The proposed new GCSE for #MFL is based on so-called high frequency words. But where do these words come from? And how reliable is the sample used to determine them? Why do we end up with the words below? #mfltwitterati 1/5
The Routledge frequency lists - being used by DfE/NCELP - are each based on a corpus (i.e. sample) of around 23 million words, from various sources see attached). That's a big number. Or is it? Is it enough to really tell us which words are the most common? 2/5
23m words is equivalent to about 230 novels. Given how many novels have been written in each language, that's tiny. Add to that the thousands of words written and spoken every day, by millions of speakers, in work, media, reports, entertainment, homes and online every day... 3/5
... &we realise how small a sample of 23m words is. This is a statistically miniscule sample. It isn't "big data", as NCELP said at #LW2021, it's tiny data, and dodgy data. Btw did you spot that the French corpus includes only 3 (three!) conversations, but tonnes of politics 4/5
So beyond common structural and function words (pronouns, prepositions, auxiliaries, key verbs etc) which we already teach, frequency lists don't offer the basis for a curriculum. That's why we need to roundly and noisily reject this proposal. 5/5

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More from @MflTransform

2 Apr
A go-to thread on the new GCSE proposals: what they are, how they were developed, what the problems are and what you can do about it. #mfltwitterati

Q1. What are they?…
Q2. How did DfE draw them up?…
Q3. Is a comprehensive word list a good idea?…
Read 13 tweets
1 Apr
DfE's approach to MFL policy #mfltwitterati A thread:

1. Abolish national centre for languages research (CILT)
2. Appoint a small number of people to a panel do a review into teaching
3. In that review, recommend creation of a Centre for Excellence (a new CILT)
4. Award £millions to one of the panelists from the review to run that Centre
5. Centre then starts producing a curriculum which matches the pedagogy (Huh?! Wrong way around!)
6. Appoint panel to review curriculum
7. Pre-confirm outcome of review will match curriculum from step 5
8. Write criteria for membership of the panel post-hoc
9. Write-up the foregone conclusions of the review
10. Sit on it for a year
11. Publish review while teachers busy trying to work out how to award grades
Read 4 tweets
25 Jul 20
Hey #mfltwitterati!
There are lots of debates about next year & what schools' priorities should be. In the longer term, if MFL is ever to grow again we need to know how we earn our place in the timetable.

So, what is the purpose of language learning in the UK in 2020? A thread:
In the 1980s Britain of Thatcher & enthusiastic membership of the European Community, the government accepted the consensus that the purpose of language learning was communication.
Seems logical, right ? Image
But the world has changed a lot since 1980, including the dominance of English, driven by complex & powerful forces English is, for now, THE world's intermediary language. Eg there are 50 times more degrees taught in English in Europe alone than only 10 years ago. Image
Read 16 tweets

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