approach (Extensive Processing Instruction), he is currently a researcher at the University of Reading in his capacity of Visiting Fellow and a highly renowned and sought-after conference speaker and CPD provider very active in the UK, South-East Asia, Middle East and Australia. He delivers keynotes in major international events all year around, conducts an average of 150 workshops for language teachers a year and visits roughly as many schools in the same period of time either to provide professional development or to help schools improve their curriculum design and delivery.
He is well-known internationally for his teaching resources that have won him the TES Best contributor award and have been downloaded over 4,500,000 times by over 100,000 teachers around the world.
His blog on MFL pedagogy, The Language Gym (gianfrancoconti.com), is one of the most influential in the world and has won him several international awards. The professional development group he founded, ‘Global Innovative Language Teachers’ is one of the largest and fastest-growing communities of its genre.
Gianfranco has co-authored with Steve Smith the best-selling handbooks for MFL professionals, ‘The Language Teacher Toolkit’ and ‘Breaking the sound barrier: teaching learners how to listen’. He has also recently published a Spanish workbook for beginner to pre-intermediate learners of Spanish, "Spanish Sentence Builders - a Lexicogrammar Approach", written with his former colleague Dylan Viñales.
Cost: £55 per delegate which includes resources
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