Patterns first: enhancing language learning through extensive processing instruction

This CPD course for MFL teachers will provide delegates with a deeper understanding of the cognitive mechanisms involved in language processing and acquisition and with a wide range of evidence-based instructional strategies for accelerating learning and modelling and enhancing writing instruction.

Delegates will consider:

  • How languages are processed and learned according to current research;
  • The challenges that traditional models of MFL instruction pose to language learners;
  • How effectively your current instructional approach and curriculum address those challenges;
  • The applicability of the facilitator’s strategies to your learning context.

Session 1: Basic language acquisition and processing principles every teacher should know

This session will:

  • Provide an account of the key processes involved in language learning and processing;
  • Discuss the challenges the finite resources of the human brain pose to language acquisition;
  • Identify mismatches between research and classroom practice;
  • Propose viable solutions to address deficits in current instructional approaches.

Session 2 : Working with human forgetting rates - how to maximise curriculum time through Extensive Processing Instruction

This session will:

  • Suggest a wide range of strategies designed to maximise the use of curriculum time to enhance retention (e.g. Implicit Learning Routines and Thorough Processing Tasks);
  • Propose a principled approach to the teaching of Usage Based Grammar through patterns and chunks;
  • Model effective instructional sequences based on Extensive Processing Instruction.

Session 3 : Teaching writing to novice-to-intermediate language learners

This session will:

  • Explain how the writing processes unfold in the human brain;
  • Provide an understanding of the vast array of cognitive challenges novice writers face;
  • Suggest evidence-based strategies to developing writing fluency, accuracy and complexity.

This course is suitable for Primary and Secondary Language teachers.

Presenter Profile

An applied linguistics MA and PhD graduate with lexico-grammar acquisition, listening skills, metacognition, error correction and learner autonomy as his main research interests, Gianfranco Conti has been teaching MFL for over 25 years both at secondary and tertiary levels.

Formerly head of languages at various schools in England and abroad, he is currently a French and Spanish teacher at an international school in South-East Asia where he has been implementing his methodological approach: Extensive Processing Instruction (EPI).

Dr Conti is also a renowned conference speaker and CPD provider mostly active in England and Australia. This is what CEO of researchED and educational influencer Tom Bennet has written about one of his workshops:

“As an organiser of research conferences I am constantly looking for individuals who can do something very special- disseminate a broad field of complexity, in a way that is intelligible to practitioners but loses little in the process; simplification without reductivism. Gianfranco was wonderful in this regard: witty, literate, personable and very, very engaging, but all the while absolutely focussed on content, quality and the effective transmission of useful information and techniques. As such he was one of the most popular speakers of the day, and in my opinion one of the best presenters I have seen in the UK. I wish he was available more often, as the impact he has on his audience is palpable.”

He is well-known internationally for his teaching resources that have won him the TES Best contributor award and have been downloaded over 3,500,000 time by over 100,000 teachers around the world. His blog on MFL pedagogy, The Language Gym, is one of the most influential in the world and has won him several international awards.

Dr Conti is also the founder of the interactive language learning website and the co-author of the best-selling handbook for MFL professionals, ‘The Language Teacher Toolkit’. He is currently co-writing with Steve Smith his second book ‘Breaking the sound barrier: teaching listening bottom-up’ based on his own classroom research.

Feedback from teachers on Gianfranco's courses

Putting Gianfranco's MARS EARS sequence in place has meant:

  • Full engagement from students of all abilities
  • Much better progression within the lesson and from one lesson to another
  • Increased participation in class
  • Increased confidence
  • Better use of the language
  • Increased accuracy
  • Better grasp of the grammar when seen more “formally” in the EARS part of the sequence
  • Less anxiety for students who might not see Languages as an easy subject

(Aurélie Lethuilier, Curriculum leader, Hillview School, Tonbridge, Kent)

Just wanted to let you know that year 8 (who have only ever been taught MFL using your methods) have just done their options and 75% have chosen an MFL. This is in contrast to current y11 which is around 15% doing an MFL - thank you for giving me the courage to push for the change in curriculum - I am so happy and thankful.
(Vicki Brownlee, Head of MFL, The Howden School)

I cannot recommend taking on the journey to 'Contification' highly enough, and here are some of the considerations that we are keeping in mind at this time: we have seen a tremendous change in our students’ engagement and participation rates in class. We are regularly receiving very positive feedback from students and parents about what is happening in our classes, which is wonderfully affirming. Our purpose was to empower our students and to give justice to their potential as future language speakers, which required a huge change embraced by all parties. ..this sure does feel like we have contributed to something much bigger than us in this journey of exploration and discovery. When one lets go of the need to be perfect, magic happens.
(Chloe Briand, Head of MFL, Methodist Ladies College, Melbourne)

I was at one of your live training sessions in Guildford in 2019. Since I started using your methods, uptake of Spanish GCSE has doubled, so thank you.
(Penny Riddell, Spanish teacher, UK)

I am very proud to see you standing up for real language teaching as it should be, and grateful that the presentation I witnessed was 1)grounded in real research and hard facts related to language acquisition. 2) refreshingly honest and unashamed to present these facts with no ulterior motives but to share one’s passion for teaching languages and learning languages.
(Adam Joe Fletcher, Deputy Head MFL, London)

Cost: £185 per delegate which includes lunch and resources

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