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Posted on: February 3rd 2022


This month, the MFL department is launching the MFL Spelling Competition (Year 7) and Translation Bee (Years 8 and 9). Year 10s are trialling the premium version of Quizlet and Year 11s will be revisiting topics from Year 9. With all this happening, it is the perfect time to remind ourselves how to successfully learn a foreign language and become more confident.

Mme Bali (Head of MFL)


Whether you have been learning the language for 4 months or 4 years, the key to Mfl article 3success is to learn new vocabulary in short bursts and regularly.

Let’s imagine two students. Both are given a list of 20 new words to learn. Student A learns all 20 words thoroughly the night before the test and scores 20/20. Student B learns all 20 words throughout the week, learning 5 a day and revisiting them throughout the week. This student also scores 20/20. However, Student B is more likely to remember them for a longer period of time. This is crucial in languages as you are trying to build a lexicon of over 1000 words from year 7 to 11!


Mfl article 1Your teacher should be the LAST person to test you! You will have been given the words to learn (whether it is a Quizlet link or a list of words in your book), so a good idea would be to prepare 2 mock tests: one from English to the foreign language and one from the foreign language to English. Then put your mock tests to the side for use later.

- Round 1: Spend some time learning the words from the foreign language to English first (it is usually easier than the other way around).

- When you are ready, attempt your mock test (in exam conditions, bien sûr!).

- Then, take your green pen and the original list and correct your work. (Make sure you are revisiting the words regularly throughout the week, especially the ones you got wrong!).

- Round 2: Same as above but this time you learn it from English to the foreign language.

- Again, take your green pen but this time correct your work letter by letter!

Reading over a list of words is not a good strategy as it is passive. In that sense, learning a language is like learning to walk: you need to be actively trying, one step at a time and learn from each fall so you are one day ready to run with the language!


Understanding the meaning of words is crucial. However, also being able to understand them in a sentence is key. The MFL department has therefore invested in resources like Activelearn and Quizlet to help.

1). Activelearn

KS3 and KS4 students at Whitmore are each given a username and password to log into Teachers regularly set learning or practice tasks on Activelearn related to the topics being taught/revised. There is also a "Library" option where students have access to the whole course and can choose the activities they want to try (or retry!). The activities are varied: vocab learning using the "look, cover, check" method, vocab test, reading, grammar, listening. The best thing is that students can get help instantly by pressing the "Learning Aid" button and they get their results straight away too. What’s not to like?

2). Quizlet

Students are given a link (via Teams or VLE) to access a series of words/sentences to learn for a vocab test. There are many interactive activities to help students but "Gravity" is my favourite where a word is falling from the sky in the form of a meteorite and the aim is to translate it before it hits the ground. You can choose the difficulty level too which is great as you can work at your own pace and increase it whenever you are ready.